Foote’s Pond Wood is a 14-acre natural public park project spearheaded by a local parent who now heads the Environmental Commission. The park reconnects the community with a historically rich plot of land, and provides a link to an adjacent elementary school, synagogue, and Jesuit retreat. The program was to rehabilitate the site for educational and contemplative use without disturbing the essence of the place. The site is covered with an 80-year old woodlot, and a three-acre pond occupying one end.

Foote’s Pond Wood is a new fourteen-acre public park in Morristown New Jersey. The park reconnects the community with a historically rich, but neglected, plot of land consisting of an eighty year-old wood lot and four-acre pond and wetland, and provides a link to an adjacent elementary school, synagogue and Jesuit retreat. The program is to rehabilitate the site for education and contemplative uses without disturbing the essence of the place. The first phase of construction concluded in Autumn 2006.

The project consists of a series of distinct paths and interventions. Five guiding principles were used to focus the designs of the interventions: history, light, temporal change, spatial contrast, and observation. There are two distinct places of experience here – the watery one of the pond/marsh/creeks, and the forest – hence the new name, “Foote’s Pond Wood”. The thirty-year old name for the park had been Foote’s Pond – emphasizing the town’s fixation on the pond only. Our design included a name change as a primary move to recognize an aspect of the park that had long been ignored – the wood. This new name is recognized in the renewed fireplace that also acts as a sign to the street.

View of the footbridge (photo: PLANT Architect Inc.)
The footbridge from the street
View of the footbridge (photo: PLANT Architect Inc.)
The footbridge from the forest

The pond path is an anecdotal route that follows the much larger historical perimeter of the pond (now buried in the forest). It catches incidents along its way including old specimen trees, a bridge overlooking the dam, vernal ponds (the result of old dredging), a phragmites bouquet, a metal grilled wetland walk, and a sequence of informal classrooms including the resting tree room which focuses on a living but horizontal tree, the crackling room – an intensely noisy forest floor or the outdoor classroom which like a long measuring stick, marks the transition from lawn to marsh to open water. This path crosses the winding creek with cor-ten plank bridges.

The dirt paths in the forest are infinite, criss-crossing, spontaneous and unguided – a condition afforded by the overabundant resident deer population. Interventions occur between paths or make for personal destinations. A Conversation of Trees is a sample of how uses can coincide – intimate seating is made only where trees have grown close enough to have an intimate conversation. A meeting place is made and an ecological fact is demonstrated. The panoramic view of the forest is contrasted with the vertical view of the forest from the intimate wooden hammocks. Here too one can measure how trees grow in the forest by the measure of your body.

Forest clearings (due to natural attrition) are circumscribed by a communal bench encouraging observation of the changes in the forest floor due to the holes in the tree canopy. The clear tube regeneration garden makes graphic the condition that is needed to grow new trees in a deer-infested forest. Joined together, the communal bench and clear tube regeneration garden create a Petri dish to allow the community to “watch the trees grow”.

View of the classroom dock (photo: PLANT Architect Inc.)
View back along the classroom dock pier
View of the teaching dock (photo: PLANT Architect Inc.)
The classroom dock and the pond
View of the classroom dock (photo: PLANT Architect Inc.)
The classroom dock from the field

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Alexandra Park
  7. Aporia Records
  8. Asphalt Poetry
  9. – Poem
  10. Baby Point Gardens
  11. Beach Garden
  12. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  13. Beaty Residence
  14. Bennington Heights Garden
  15. Berkeley Street Residence
  16. Bin-Scarth Garden
  17. Blink and you miss it.
  18. – Poem
  19. Block 22 Landscape
  20. Bloor St. Apartment
  21. Blue Note
  22. Booth Avenue Residence
  23. Boustrophedon Garden
  24. Braemore Gardens Residence
  25. Browning Avenue Residence
  26. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  27. Camp Arowhon Offices
  28. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  29. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  30. Chocolate Loft
  31. City Instrument
  32. Clarendon Garden
  33. Conversation Piece
  34. Cortleigh Boulevard Garden
  35. Creemore Farm
  36. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  37. Dickson Park Garden
  38. Dilworth Residence
  39. Don Landing Revitalization
  40. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  41. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  42. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  43. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  44. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  45. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  46. Elizabeth Fry Society
  47. Ellsworth Residence
  48. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  49. First Avenue Garden
  50. First Avenue Residence
  51. Flyover Canada
  52. Foote’s Pond Wood
  53. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  54. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  55. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  56. Gormley Garden
  57. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  58. Greener P
  59. Greer Road Garden
  60. Greer Road Residence
  61. Guelph Bridge
  62. Head in the Clouds
  63. Helena Ave Residence 4
  64. Junction Craft Brewery
  65. Kelpies Competition
  66. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  67. King's Landing Apartment
  68. Kipling & Islington Developments
  69. Le jardin du repos
  70. Lenticular Curtain
  71. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  72. Liberty Village Parkettes
  73. Liza’s Garden
  74. Lynwood Garden
  75. Macroscape
  76. Markham Garden One
  77. Markham Street Residence Two
  78. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  79. Mulock Park
  80. Nathan Phillips Square
  81. – Streetscape
  82. – Peace Garden
  83. – Podium Roof Garden
  84. Octane Medical Campus
  85. Orchard View Garden
  86. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  87. Owl Cottage
  88. Paperstone Scissors
  89. Pendrith Residence
  90. Peripheral Sitings
  91. Pottery Road Crossing
  92. rare
  93. Ravine Forecourt
  94. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  95. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  96. Roxborough Garden One
  97. Roxborough Garden Two
  98. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  99. Ryerson University Science Building
  100. Schulich School of Business
  101. Sheridan College
  102. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  103. Spadina Quay Wetland
  104. St. Anne's Road Garden
  105. Stratford Market Square Competition
  106. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  107. Superkids Dental
  108. Superlegible
  109. Sweet Farm
  110. Sweet Farm Pond House
  111. Swift Medical Offices
  112. The Meadows Reconsidered
  113. The Red Sash
  114. Thick & Thin
  115. Thistletown II Townhouses
  116. Tipping Point
  117. Tranby Garden
  118. Tree House Residence
  119. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  120. UHN Tunnels
  121. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  122. Venice Biennale 2012
  123. Vermont Square Park
  124. Vernon Avenue Garden
  125. Walk the Walk
  126. Walmer Road Residence
  127. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  128. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  129. Wells Street Residence
  130. Westminster Residence
  131. Weston Village BIA Masterplan
  132. With Words as Their Actions
  133. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  134. Woven Stories
  135. York Park