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. Global Affairs Monument
  56. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  57. Gormley Garden
  58. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  59. Greener P
  60. Greer Road Garden
  61. Greer Road Residence
  62. Guelph Bridge
  63. Head in the Clouds
  64. Helena Ave Residence 4
  65. Junction Craft Brewery
  66. Kelpies Competition
  67. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  68. King's Landing Apartment
  69. Kipling & Islington Developments
  70. Le jardin du repos
  71. Lenticular Curtain
  72. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  73. Liberty Village Parkettes
  74. Liza’s Garden
  75. Lynwood Garden
  76. Macroscape
  77. Markham Garden One
  78. Markham Street Residence Two
  79. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  80. Mulock Park
  81. Nathan Phillips Square
  82. – Streetscape
  83. – Peace Garden
  84. – Podium Roof Garden
  85. Octane Medical Campus
  86. Orchard View Garden
  87. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  88. Owl Cottage
  89. Paperstone Scissors
  90. Pendrith Residence
  91. Peripheral Sitings
  92. Pottery Road Crossing
  93. rare
  94. Ravine Forecourt
  95. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  96. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  97. Roxborough Garden One
  98. Roxborough Garden Two
  99. Schulich School of Business
  100. Sheridan College
  101. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  102. Spadina Quay Wetland
  103. St. Anne's Road Garden
  104. Stratford Market Square Competition
  105. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  106. Superkids Dental
  107. Superlegible
  108. Sweet Farm
  109. Sweet Farm Pond House
  110. Swift Medical Offices
  111. The Meadows Reconsidered
  112. The Red Sash
  113. Thick & Thin
  114. Thistletown II Townhouses
  115. Tipping Point
  116. TMU Centre for Urban Innovation
  117. TMU Science Building
  118. Tranby Garden
  119. Tree House Residence
  120. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  121. UHN Tunnels
  122. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  123. Venice Biennale 2012
  124. Vermont Square Park
  125. Vernon Avenue Garden
  126. Walk the Walk
  127. Walmer Road Residence
  128. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  129. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  130. Wells Street Residence
  131. Westminster Residence
  132. Weston Village BIA Masterplan
  133. With Words as Their Actions
  134. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  135. Woven Stories
  136. York Park