Randolph – Franklin Pocket Park
The John Buck Company, Goettsch Partners
Randolph – Franklin Pocket Park is an 8,000 SF site developed by The John Buck Company as a public open space in conjunction with the 155 North Wacker Drive building to the west. The concept was to provide a small oasis of greenery. Specific objectives were to provide seating in both sun and shade, add seasonal interest, extend the view of the arcade of the 155 N. Wacker building, and screen the Chicago common brick wall of the adjacent building.
The park is framed by two rows of Autumn Blaze maples (installed at 8 inches caliper to give the park an immediate sense of scale and maturity). Low-branched Chanticleer flowering pears were installed at a semi-mature size (18 foot height), tightly spaced to screen the unattractive brick wall of the adjacent building to the north. At the center of the park is an emerald trapezoidal panel of grass, small in size but a welcome and precious presence in this dense urban location. The lawn and all the planting areas are protected by raised stainless steel edging, to reduce damage from winter salt applications and damage to plants or soil compaction from pedestrian short-cuts. Trees are planted in mixed shrub, perennial, and groundcover beds that provide seasonal interest at a pedestrian-scale. Solid granite benches provide seating in the sun and shade, and movable tables and chairs provide additional seating outside the adjacent lobby coffee shop. A granite walk provides all-season accessibility, while gravel walks create a garden-like feel. A secure bicycle rack is provided for the building’s bicycle commuters. Plants are irrigated with a water-efficient automatic irrigation system, including use of drip emitters in all non-grass areas, a system that minimizes water evaporation and waste.
The pocket park was designed by Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. and Goettsch Partners for The John Buck Company (Goettsch was also the architect for the adjacent 155 North Wacker Drive building). Work began in early 2009 and was completed in June 2010, on time and within the construction budget of $1.5 million.