Druid Hill Park is Baltimore’s first large municipal park—comprising 745 acres of lawns, rolling hills, and forest—and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the course of many years, Mahan Rykiel has been working closely with the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks department to design and implement a number of projects in this historic, 745-acre park.
Druid Hill Lake Master Plan
From its inception, the park’s beautiful water features also functioned as sources of drinking water for the citizens of Baltimore. Responding to demands from the federal mandate for a more secure water supply, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) contracted a design team to implement storage tanks to replace the open water reservoir. The potential visual and functional impacts of the proposed storage tanks were significant.
As the landscape architect, Mahan Rykiel’s initial scope was to mitigate the aesthetics of this massive undertaking, preparing concepts for the tanks. This initial role involved planting design, collaboration on impacted historic elements, and re-establishing circulation connections after construction. Expanding into a design leadership role as the construction impacts of the tanks on the park became more apparent, Mahan Rykiel collaborated with both the Department of Recreation and Parks and DPW to craft a wholly new direction and vision.
This new design proposes that the tanks be covered and protected, but located within the original outline of the lake. While this concept reduces its surface area, it eliminates all reservoir water from the lake itself, opening the body of water for recreational activities never before possible—and an opportunity to reinvigorate this treasure of the City.
The Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens
Mahan Rykiel led the planning and design effort to develop a comprehensive Framework Plan for the Conservatory with short-, intermediate-, and long-term strategies.
The Jones Falls Trail
MRA designed multiple segments of the trail in both park and urban settings, and included recommendations for alignment and planting. Part of this trail provides an important link between the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and the Cylburn Arboretum
Three Sisters Ponds
Mahan Rykiel prepared a Master Plan to re-hydrate the historic Three Sisters Ponds and renovate the landscape to bring greater visibility to these features. Working closely with the user groups, MRA considered issues of new plantings, aesthetics and ecology of the park.
Each of these projects involved stakeholder input and a variety of community meetings to share information and garner important neighborhood support.
Merit Award, Maryland ASLA