Mary Soo Hoo Park
Boston, MA 2011
Mary Soo Hoo Park occupies a small but heavily used area in the heart of Chinatown, Boston. At 0.6-acres, it is the first parcel on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and has a tremendous impact on the surrounding neighborhood where any open space is a rare and precious commodity. In the center of the Park is an existing forty-five foot high vent structure servicing the highway that runs below the site. During the design process, SSA engaged in a series of public workshops with the Chinatown Community to establish a series of cultural themes and develop key objectives to guide the design process for the park. Residents voiced a desire for seating to facilitate conversation, tables for chess, play space for children, and improved lighting to enliven the often dark, shaded side of the vent tower. Through an involved public design process, SSA developed the themes to celebrate Chinese culture, provide a unique and dynamic play environment, and set a new standard for park design for the City of Boston and the region. In a precedent involving collaboration between the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the City of Boston, SSA was also able to transform the vent structure that shades the Park into a community icon by wrapping it an image of a 14th century Chinese landscape painting from the Museum’s collection. The Park is well used by the community at all hours of the day, throughout the seasons, serving as the living room for community residents of all ages and a gateway for visitors to Chinatown and the Greenway.