Railroad Park | Birmingham Alabama | Tom Leader Studio

Railroad Park-Birmingham Alabama-Tom Leader Studio

Aerial image of the park with phase II amphitheater by Kennedy Violich Architecture

Tom Leader Studio(TLS) spent five years working extensively with a public / private partnership to build this downtown central park and master plan the rail corridor. TLS managed a large team of consultants including multiple architects, local landscape architect, and engineers. Abandoned rail lines are a constant theme in all of our work today. This project celebrates the active participation of 11 tracks of well-loved trains that slowly lumber through this downtown on a viaduct. The park site is a former warehouse and brick-making site and much of the park is formed with materials recovered from historic uses. The park is four blocks long by one block wide and was historically, the lowest point in town. The scheme draws on this ample water in creating a large reservoir for irrigation which also discharges through a stream and series of ponds as a summer fountain. Needed floodwater storage is created by excavating for this water system, using the spoils to create a series of knolls along the rail viaduct. The “Rail Trail”, located atop this little mountain range is a series of on-grade and bridge connections which allow train-spotting up close, views over downtown and of the frequent large music events and parties within the park. The park contains performance venues of varying scales from small to extra large such as the annual “Crawfish Boil” attracting 30,000 music fans. Noisy or quiet, day or night, the park is only completed by the industrial ballet of freight cars slowly rolling in both directions.

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