Grinnell Central Park Receives Masonry Award

Central Park, in Grinnell, Iowa receives more accolades as the 2019 AWARD OF MERIT WITH DISTINCTION presented by the Masonry Institute of Iowa’s Architectural Design Awards program.  “We believe it’s more than public space. It’s an expression of who you are as a community.”  RDG collaborated with the City of Grinnell to renovate Central Park and it’s structures, while integrating with the downtown area.

Gifted to the City by J.B. Grinnell in the late 1800’s, the 3.8 acre Central Park has provided generations of citizens with a civic venue for festivals, concerts, community events, and family gatherings. Recent improvements are designed to capitalize on the rich cultural history of Grinnell and reinforce the spirit and emotion the park has come to embody.

Architectural elements within the Grinnell Central Park project include two masonry and glulam structures; an outdoor covered performance stage and an open-air shelter with fireplace and family restrooms. The entire project is an update and re-envisioning of the 3.8 acre Central Park which has been used for generations as a civic venue for festivals, concerts, community events, and family gatherings. The park includes masonry pavers in a multitude of colors and sizes that meander through the central plaza which features an interactive zero depth spray water feature, exploratory play features, and other amenities.

One challenge the project faced was paying homage to the historic Walter Burley Griffin fountain that once was the focal point of the park and complementing the famed Louis Sullivan Jewel Box Bank, which sits across the street from this site.

The design team responded by choosing masonry as the main building material. The terracotta elements create a backdrop for the performance stage in tribute to the Jewel Box Bank. Roman brick with a raked joint emphasizes the horizontality of these structures.

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