Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alchemy: Turning Ivy Into a Community Gathering Place

I really need a bigger scanner if I'm going to continue doing silly things like designing neighborhood parks!  The ivy covered lot under the freeway and BART tracks a block from my house would make an incredible dog park/playground/basketball court/outdoor art gallery/community garden, wouldn't it?  Well, it's in the works!  Join this google group if you're an interested Oaklander. 

Inspiration sprang from the history of the amusement park it once was (Idora Park) and manifested itself in colorful mosaic benches shaped like roller coaster cars, a sidewalk to mimic the train tracks of the miniature railway, and festoons of lanterns and flags uniting the disparate regions of the park. 

How fun and satisfying to design and imagine this place planted with Fremontodendron, Ceanothus, Scrub Oaks, Redbuds, Penstemons and Deer Grass along a ribbon of dry creek bed.

Again, apologies for the poor scans, but I just couldn't keep this to myself much longer!  By the way, the following images and designs are copyrighted so please don't use them without permission (but you knew that!). 


  1. This is SUCH an awesome project! I love the idea of bringing Idora Park back to life.

  2. Absolutely funtastic design !
    Nice looking set of plans too.

    As an aside, have you seen the newly renovated children's park in Healdsburg ?
    Very sculptural and fun.
    When I was short on work last year I took on a part time sculpting job that produced some neat sculptures for that park, stuff like a giant kids playhouse that looks like an acorn, steel head fish swimming up a mosaic waterfeature rill, giant pigs ....
    Go Oakland Park !

  3. I'm trying to figure out where, exactly, this ivy-choked plot is.

  4. Thanks, all! All that research I've done on the old park is really starting to pay off.

    Michelle, I haven't seen the Healdsburg park yet, but thanks for pointing me in the right direction. My philosophy about playground design could keep us here all day, but I'm really drawn to non-structured play that requires children to create their own games and imaginations. It's so fun to dream up!

    Lisa, picture the Chevron station on 55th and Telegraph. Now look across the street and farther north up Telegraph. (It's 2 blocks long) A majority of the space is canopied by the 24 and BART tracks- not pretty, but will be someday!

  5. Wow this is so great! I hope it comes to be!

  6. I thought it might have been at 55th and Shattuck, where my friend Ashley lives. What a wreck of blackberries and ivy!