Dezeen Magazine

Ross Barney Architects designs public park for city in Arkansas

Railyard is a colourful public park by Chicago-based practice Ross Barney Architects straddling the railway line running through the city of Rogers in Arkansas.

The five-acre park was designed as a series of plazas connected by walkways with sheltered benches, along with a children's playground and a pavilion for live events.

Top: the Butterfield Stage has a zigzag pavilion. Above: water features below the old water tanks

Ross Barney Architects designed the park after collecting 1,000 survey responses from the local community.

Rogers, a city in the Ozark Mountains, was founded in the 1800s as a stop on a railroad line. Formerly called Frisco Park, the public space has been rechristened after the redesign as a nod to the city's history.

Play Yard playground at Rogers park
The colourful children's playground at Railyard

Railyard is now the location of the local farmers market, called the DTR Market, which is held on Frisco Plaza every Saturday morning.

Water stops that were once used to refill the trains' tanks have been turned into a canvas for artists. Water features are set into the ground underneath so that people can play in the fountains during the summer.

Picnic tables at a plaza in a park designed by Ross Barney Architects
Picnic tables on rails can be pushed together

The tanks overlook the Play Yard, a children's play area featuring colourful flooring and lots of tunnels.

Sail-style canopies provide shade for the many wooden benches and picnic tables that look like old railway sleepers. The picnic tables have wheels on rails so that people can push them together to create long tables.

A zigzagging canopy forms a pavilion over the Butterfield Stage, an outdoor events area with a 1,000-person capacity named after the old stagecoach line that ran through the area prior to the railway.

The park project was funded in part by a donation from the Walton Family Foundation, the organisation set up by Walmart founder Sam Walton. The first-ever Walmart store opened in 1962 in Rogers.

The Butterfield Stage pavilion at the Railyard park in Arkansas
The Butterfield Stage has a capacity of 1,000 people

Ross Barney Architects is an office based in Chicago. Previous projects from the practice include a riverfront promenade complete with fishing spots and a McDonald's that's been compared to an Apple Store.

More park design includes Thomas Heatherwick's Little Island in the Hudson River and a park built over an old airport in Taiwan by Mosbach Paysagistes.

The photography is courtesy of Ross Barney Architects.

Architect: Ross Barney Architects
Civil engineering: CEI Engineering Associates
Structural engineering: Goodfriend Magruder Structure
MEP engineering: HP Engineering
Lighting design: Schuler Shook
Associate architect: AFJH Architects
Branding and environmental graphics: SPAN
Land surveying: CEI Engineering Associates
Av consultants: Crowne Group
General contractor: Nabholz Construction

More images and plans

Site plan