RWP Gateway Center — Now Open

The Gateway Center at Roger Williams Park is now open, seven days a week from 10am to 7pm. Stop in and say hello to the pathologically affable co-manager Mark Mundorf (see below). We had a great time discussing the neighborhood, the history of the park, the massive picnic tables out front, the colored fins, and everyone’s hopes for the future use of the facility.

InFORM Studio is the firm behind the center, with its swooping multi-colored arch. In an effort to make a real connection to the surrounding community, each of those colored fins is inspired by, and linked to, a specific local business. (It’s all explained and mapped out on their page.)

And Design Under Sky are the design team responsible for the exquisite landscaping. Their founding principal is Adam E. Anderson, and if that name rings a bell, he was responsible for the beloved sunflowers installation that brightened our lives for all those summers! He describes this project:

Entering through the gateway into the “Urban” portion of the garden, an open permeable hardscape space creates a flexible field for the variety of outdoor programs and events tied to Roger Williams Park and the Gateway. This seamlessly transitions into a “Stormwater Play Garden” that functions both as the primary collector of water for the site but also as a natural play area. . . Sculpted grass landforms and log bridges allow visitors to playfully explore the native meadow like planting of the central rain garden.

Kids should love this. The plantings are all native and Mark indicated that the lumber slabs for all those terrific benches were hewn from fallen trees harvested by the parks department. The entire space benefits from several towering oaks, limbed way up to provide dappled shade and a cathedral effect.

Now about those bug houses! They earn their place simply as sculpture, but I believe that the individual boxes — filled with pine cones, hay, twigs — are meant to provide nesting, habitat, and fodder for various insects. I have no idea what the large holes are meant to accommodate.

While one stated goal of InFORM is to “increase community access to the park,” this site is not actually an entrance to the park. The original true entrance can be found just a bit further south on Broad Street as can be seen in this photo at the end of the sidewalk.

Mark made it a point to mention that they are looking for an additional co-manager — one fluent in Spanish — who can help promote park events and Washington Park neighborhood events as well as the businesses on Broad Street. (This looks like it could be the job posting.)

RWP Gateway Center, 1197 Broad Street, (directions) Check out the Google map for a “before” photo of the site.


This is Mark. Go talk to him. It’s fun. And buy some merch.

Welcome to the bug house.

There are other, smaller bug house models. This entire space benefits from the “borrowed landscaping” of Roger Williams Park. We should all have such abutters.

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