The American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA) recently held their Southeast Regional Conference in June where they announced the 2017 design award winners. Finlay Park Master Plan in Columbia, South Carolina won an Honor Award in the Analysis and Planning Category – among the top awards for the program. The City of Columbia and the design team, which includes Stantec, Civitas, Liollio Architecture, HR&A Advisors, Cox & Dinkins, Chao & Associates, Cumming, Comprehensive Business Consultants, and Georgia Harrison received the award.
Directly across from the Governor’s Mansion, Finlay Park is an 19-acre urban park offering some of the most dramatic vistas of Columbia’s skyline. Once a thriving urban park, the city has seen Finlay decline over the years which can be attributed, in part, to structural failures in walls, leaking water features, non-compliance with building codes leading to risk and safety concerns, and accessibility. Created through a process of analysis, public involvement and meaningful design, the following goals guided the master plan:
- Unique destination playground
- Increase safety and visibility
- Rebuild the walls and leaking water features
- Projection of sound
The plan balances the introduction of new elements with the unique forms and charm of the original park. Iconic elements within the park are to be refurbished, such as the spiral fountain which is much loved and holds the historic character of the park.
Stantec led the design team, and facilitated focus group and public meetings to gain consensus from community and business leaders, city staff, and emergency responders. Through these meetings, Stantec gathered information on park programming, revenue resources, safety, maintenance, access, and community needs. Ultimately, the design team established design principles and goals to guide the final master plan. The project will move into construction once funding is secured.
The regional ASLA Awards is an annual design competition that recognizes the best in landscape architecture. The program is administered by North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina ASLA Chapters. The jury was from outside of the Southeast Region and the entry is anonymous.
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