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