Saiki Design worked directly with the Mead Witter Foundation to re-imagine a former parking lot site and create a privately funded park for the benefit of the community of Wisconsin Rapids. The park provides an accessible open space in the heart of downtown with connections to adjacent parks and trail systems. Landscape architects at Saiki Design explored several early design options to determine the highest and best use of the space, ultimately crafting a community-centered park that incorporates nature, music, and history inspired themes and provides framed views to the iconic Wisconsin River.
The park features a network of organically curved walking paths through rolling, contoured mounds with seating nodes specifically sited and oriented to provide views of iconic buildings and the riverfront. Several of the seating nodes incorporate outdoor musical instruments to lend an air of whimsy and interactivity to the space. A custom designed stone and concrete bridge, reminiscent of local masonry materials and styles, spans a large bioswale and wildflower garden that captures and filters stormwater from the entire park before it can enter the river. The plant palette, curated by the Foundation leadership and Saiki Design, is suggestive of an arboretum with unique specimens and species that produce an ever-changing seasonal display of color and texture. Large Wisconsin boulders accent the gardens; each hand-selected from local quarries by the client for their distinctive form, color, and veining.
The project received a special merit award in the Education, Healthcare and Public awards category.