EL PRESIDIO PARK
LOCATION Tucson, AZ
TYPE Civic Plaza and Park in the historic city center
SIZE 3 acres
PROJECT TEAM January 8 Foundation, Pima County, City of Tucson, Chee Salette-landscape and architecture, Rebeca Mendez Studio-environmental graphics, agLicht-lighting, JKain-community outreach
Rebuilt in the 1960’s under urban renewal, El Presidio Park today is a less vibrant civic space than it once was. Located in the heart of Tucson, it has tremendous potential but suffers from a lack of connectivity due to the decommisioning and lowering of the surrounding streets to make way for city and county courthouses and administrative buildings and an underground parking garage. The masterplan proposes to restore and reconnect the park by activating its edges with continuous seating, clear entry points and circulation paths, the addition of a covered amphitheater which serves as a bridge over a sunken street and as a venue for plaza events, a restored and expanded fountain with splash pad to attract families and children, a cafe to bring additional users, and a reconfigured sculpture garden- a series of stepped outdoor galleries, while ensuring the park can hold serveral large festivals and city wide events. The scale of the plaza is reproportioned as an intimate town square with the density needed to encourage vibrant community life.
Five key elements reframe the focus of the park- the January 8 Memorial, the Amphitheater, the Cafe, the Sculpture Garden, and the Hill. The Memorial is located on the civic axis of Tucson, through the historic Courthouse and connects across the plaza to the Sculpture Garden. Under the shade of a large canopy, the 500 seat Amphitheater creates the ideal public forum for civic engagement and cultural events. The Cafe, at the foot of City Hall, brings the building closer to the plaza center and provides a venue to support leisure activities. The Sculpture Garden is an outdoor museum where the monuments of Tucson are displayed. The Hill is a natural amphitheater where people can casually assembly and engage in public debate that offers an elevated vantage point to the Memorial and Park.