This design competition seeks to generate new design ideas for the improvement of Embassy Park, an underused urban public park on Moody Street in the heart of downtown Waltham, Massachusetts. The program includes a Community Visioning event and a juried Design Competition, and will culminate in a Project Exhibition and Awards Celebration. Monetary awards will be made in three categories.
Though small in size (only 5,600 square feet), Embassy Park has great potential to be a lively place for people to gather and linger. Neighboring local establishments reflect the diversity of Waltham, including several ethnic restaurants along the renowned "Restaurant Row"; a variety of specialty shops; a highly regarded micro-brewery; a popular theater for independent and commercial films; the Waltham Mills and Lincoln Artists’ Studios, and the Charles River Museum of Industry. The location has good access to public transit, and is only a short walk or bike ride to the parks and pathways of the Charles River Reservation.
As currently configured, the site presents many design and construction challenges. It is dominated by cold and undistinguished hard surfaces, with fixed concrete furnishings, bordered by two large blank walls, and an ornate metal gateway near the street that leads to nowhere. The space functions mainly as a pedestrian cut-through to the adjacent municipal parking lot, to which public access must ultimately be maintained.
Possible subsurface soil contamination in the area places certain limits on excavation, planting and building, and encourages the use of raised planting beds and the placement of art on site above grade.
COGdesign and the City of Waltham are seeking innovative ideas to transform this urban space into a revitalized park that reflects the energy, creativity, and diversity of downtown Waltham, with opportunities for public art and programming informed by the people who live and work in this ethnically rich community.
The City of Waltham is under no obligation to build.
Both the Community Visioning event and the Design Competition are open to the public, with anticipated participation by professionals and students, artists, individuals and teams, Waltham neighbors and all interested others.