PARK(ing) Day is an international event that invites citizens everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks. At OLIN, we were excited to participate in public discourse about the value of parks in our cities. This annual event aligns with our studio's commitment to the possibilities of the urban realm believing it to be where design can affect the most positive change.
As the team brainstormed design concepts for our site, located along the 700 block of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, an array of question arose. What does it mean to demonstrate the need for parks and open space in an area that may not be the ideal location for a park? What is the environmental impact of creating a temporary demonstration that would be discarded after its use? What are we learning about society's ambivalence towards the automobile—a tool which we often disparage, but rely upon and to a large degree, cherish? We also became interested in the dichotomy between cars, with their private interior space, and the very public realm of an urban street through which they move. All of this, in an odd way, becomes a chaotic mélange of many people, in a public space, sharing autonomous experiences.
In conceiving a design for PARK(ing) Day, OLIN looked for a compelling way to play on these many themes and issues with a piece that is both recyclable and recycled. Our concept, titled This is a Park, is both a public space and a private experience—a place for a car and a place for a park.
"This is a Park" pulls public space into the very private interior of the automobile. The design hopes to recognize how much the car is still valued in our society while demonstrating the merits of public space. The installation is intended to tell the passersby that on this day, "This is a Park."
OLIN partnered with Big Head Salvage Yard to obtain and construct a broken down car that will be returned to the yard after PARK(ing) Day. Groundswell Design Group also generously supplied the project's sod.