A carefully crafted, thoughtfully reimagined landscape design ties together old and new in this important public space for the city of Allentown. Omnes’ simplified vision for the structure of the space brings focus to its proposed architectural centerpiece – the pavilion and stage – while also improving visitors’ everyday experiences. A taller tree canopy around the perimeter brings a sense of both grandeur and enclosure to the plaza – it also provides a distinct threshold to the site. Modernized paving and a clear central axis re-frame the large lawn area, and a set of newly widened steps provides both places to lounge on quiet afternoons and higher vantage points during events.
The upper entry plaza, which sits immediately opposite the Allentown Art Museum, is repaved and furnished playfully and colorfully to encourage gathering, especially in admiration of the plaza’s DaVinci-inspired horse sculpture by Nina Akamu. This space now functions as one continuous open plaza – serving as the perfect venue for an Arts market on weekends and a cozy café kiosk for students during the week. Omnes’ redesign of the Allentown Arts Park aims to celebrate the city’s passionate appreciation of art and craft throughout history while reinvigorating the plaza to function for the Allentown of today. The project was recognized by a 2021 AIA Honor Award.