William Maclay - Vermont Architects and Planners
Choices in Sustainability
Pyralisk Park - Montpelier, Vermont

Pyralisk Park - Montpelier, Vermont


Project Description

The Pyralisk Arts Center, a 19 year old nonprofit cultural organization, is planning to develop a Performance and Arts Park along the Winooski River in Downtown Montpelier. The 1.3 acre site is occupied by an enormous metal building with structural failures and contaminated soils, from its history as a rail yard. The project was awarded a Federal Brownfields Grant to remediate the site, and a HUD Special Projects Grant for the development of the year-round public arts park. The site is within the core of the Vermont's Capitol City, and is the final undeveloped property along the otherwise revitalized Stone Cutters Way.

The project would begin by raising and recycling the condemned metal building, and then implements a Corrective Action Plan for the removal of two feet of soil from the entire site. After applying a topping of clean fill, the site will be ready for the improvements. In an exciting development, The City of Montpelier will develop additional park space on the adjacent property, the site of a 100 year old railroad turn table, listed on the National Historical Register, that will be preserved and utilized as a stage for the Pyralisk Park's large green space.

This 500-foot long park along the Winooski River will fulfill the City of Montpelier's vision for a riverside green space. It will be a vibrant and dynamic park that will evolve over time and strengthen the cultural fabric of Central Vermont.

The project was awarded a Federal Brownfields Grant to remediate the site

Environmental Objectives

-Remove existing, condemned building
-Remediate existing toxic soils
-Create public open space along the Winooski River within the heart of the City
-Strengthen network of local recreational paths by creating an important destination along the established system
-Preserve the Riparian Buffer along the river bank
-Utilize recycled materials: steel from existing building for band shelter, used electrical poles as footings, and salvaged granite blocks for walls
-Utilize permeable pavers to reduce need for storm sewers
-Provide infrastructure for photo voltaic panels for site lighting
-Low-impact regional landscaping beds along edge of park as demonstration of progressive site planning practices
-Use of sustainably harvested wood for Pergola from City Park land
-Create public path along river bank

Utilize recycled materials

Conceptual Solution

The final design of the Park has several distinct spaces tied together by a meandering walkway in the form of a river eddy. The walkway is flanked by a stone wall that creates an edge to the park from the roadway. Between the road and the stone wall permaculture beds will be planted both as a buffer and as an educational tool.

On the east side of the park, the long curving pergola is the site for crafts and farmers' markets. To the inside of the Pergola is a curving woodchip bed for siting commissioned sculptures designed to be played on. The sloped lawn at the center of this space is an amphitheater bordered by a stone wall with built-in benches facing the play area. The amphitheater has a cedar shingled wall back drop, which is also the hub for the park's utilities.

The western side of park is a large Green suited for erecting tents for special events, winter ice skating, community gatherings, or for recreation. Between this green and the road a smaller pergola on the meandering walk that has picnic tables and BBQ's for small gatherings.