Don Tellalian, architect for the Armenian Heritage Park, gives a progress update to the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association.
Don Tellalian, architect for the Armenian Heritage Park, gives a progress update to the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association.

The long awaited Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway is now expected to be open in the Fall of 2010. Don Tellalian, architect for the project, gave a detailed update on the progress and challenges they have had to overcome. The location will be on parcel 13 between Quincy Market and Mercantile Wharf, on the corner of Atlantic and Cross Streets. The parcel also functions as a common pedestrian thoroughfare from Quincy Market to the North End/Waterfront neighborhood. The North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association invited Tellalian to their September 10th meeting, having previously supported the project several years ago.

The basic design has not changed although there have been several tweaks to the park. The principal sculpture remains a split rhombic dodecahedron with 12 sides. The sculpture will be reconfigured every year. The center of the park still has a labyrinth that will take 30 minutes to fully complete. Similar to a piazza, the labyrinth is to give some activity to the site. A fountain is also included on the park. The most significant change since originally proposed is the inclusion of surrounding sidewalks.

Artist’s rendering of Parcel 13 with the new memorial & park.
Artist’s rendering of Parcel 13 with the new memorial & park.

Click here for a slide show of the park’s design. 

At this point, the design is pretty much set and 50% of the construction documents are completed.  The project has run into some interesting challenges. The designers were surprised to find out that parts of the parcel floor are only 20 inches above the tunnel ceiling. Fortunately, the park doesn’t need much support (as would a building), but they still need a fountain vault and have to ensure enough soil density. MassPike does not have any “as built” information or bearing ability measures of the soil. So, the organization is digging test pits as soon as next week to see how far down can go before hitting tunnel.

The rest of the construction drawings are expected to be completed in the next few months, allowing construction start in the Spring of 2010 and completion by the Fall season of 2010. A trust has been created to fund ongoing maintenance of the park and memorial. Once open, the Armenian Heritage Foundation will work with the Bostonian Society for the promised lecture series to accompany the memorial and park.

In response to comments from the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority), the labyrinth was simplififed so it could be set into the lawn itself.  The Greenway Conservancy is concerned about the viability of the grass within the labyrinth and they are still working that out.  The labyrinth takes 30 minutes to get through and folks may give up part way through, creating unforeseen “shortcuts” where the lawn could get worn.

Only one inscription is approved and will appear on face of black granite sculpture. The BRA continues to propose a “Circle of Achievement” around the engraved words “Art-Commerce-Science-Service” but no decision has been made on that subject.

On behalf of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, Mr. Tellalian thanked NEWRA and the North End/Waterfront community for its ongoing support of the memorial and park. The audience applauded the diligence of the Foundation toward completing the park as soon as possible.

See also:
Park Delay by BRA Discussed at NEWRA Meeting

Greenway Changes Coming To Neighborhood

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  1. The Armenian Heritage Foundation has done a terrific job of compromising on design and memorials to bring this park to the brink of reality. I can’t wait to enjoy this new parcel.

  2. It’s a shame the BRA imposed changes in the plan as originally supported by the neighborhood. The time required to change the plan has resulted in a construction delay, depriving the neighborhood of a beautiful little park intended solely for public enjoyment and enrichment.

    The unnecessary widening of the sidewalks has reduced the green space and forced the simplification of the labyrinth. The labyrinth design approved by the neighborhood was more complex and more interesting. In addition, the elements that were removed would have allowed a quick return from the center of the labyrinth.

    Since the foundation has graciously accommodated the BRA by putting the labyrinth in a lawn, the BRA should allow the narrowing of the sidewalks in order to return the labyrinth to its original size and design. This will make it easier to maintain the grass surrounding the labyrinth, by reducing the temptation to take shortcuts through the labyrinth by walking on the grass.

    Returning the labyrinth to its original design would also respect the desire of the neighborhood as expressed in its vote to support the park.

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