Clearing the way for construction bids and a groundbreaking in the Fall of 2010, the final design meeting for the Armenian Heritage Park was held on May 26th at the Mariner’s House in the North End. “You will see action this year,” responded MassDOT liaison John Romano, as residents urged the start of construction for the long-awaited Greenway park on Parcel 13. The site is on the Rose Kennedy Greenway across from Mercantile Wharf, Christopher Columbus Park and the Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Cross Street.
The Armenian Heritage Foundation has raised over $5 million to fund the construction and maintenance of the park. According to Jim Kalustian, the Foundation will also offer a lecture series on human rights and selected programming.
Don Tellanlian, Architect, described some minor refinements to the design. The changes mostly impact the “pinch points” around sidewalks and technical issues related to the soil depth down to the underground tunnel. Tellanlian noted that the contractor must keep open the passageway from Cross St. to Surface Road during construction.
As shown in the artist rendering below, the park features a labyrinth, a circular winding path in grass and inlaid stone, intended to represent life’s journey. A single jet of water at its center represents hope and rebirth. In addition, there will be an abstract sculpture, a twelve-sided split dodecahedron, sitting atop a reflecting pool with waters washing over the sides. Annually, the Sculpture will be reconfigured to commemorate the immigrant experience. The sculpture is dedicated to lives lost during the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and all genocides that followed.
Anne Gorczyca, MassDOT, said that final submissions from contractors are due in late June and construction will begin as soon as practical. She noted the sewer and utility work would be time consuming, but completion is likely in 2011.
Questions and Answers:
Skateboarders: Construction documents specify bronze fins on all walls and barriers.
Lighting: LED lighting will surround the sculpture and fountain.
Harbor Islands Pavilion: Construction on the pavilion has already started, but there could be some overlap in the later part of the year.
Seating: Seats will be around the sculpture, mounted on the seawall and regular benches. The seawall blocks will also be polished granite, suitable for sitting.
Earliest finish date: Spring 2010, but there are lots of architectural details and the sewer/electrical connections are complex.
Staging: The contractor will only be allowed to stage on the ramp parcel.
Programming: Undetermined, but along the lines of ethnic, cultural and immigration-related. For example, the annual swearing in of new citizens could take place at the new park.
More information can be found at www.armenianheritagepark.net.