A Tale of Two Fences…

One of the big benefits of having a visual memory is that I frequently connect images that have only a tenuous relationship to each other.

These urban fences are almost 3000 miles apart.  Both are extraordinary designs.  Both stand on land that was once wasted.  One has had civic support, the other community support. I saw them almost exactly a year apart.  I knew as soon as I saw the second one that I wanted to see them together, so I’m indulging my whim.

Portland 2009–Tanner Springs Park–Undulating Steel Fence

One of three city parks planned in 1999 by Peter Walker Associates, Tanner Spring Park is controversial.  It reclaimed industrial wasteland and restored the original stream and wetland environment in an otherwise urban environment.  Some residents don’t see it as very ‘parklike’.

The outside of the fence at Tanner Springs Park
Insets in the fence panels

Inside the park
Reclaiming industrial wasteland

Buffalo 2010–Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Center–Totemic Concrete Fence

This fence is on the boundary of what will be a contemporary park on 18th Street and Rhode Island Street in Buffalo, NY and is largely being built through volunteer efforts.  The fence was created with the help of a New York State Council of the Arts grant and the park will be a balm in an otherwise gritty urban neighborhood.  Urban Roots the only cooperative garden center in the country, shares the fence with the park.

Outside of the garden center
Fence Detail
Fence Gate with sculptural bench
Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Center



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2 Comments
  1. I found that concrete fence inspiring, too. I’d like to go back to Buffalo and see the park when it’s finished. Thanks for the tour of the Portland park. That undulating steel reminds me of cattails in the wind.

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