Project Profile: Rash Field
Scope of work:
Creation of three-acre park
BC&E Member companies involved:
Live Green Landscape Associates
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
The list of design features packed into the newly redeveloped Rash Field seems to defy the park’s modest footprint.
“The challenge was fitting the various program desires into the space,” said Jingpeng Gu, President of Mahan Rykiel Associates, lead landscape architect on the project. On the three-acre site, “we layered in adventure and nature playgrounds, the BGE Pavillion and plaza, new ADA compliant circulation, stormwater and environmental mitigation and a skate park. We also were tasked with creating shade and converting the previous vast expanses of paving into an inviting green space. Today, there are over 100 new trees and large drifts of native grasses and plants.”
Executing that lush, multi-faceted, highly detailed landscape design at the edge of the Inner Harbor was “an adventure,” said Nick Channing, a Project Manager with Live Green Landscape Associates.
The park’s designers sought to create specific visual impacts from the 100-plus trees and several thousand shrubs, perennials, grasses and groundcovers.
“They wanted immediate impact so that when people walked in, it didn’t feel like those trees were planted yesterday. It would feel like an established park. A big part of creating that look was finding the perfect plant materials,” Channing said.
Together, representatives of Live Green and Mahan Rykiel traveled to nurseries around the region over the course of months to locate and individually select the trees and plants that would create the “perfect look” by their shape, size, texture and color. That included locating a rare three-trunked platanus.
Then Live Green had to execute the daunting logistics of creating a park on a tight, high-traffic, urban site.
“The volume of landscaping material was huge,” Channing said. “The whole site was covered with 24 to 36 inches of special planting media. That was over 4,500 yards of soil. Then there were hundreds and hundreds of yards of mulch.”
In addition, there were safety mats, sand and specialty play media for the playgrounds, expanses of sod and all the materials needed to create a green roof.
“The logistics of handling that much material was an adventure,” Channing said. “We brought in hundreds of dump trucks and delivery trucks,” and carefully scheduled them to not overwhelm the small, downtown site but also steadily keep enough material coming in to keep crews productive.
A native of Baltimore who has completed multiple landscaping projects downtown, Channing is wowed by the impact of the landscaping.
“When you walk along one path, there are thousands of perennials plus shrubs and trees planted on both sides. It’s an instant garden,” he said. “The path curves up like you’re walking up a hill. To the average person, it looks like you are just walking past sod and more sod. But then all of a sudden, you are standing at the rail on the top of a building with a green roof around you and you’re overlooking the site and the city.”