PLANT won the international competition for the design of this new public square in fall 2006. New Market Square will be a new commons for the people of Stratford, where two opposing slopes generate an arena for public life. Sunken ground is a collector of activity as well as water; open space allows movement through and around the Square; a gently folded plane generates an ever-changing set of perspectives. A large grove of Sycamore trees makes the Square both a park and a piazza.
This pedestrian-only area is grade-separated from the roadbed and resurfaced in finely-grained brick. A new “creased” topography defines a locus within the greater pedestrian realm. The new topography creates a North-South slope meeting at the axis drawn between Brunswick Street and Allen’s Alley; the resultant slope of the ground gives City Hall a stately prominence, while the slope to the South retail promenade gives this space an overlook onto the Square. The Square is edged to the west by a wall with seating toward the street, to the east with shallow amphitheatre-like steps, and to the south with a wide promenade at storefront level for café table spill-out.
The grove of Sycamores occupying the South-west half creates an area of intimate scale within the Square, leaving the North-east half open for larger gatherings. The grove is a strong legible landscape component that also accommodates potential activity (such as a craft fair), and provides shade and seasonal change on the Square. A single magnificent Oak tree occupies the open area to the East. Views to the Square from the perimeter of the site constantly shift the scale and relationship of Oak tree, City Hall, and Sycamore grove; the views are cinematic in nature, reinforced by the triangular form of the Square and the subtle shift in the ground plane.
Sequential views approaching from the Southwest
Sequential views approaching from the Northwest
Sequential views approaching from the East
N–S Site Section
S–N Site Section
Tree Well Detail Section