As many of America’s cultural landscapes are rapidly disappearing to make way for the new, New York landscape architects Mathews Nielsen are making a business out of protecting and preserving important heritage sites while also accommodating new uses.
The firm’s latest project, which broke ground yesterday, is a Sustainable Park at the West Point Foundry, an 87-acre forested site along the Hudson River that was created by President James Madison to address national armaments production following the War of 1812.
Mathews Nielsen transformed the venerable site into a park that both respects and reveals its industrial and ecological history. Working with a research team from Michigan Technological University’s Industrial History and Archaeology Program, sponsored by Scenic Hudson, the largest environmental group focused on protecting and restoring the Hudson Valley, the team developed a series of paths and rail lines that will be reinterpreted to connect building ruins and to provide ADA access.
The design also incorporates displays that will educate visitors about the site’s past and exhibits at Foundry Cove will highlight the renewal of the marsh as well as its abundant wildlife. The $3.6m project is scheduled to open in fall 2013.