Military Park, a 1.8 acre urban green space located within the Military Park Neighborhood and Oklahoma City Asian District, has been brought to life through thoughtful design on a small budget. Smart and meaningful interventions have created a place capable of wearing many hats and serving a range of users.
For most of its existence Military Park had been an unprogrammed green space allowing trees to grow and mature. Being mindful to protect and save all existing trees, the design team set clear vegetation and soil protection zones which served as design boundaries. Once the useable land space was defined a series of sketches, digital and physical models were produced in order to create the site’s circulation, water movement, and individually programmed areas.
A straight sidewalk serves as a spine and links the park from South to North. Elevation changes are handled through long sloping ramps and flat landing areas working down the hill. Gray concrete defines the main path with integrated color secondary paths linking circulation from the edges back to the spine.
A series of public meetings with the Asian Community targeted the park as a memorial to commemorate the relationship between South Vietnam and the United States as well as a place to hold cultural events such as the Vietnamese Fall Festival and Chinese New Year celebrations.
Cultural symbolism has been integrated throughout the park in the form of entry stones and zen-like aggregate gardens. Wood bridges serve as symbolic connectors between cultures as they move over horsetail reeds emblematic of rice fields.
Spaces are defined by low concrete walls and subtle changes in paving color and jointing. Bridges constructed of black locust lumber serve as ADA access to the stage seating as well as a crossing point for the bioretention area.
North of the stage a lawn provides seating during large events and space for active recreation daily.
At the lowest part of the park a large picnic plaza is located in close proximity to the street so that food trucks can line up and easily serve patrons.
Inspired by the shape of rice wrapped in banana leaves, the pyramid hill is a great spot to climb up for a view or sit down for a break. The entire park acts as playground for children who roll down the hill, balance walk on the low walls, and squish their feet through the Kiamichi stones.
Woven throughout the park, storm water sinks are placed along the path of flow. Water making Its way to the bottom of the park is held in a bioretention area where it is ultimately absorbed or allowed to enter into the City’s stormwater system.
Size: 1.8 acres
Oklahoma Chapter, American Planning Association: 2017 Great Public Space Award
Oklahoma Chapter, Urban Land Institute: Impact Award Finalist 2018
Oklahoma Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects: 2018 Honor Award - Built Design
Oklahoma Chapter, American Public Works Association: 2018 Project of the Year Silver - Projects less than $5m
Constructed by: E V Cox
Sculpture by: Thomas Jay Warren
Aerial photo by: ULI Oklahoma
Dragon Dance photo by: Lori Duckworth