Klopfer Martin Design Group

The Steel Yard

The Steel Yard


In 2002, the founders of the Steel Yard purchased a vacant steel fabrication facility as a home for their nascent arts based non-profit. Faced with an expensive and comprehensive brownfield cleanup to allow the site to be used as envisioned, the Steel Yard and KMDG had to negotiate environmental requirements while also leveraging limited funds to meet programmatic needs and leave room for the organization’s future growth.

Competing interests in large paved surfaces for outdoor work space and vehicular movement and a sustainable campus without large expanses of impervious pavement are the driving forces of the landscape design. The design is centered on a paved plane, ‘the carpet,’ which is woven with heavy- and light-duty pavements, impermeable and pervious materials. The margins beyond the pavement act as ‘stormwater moats’ infiltrating runoff and providing habitat for volunteer vegetation. Building the carpet over existing grade reduced excavate and allowed all contaminated soil to remain on-site in landforms.

The final project both met the preservation standards required of a National Historic Register site and leads by example in its innovative design for passive, on-site storm water management.

Today, the Steel Yard is a reclaimed urban landscape that represents the neighborhood’s industrial history while also offering a campus for industrial arts education, workforce training, and small-scale manufacturing. In addition, the Steel Yard is a lead partner in the intentional reclamation of Providence's "Industrial Valley" and serves as a modern, publicly accessible, de facto park. 

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Project Details

Providence, RI

The Steel Yard

Completed in 2010

2013 Silver Medal, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence
2012 Brownfield Redevelopment + Renewal, Gold Standard Social Impact Award
2012 Senator John Chafee Conservation Leadership Award, Environmental Council of RI
2011 Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects
2011 Honor Award, Boston Society of Landscape Architects
2011 Rhody Award, Preserve RI & RI Historic Commission
2011 Great Places Design Award, Environmental Design Research Association
2010 Providence Preservation Society Award

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Master Planning, Adaptive Reuse, Historic Preservation, Brownfield

Prime, Landscape Architect, Master Planning, Design Development, Construction Documentation, Construction Administration

Morris Beacon Design, civil engineers
EA Engineering, environmental engineers
Structures Workshop, structural engineers
Griffith + Vary, electrical engineers
KMDG, landscape architect

Christian Phillips Photography
Annali Kiers

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