MLA duo win Hartfords Keney Park Design Contest

Stephanie Hsia and Lara Mehling (both MLA ’15) have been awarded first prize in the Keney Park Design Contest, a joint project of the City of Hartford and the Garden Club of Hartford.

The competition called for landscape architecture and design students to conceptually redesign each of five entrances to Hartford’s Keney Park, which was originally designed by Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects and completed in 1898. One of Hsia and Mehling’s designs (above) will be implemented over the summer.

Maintaining Olmsted’s vision of the park’s style was central to the contest’s mission. Judges remarked that Hsia and Mehling’s entry was “beautifully presented, thoroughly researched… [with] a remarkable sensitivity to the Olmsted legacy.”

“We hope that our entrance design will highlight the original intentions of Olmsted’s design,” Hsia said, “and through color, texture, and fragrance, entice visitors to explore the park beyond.”

Hartford mayor Pedro E. Segarra applauded Hsia and Mehling on April 30 during a ceremony at the Hartford Public Library, where competition entries will be on display until August 15.

After graduating from the GSD this May, Hsia will travel to Japan before joining Cambridge firm Reed Hilderbrand in July. Mehling plans to teach in the GSD’s six-week summer Design Discovery program before starting a research and teaching position in the TheoryLab at ETH Zurich.

“One of our first design projects at the GSD was to redesign Franklin Park, an Olmsted park, so to be able to see a proposed design of ours come to reality at another Olmsted park as we graduate feels like we’ve come full circle,” Hsia said.

“It’s a poetic way to end our time here.”