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. Creemore Farm
  35. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  36. Dickson Park Garden
  37. Dilworth Residence
  38. Don Landing Revitalization
  39. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  40. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  41. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  42. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  43. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  44. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  45. Elizabeth Fry Society
  46. Ellsworth Residence
  47. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  48. First Avenue Garden
  49. First Avenue Residence
  50. Flyover Canada
  51. Foote’s Pond Wood
  52. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  53. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  54. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  55. Gormley Garden
  56. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  57. Greener P
  58. Greer Road Garden
  59. Greer Road Residence
  60. Guelph Bridge
  61. Head in the Clouds
  62. Helena Ave Residence 4
  63. Junction Craft Brewery
  64. Kelpies Competition
  65. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  66. Kipling & Islington Developments
  67. Le jardin du repos
  68. Lenticular Curtain
  69. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  70. Liberty Village Parkettes
  71. Liza’s Garden
  72. Lynwood Garden
  73. Macroscape
  74. Markham Garden One
  75. Markham Street Residence Two
  76. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  77. Mulock Park
  78. Nathan Phillips Square
  79. – Streetscape
  80. – Peace Garden
  81. – Podium Roof Garden
  82. Orchard View Garden
  83. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  84. Owl Cottage
  85. Paperstone Scissors
  86. Peripheral Sitings
  87. Pottery Road Crossing
  88. rare
  89. Ravine Forecourt
  90. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  91. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  92. Roxborough Garden One
  93. Roxborough Garden Two
  94. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  95. Ryerson University Science Building
  96. Schulich School of Business
  97. Sheridan College
  98. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  99. Spadina Quay Wetland
  100. St. Anne's Road Garden
  101. Stratford Market Square Competition
  102. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  103. Superkids Dental
  104. Superlegible
  105. Sweet Farm
  106. Sweet Farm Pond House
  107. Swift Medical Offices
  108. The Meadows Reconsidered
  109. The Red Sash
  110. Thick & Thin
  111. Thistletown II Townhouses
  112. Tipping Point
  113. Tranby Garden
  114. Tree House Residence
  115. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  116. UHN Tunnels
  117. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  118. Venice Biennale 2012
  119. Vermont Square Park
  120. Vernon Avenue Garden
  121. Walk the Walk
  122. Walmer Road Residence
  123. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  124. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  125. Wells Street Residence
  126. Westminster Residence
  127. With Words as Their Actions
  128. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  129. Woven Stories
  130. York Park