Competition Winners > Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Architecture, Ecology, Natural Resources, Remote Sensing, Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Animation
15, Undergraduate and Graduate
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site: A Park for the People
The ChallengeHopewell Furnace National Historic Site is a remarkable historic landscape. With a uniquely preserved Revolutionary War-era iron-making village at its core, the site is set within the stunning Hopewell Big Woods, one of two globally significant forests in the northeastern United States. Hopewell's challenge was to explore the meaning of this deep forest landscape, and seamlessly connect it to the site’s iron-and-steel history. At the same time, Hopewell sought to expand its reach in urban population centers beyond park boundaries, sparking excitement for both the site’s iron-making past and what it can be as part of an integrated ecosystem network today.
Studio ApproachThe Rutgers design methodology conceived of historic preservation, ecological restoration, and public outreach as part of an ongoing spatial narrative in which each design intervention becomes a new thread of change interwoven into a complex cultural tapestry. The studio presented an understanding of design as an open-ended process incorporating fixed moments and chance as well as the role of movement and circulation within the design process; an understanding of the value of teamwork and how to fluidly move between individual and group assignments; an exploration of design as an inclusive process that encompasses a diverse group of people with different, and often conflicting objectives; an analysis of the site as a complex network; and an understanding of how to visualize and represent change over time. The interventions proposed should not be seen as a specific, one-time solution. Rather, they should be read as a series of new dialogues that open possibilities and provoke response.
Key FeaturesThe studio consists of 14 proposals united by a trail system connecting the site to the surrounding eco-preserve and state park. The trail system is framed by a carefully orchestrated sequence of design and programmatic elements that integrate cultural and natural history with recreation activities and landscape management plans. Design elements include a new campground/picnic area, a wetland boardwalk with vernal pool, a bat hotel, meadow restoration, and new dramatic overlooks. The proposal combines a good walk in the woods with historic tales of manufacturing and the Underground Railroad, and a highly pragmatic forest maintenance and restoration scheme. A site branding exercise incorporates the use of signage, brochures, cell phone apps, billboards, and an inner city wall mural into the overall re-imagination of the park.