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Restorative Ground


Playscape & Public Seating


Manhattan, NY


Public Space Installation


2,100 SF​

Restorative Ground is an installation providing a new destination in Hudson Square, a place for a range of experiences, activities and interactions to occur between residents, community members, and the broader public. As a dynamic platform for public life to re-emerge from the pandemic of 2020, the installation will create a place for individual and collective engagement, recreation, and healing. Located on King St, between Hudson and Greenwich Streets, Restorative Ground will serve as a node of activation within the network of outdoor public spaces and existing creative agencies in the neighborhood.

The form and materials of Restorative Ground enable a balance between a single, bold gesture and a series of differentiated environments. The overall massing of the project is a wedge, connecting between barrier height on the street side and curb height on the sidewalk side. The wedge is organized with an 8×8’ grid to rationalize geometry and construction, but diagonals and arcs dance within this grid, carving and extruding dynamic shapes for seating, tables, and ramps.

Both the forms and the materials differentiate the focused, active, and calm zones, subtly indicating shifts in atmosphere through shifts in shape and texture. Recycled rubber is the primary material, bringing playful colors and textures as well as durability. But within each zone, accent materials enhance the geometry to produce different atmospheres. In the Focused zone, large curving tables with glossy paint welcome collective activities and creative collaborations, while in the Active zone, a small “peak” of sloping planes and heightened textures inspires playful exploration. Finally, the calm zone welcomes peaceful relaxation with its net hammock under the shade of a large tree.

This project continues the work of WIP Collaborative, a shared feminist practice of independent design professionals focused on research and design projects that engage communities and the public realm. The design team includes the Co-Founders of  WIP Collaborative — Ryan Brooke Thomas, Bryony Roberts, Elsa Ponce, Lindsay Harkema, Abby Coover, Sera Ghadaki, and Sonya Gimon.  Restorative Ground was the winning proposal for the Care for Hudson Square design competition organized by Urban Design Forum in partnership with Hudson Square Properties in 2020.

Samuel Lahoz, WIP Collaborative & Hudson Square Properties

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