The design objectives for this complex urban renewal project were to respond to a number of key challenges while preserving the essential character of the old Baltimore neighborhood.
A park system threads its way through the blocks, creating a sequence of green spaces and pedestrian links. They are designed to connect the site to the greater neighborhood and perhaps provide a blueprint for Barclay—a pedestrian and greenspace system that is independent of the street grid. This opens the interior of the blocks to view, encourages positive activity and “eyes on the space”. Bringing light, space and air into these areas allows shade trees and amenities such as community gardens to flourish.
The design dramatically reduces impervious cover. Not only does it increase the amount of green open space, it also provides opportunities for other permeable surfaces to be used, such as pedestrian paths of pervious pavers. The site layout allows for innovative stormwater management measures such as bioswales for parking lot runoff and rain gardens and rain barrels for the disconnection of roof runoff and for re-use of water. Street tree boxes incorporating filtration devices can be included. Beyond their obvious benefits to the city and the general environment, these facilities also provide educational opportunities for the residents and for children in the nearby schools.
The site plan proposes a materials palette that will take its cue from historic elements in the neighborhood. Repetition of special paving materials, lighting and site furnishings will further establish the Barclay identity at first glance upon entering the community. The team specified sustainable site design materials such as reflective and permeable paving, dark sky light fixtures, and a native plant palette. Social cohesion was encouraged with new features that lend themselves to community involvement: public art, play area design and build, and community gardens.