Kent Falls Trail
Kent, CT, USA
CLIENT CT Dept of Environmental Protection, CT Dept. of Public Works / SIZE 1/4 mile trail / STATUS Completed 2006 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Vollmer Associates LLP
A green corridor badly eroded through overuse, poor design, and incompetent earlier construction, is not only restored but re-conceptualized through differing levels of intervention. Views along the quarter mile long route are enhanced and smaller spaces for respite and contemplation are created along the way.
The scheme creates new nodes that serve as optional trail branches at times, special lookouts at others, fulfilling functions that the original trail never had. It also proposes a loop rather than a climb and descent through the same trail, as a way of thinking through the ongoing reconstruction process and responding to the need to deflect the public's attention from areas under construction.
A very short bridge proposed by a sculptor is to cross the stream above the last waterfall, presenting the opportunity of an artistic intervention and adding interest to the trail path. Excessive traffic is reduced by a return trail on the opposite side of the stream. This bridge is to be financed by the local community. Special attention was given to the construction details and materiality of benches, signage, guardrails, stairs, and walls in order to preserve the park's rural character. Lookouts and small intimate spaces were specifically designed to address the site and frame key views. Atypical and sometimes unexpected moments along the trail were given similar attention to detail in order to heighten the scenic experience