New York City
Commissioned to upgrade over 4 acres of the Battery, Laura Starr thought of the verdant marshes and towering forests that greeted Dutch explorers 400 years ago. Under Starr’s lead, the design team set about in recapturing that lost wilderness. The Bosque features a series of romantic garden “rooms,” joined by meandering soft-surface paths, densely planted with tall native grasses and perennials, conceived by Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. Documenting the park’s many uses, Starr devised ways to incorporate them into the naturalistic setting. Solutions included a granite at-grade fountain that serves as a sprinkler for children and a paved surface for events. A new vocabulary was developed to reinforce the curvilinear plan. Weisz+Yoes Architects s crafted custom curved wooden benches that hug the garden beds and horizontally slatted wooden snack kiosk. Tillett Lighting designed romantic “firefly” lights, tucked amidst the plantings. Foot chimes, embedded in the ground, draw in children. The design elegantly incorporates air vents, utilities, and drainage, which are, at times, only one foot below the surface. Through a successful collaboration, the Bosque has been transformed from a gritty extension of the urban environment to a luxuriant retreat.