Repentance Park

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A sunken mid-century plaza is rebuilt as a sweeping, crescent-shaped landform, reconnecting critical circulation routes and framing a major civic space beneath the Old State Capitol. This project is Baton Rouge’s first step toward a vibrant Central Green linking the downtown to the city’s great neighborhoods and to the Mississippi River.

The new park dissolves its midcentury perimeter to free pedestrian movement across the site and among adjacent cultural and civic institutions. A simple tectonic strategy, inspired by the landform of the natural levee, achieves spatial continuity and flexibility.

An arcing earthwork structures an accessible path joining the upper elevations of the park with the base of the city’s constructed levee. This landform embraces a large lawn, creating an amphitheater for civic events and spontaneous recreation. At the upper elevations of the park, a promenade provides a connector between city streets and the convention center and between City Hall Plaza and the park. With a 120-foot long fountain overlooking the lawn and river beyond, the park operates as a destination, activating the civic core. Exposed aggregate concrete, unit pavers and brick tile are borrowed from the neighboring spaces. The planting design uses elms and live oaks to reflect the upland conditions of the park, while sweet gums, southern magnolia, and yaupon hollies define its lowland elevations.

Designed and constructed in only 20 months, with an extremely limited budget, and under public low-bid procedures, its details are restrained. The success of Repentance Park’s larger moves, however, is already clear. It is home to regular musical events, families have adopted its fountain, and the city has initiated the next phase of the Central Green, a renewal of the adjacent City Hall Plaza Sculpture Court. The redesign of Repentance Park is also the first phase of Baton Rouge’s “Central Green” — a network of continuous open space that unites currently disconnected cultural and civic institutions and takes steps to mitigate the division between downtown and the river created by the constructed levee.


Baton Rouge, LA




2 acres



  • Downtown Achievement Award for Public Space, International Downtown Association, 2014
  • Merit Award, Louisiana ASLA, 2015