Rank the Four Franceschi House Site Concept Designs

Franceschi Park January 2024 (Courtesy)

Four concept designs have been developed for a future project at the site of Franceschi House based on feedback from a community workshop and almost 700 survey responses.

A second online survey is open through Monday, May 27 for the public to rank each of the potential designs.

Please review and rank the four concept designs. Each design is inspired by the history of the park and seeks honor its legacy. At this stage in the design process, variation is reflected in the proposed terrace space that would replace the Franceschi House. Currently, the surrounding site design is the same amongst all four concepts, so when ranking the concepts please focus on the different terrace designs. A brief narrative is provided for each concept, as well as an overall site design to orientate the reader with the improvements to the remainder of the site.

Overall Site Design

<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><span style="color: #000000; text-decoration: underline;">Overall Site Design</span><br></strong></span>

Without substantially altering the layout and feel of the space, landscaping, stormwater, and accessibility improvements will be added to the project site to increase functionality, safety, and resiliency.

A small parking area and pathway will be provided to the east of the house. The falling retaining walls south of the house will be improved. To the west, the circular plaza will be resurfaced with a smooth, pervious surface and a new stone seating wall will be added along its southern edge. Further west, the existing viewing perch will be rebuilt with an accessible path, improved seating, and viewing scope. The surrounding landscape will be updated with a mix of native and Franceschi inspired plantings. Four potential design concepts are shared below for the terrace area to be located in the footprint of the house.

Design Concept 1 – Horticultural Emphasis

<strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Design Concept 1 - Horticultural Emphasis</span></strong>

The emphasis of this scheme would be the landscape and site work. The Franceschi House would be replaced with a raised viewing terrace with an allée of trees directed towards the view. Stepped retaining walls, divided by plantings would raise the elevation of the terrace and narrow its footprint creating a feature more modest in scale. Newly landscaped areas would include a collection of plants that can be traced back to Franceschi’s horticultural contributions, as well as native species. Plant placards could convey brief descriptions and the history of these Franceschi-introduced plants. Some of the medallions and decorative plaques from the house could be reinstalled on pedestals located throughout the adjacent landscape to commemorate unique elements of the Franceschi House.

Design Concept 2 – Architectural Emphasis

<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Design Concept 2 - Architectural Emphasis</strong></span>

This scheme is architecturally inspired and includes more commemorative elements of the Franceschi House. The wood framing of the house would be replaced with concrete retaining walls matching the house’s footprint. The lower level would be backfilled to form an elevated viewing terrace at the house’s main level. Most of the medallions could be reinstalled on the new plastered retaining walls, potentially in their original locations along the south elevation of the home, as originally installed by Alden Freeman.

The terrace’s ground surface would be paved in concrete and inscribed with the floor plan of the house. Select elements of the house, such as the entry porch and windows could be reconstructed out of more durable materials to help secure the perimeter of the terrace and commemorate the original house. The landscaping surrounding the terrace would include Franceschi inspired plantings and the trellis to the south of the house would be reconstructed.

Design Concept 3 – Architectural Emphasis

<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Design Concept 3 - Architectural Emphasis</strong></span>

This concept is a slight modification of the architecturally inspired Concept 2. The viewing terrace would be constructed in the same manner and location of the house as in concept 2, but offers alternative options for the interpretive site elements.

The terrace would be paved in concrete and embedded with commemorative plaques that celebrate Franceschi’s horticultural contributions. The fireplace and stairway to the home’s lower level could be retained as unique architectural elements, although modifications would be required to ensure they do not create safety hazards. Medallions and other select elements of the original house would continue to be incorporated into the design, as well as Franceschi inspired plantings around the perimeter.

Design Concept 4 – Horticultural / Architectural Hybrid

<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Design Concept 4 - Horticultural / Architectural Hybrid</strong></span>

This concept would be a hybrid that blends the landscape and architectural emphasis of the prior concepts. The terrace footprint and construction would be similar to Concepts 2 and 3, but the openness of the floor plan would be broken up with additional landscaping similar to Concept 1. Select elements of the house, such as the window frames could be reconstructed out of more durable materials to help secure the perimeter of the terrace and commemorate the original house. The approaching visitor would see remnants of the house and medallions, then at the terrace level experience landscaping attributed to Franceschi. Overall, the design would commemorate both Dr. Franceschi and Alden Freeman.

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