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19 Feb 2020

SWA's strategically-placed “dog intercepts” keep park human-friendly
BY Stu Robarts

The 3.9ac (1.6ha) facility transformed a surface-level car-park into urban oasis

The 3.9ac (1.6ha) facility transformed a surface-level car-park into urban oasis
photo: Bill Tatham

A newly opened park in downtown Dallas has been designed by SWA to be welcoming to dogs but to minimise their impact and ensure it remains a pleasant place for people to spend time.

Pacific Plaza Park is one of four new green spaces that Parks for Downtown Dallas plans to have introduced to the area by 2022, with the aim of providing more outdoor amenities for its growing population.

The 3.9ac (1.6ha) facility transformed a surface-level car-park into urban oasis inspired by local history, featuring a patch of 23 existing mature oak trees integrated into it, flexible space for programming, a children's play area and “The Thread” – a solid, 614ft (187m)-long limestone wall-seat.

There are also a number of dog intercept stations located at the entrances of the park designed to encourage dogs to relieve themselves before they get to the main space.

"The idea came from our SWA Dallas project team," explained SWA managing principal Chuck McDaniel to CLAD. "While investigating the current state of dog parks – and in this case dog relief areas – we found the common materials used were typically wood chips, shredded bark and artificial turf, all of which absorbed animal urine, retaining the uric acid and thus the associated aroma.

"Artificial turf was the only material that could effectively be sprayed with a chemical and washed away if a drain was nearby to receive the runoff. But artificial turf is hot in the summers and more importantly did not meet the aesthetic requirements of the parks design. We wanted to devise another alternative."

The resulting stations take the form of black granite boulders with pitched faces that provide an opportunity for dogs to mark the territory while hiding the urine with their rough texture.

The boulders are set into black gravel, which ensures drainage and is fine enough to be compliant for accessibility.

Additional filtration is provided below by a filter fabric and an additional layer of gravel set into the base of the stations, which drain into the sewers.

An automated irrigation system is used for a short period twice a day to rinse nearby plants, the boulders and the gravel, washing into the system below.



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