case study: International Friendship Park

Cincinnati, Ohio | Cincinnati Parks | Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park

the challenge

Cincinnati Parks envisioned building Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park in order to teach equality and respect for all cultures, encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to meet and interact, and use art, ecology, and garden spaces to express universal ideals of peace and friendship. From a local perspective, the park needed to honor local river ecology, connect riverfront parks and trails, and highlight the city’s international relationships. From a global perspective, the park needed to honor and celebrate cultures.

the solution

Working with teams of landscape architects, architects, environmental graphic designers, and artisans, Kolar and team helped to design of Cincinnati’s Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, named in honor of the city’s first African-American mayor and foreign ambassador. The park emphasizes the things that bring people together and gives life and purpose to an underutilized strip of land along the Ohio River. The concept of the park celebrates the natural linear river setting by creating a “friendship bracelet” with charms on the bracelet as major features. Throughout the park, the landscape and graphics honor the cultural and natural symbols of different continents. Along the paths, iconography is cast into concrete artfully textured with plant and animal prints indigenous to that continent. The park entrance is highlighted with a 24-foot wide flowing pinwheel sculpture. Each aluminum fin emerges from the landscape in a multicultural array of color. The park name appears as a jewel-like braid with the word “welcome” in eight languages. The columns punctuate the plaza, honoring the park’s namesake. The park is a canvas where the wonder and drama of the global village can be explored and enjoyed by all.