A Community Plaza in Indiana Receives a Climate-Conscious Upgrade
2022 Best of Year Winner for Social Impact and Outdoor Space
A flood-prone creek that runs through the center of Westfield, Indiana was given a climate-conscious upgrade by Philadelphia’s David Rubin Land Collective, which restored the waterway to its natural state and added a park, Grand Junction Plaza, with such new community facilities as an ice rink. It also includes three pavilions by HWKN. The New York studio conceived the concrete-floored volumes—a collaboration with Indianapolis firm Ratio Architects and Toronto-based Bruce Mau Design, which spearheaded signage—as a stone block that had been “split” apart into chunks, the resulting jaggedy extrusions crafted of limestone from the same quarry that clads the Empire State Building. The first pavilion to come to fruition is a skate-rental counter with a locker room and café, boasting full-height glass walls that draw in the revitalized environs.
Prior to its recent rehabilitation, Cool Creek was, on most days, a low-key waterway confined to a V-shape concrete channel that ran through the heart of Westfield, a municipality on the outskirts of Indianapolis. But during torrential downpours, which are becoming increasingly common due to climate change, the rivulet swelled to more voluminous—and dangerous—proportions, often flooding the surrounding area. One such event prompted an infrastructure upgrade that restored the creek to its original free-form path, with newly stabilized banks, and added a surrounding park with abundant community amenities including a meadow, a playground, and an outdoor amphitheater. There’s even an ice rink, where skates can be checked out and street shoes stashed in a HWKN-designed glass-and-stone pavilion (see the Social Impact category winner). Located at the nexus of five biking and hiking trails, the 8-plus-acre project was spearheaded by David Rubin Land Collective. Principal David A. Rubin and team built footbridges, planted native species, and landscaped the terrain with stone elements that serve to bolster the creek bank, slow down rushing stormwater, and create delightful opportunities for sitting, climbing, playing, and stepping right down into the creek itself. Cool!
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