WithersRavenel Finds Zen, Honored on PARK(ing) Day

WithersRavenel Finds Zen, Honored on PARK(ing) Day

Picture this: What if a downtown parking space had a different purpose? What if, instead of a temporary home for a vehicle, the space becomes reimagined as something completely different?

WithersRavenel’s landscape architects took on the challenge of reimagining such a space during the 2020 PARK(ing) Day. The annual event, an open-source invitation from Rebar Group, draws interest from around the world. PARK(ing) Day aims to encourage creative design while improving local urban environments. The WithersRavenel team envisioned a Raleigh parking space becoming a Zen garden, where people can create sand patterns or relax.  For its PARK(ing) Day entry in the North Carolina chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NCASLA) competition, WithersRavenel was awarded the first place prize.

“It was a true team effort that began with an informal charette and ended with a high-quality combination of graphics and a real-life LEGO model,” Landscape Architecture Manager Daniel Whatley said. “We chose the design ultimately because of how it spoke to the troubles that downtown Raleigh faced this year. With COVID, the closure of businesses and restaurants, and collateral damage from the summer protests, downtown Raleigh has had struggles.

“By converting a parking space into a Zen Garden, our goal is to provide a place of peace and respite for anybody who needs it. Whether this design was to be in place for a single day or for a very long time, we hope that it would help to serve the public with some much-needed tranquility.”

“Now, more than ever, we have the immediate needs for a Zen place to meditate, rest and participate in fun activity,” Landscape Designer Tianchi You said. “This Zen garden concept was inspired by my internal urge to create attractive spaces that promote mental health and wellbeing. Also, building the LEGO model helped me study the functionality and feasibility of the space along the design process.”

WithersRavenel’s design team will donate its NCASLA prize winnings to A Place at the Table. The pay-what-you-can café in downtown Raleigh is one of many restaurants negatively affected by COVID-19 in the Triangle.

WithersRavenel’s landscape architects are ready to put their creative design skills to work for your community or company. To learn more, contact Daniel Whatley at (919) 238-0312 or dwhatley@withersravenel.com.