Kiwanis Methow Park is a 55,000 square foot park located in the City of Wenatchee, Washington. The park is comprised of three tiers, featuring amenities like splash pools and play structures, as well as a multi-use field, basketball courts and picnic tables. The park is also home to a plaza where people can come together for performances, farmers markets and other community gatherings. Set against this backdrop is the Kiwanis Methow Park Kiosko, a new addition to the park’s central tier. A joint effort by Seattle-based architecture firm Fivedot and landscape architecture firm Site Workshop, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the kiosko is a celebration of the predominantly Latino culture that embodies the South Wenatchee community.
“We were thrilled to be invited into the process,” said Geoff Piper, partner at Fivedot. “Site Workshop had been working with The Trust for Public Land prior to us coming on board, and they identified through their pretty extensive public engagement process, and community engagement, that a kiosko structure was needed and reached out to bring us on the team. We were really excited to join them.”
Located at the far southern edge of the park the kiosko is an 874 square foot tribute to the community of the City of Wenatchee. The goal of the design was to act as an anchoring point for the park, provide space for performances and social gatherings and to be a culturally appropriate symbol of the community.
“The community had a strong desire to see their identity and their presence reflected in the design of the park,” Piper said. “So during those early engagement efforts, they brought up the need for a kiosko. There’s a lot of musical performances that happen there, specifically mariachi music, and there’s a mariachi festival in Wenatchee every year. They wanted the kiosko as a place for musical performances and gatherings. It was kind of a cultural identity, a cultural presence that tied to the kioskos that you might see in a traditional Mexican central plaza.”
TPL first learned about the need for a higher quality park in South Wenatchee and spoke with more than 500 residents to understand what the vision of the park should be. Then in early 2018, the neighborhood founded Parque Padrinos, a community group that advocated for residents to have a voice in the project by participating in city council meetings.
“It was really exciting to get into a process like that where the public engagement and the community engagement have been so thorough and done with good spirit,” Piper said. “So that was thrilling for us.”
The kiosko features a steel roof form that has been influenced by the geometric patterning of traditional kiosko design, and the team abstracted the roof to illustrate the iconic significance of the structure. Piper explained that during a design meeting, community members were offering input on the location and design of the kiosko, and one community member actually helped the team decide how they were going to approach the roof design.
“We were using post-it notes to indicate where this should go on the site,” Piper said. “One community member reached over and she just grabbed one of the post-it notes, pulled out a pair of scissors and cut it to the shape of the roof of kiosko, and she’s like, ‘That’s what it should look like.’”
Arched steel supports rise up to embrace the roof structure, which Piper mentioned is one of the team’s favorite features of the project.
“I think there’s a really nice integration of the structural requirements of this with the architectural beauty of it,” Piper said. “So the center compression ring is really nice… Just the infrastructural integration was successful.”
Because the kiosko is located in a public park, the team needed to choose highly durable materials that could also withstand the strong winds of the area. The roof and arches are both made of steel, and the arches are painted with a highly damage-resistant paint. The underside of the roof features wood soffit to add warmth to the structure.
“[It’s] a small palette of materials, but you do a lot with a little,” Piper said.
The team worked closely with Dan Morrow at Swenson Say Faget, which contributed structural engineering services to the project, to ensure the structure was designed with integrity so everything remained in place, even with the uplift and torsion that can be caused by the high winds in the area.
“That was one of the fun parts of the design,” Piper said.
The project also features artwork, which was coordinated by local artist Terry Valdez. Fencing lines the park in colorful Mexican papel picado, and the concrete benches around the kiosko are adorned with mosaics by Claire Barnett from Seattle Mosaic arts. Bennett conducted community workshops where community members came together to create the different plates she installed.
While every project comes with its own set of challenges, Piper credited TPL for pushing the process through despite the budgetary challenges that usually constrain public projects.
“One of the really nice things was that The Trust for Public Land was kind of a general sponsor; they basically initiated the project and guided it through,” Piper said. “So they put so much effort into ensuring that there was adequate funding.”
The kiosko has now been open to the public since early 2020, and while unfortunately a grand opening couldn’t happen due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Piper said the team is grateful for the partnership with the city, Site Workshop and the community that led to a good outcome.
“It was a great project,” Piper said. “We were able to work with really great partners on that. And working with TPL is always a pleasure… There were a lot of good intentions and that resulted [in a] good project.”