Poets Corner Memorial
The Poets Corner Memorial Project was completed in 2013 for the University of New Brunswick. They had moved a pre-existing stone memorial from an unused part of the campus to a central location and wanted to create a hardscape project around it that would be useful and draw attention to the memorial and the poets. We were asked by the client to come up with a design and spec based upon the usage they wanted for the space, a rough idea, the memorial itself, and the lay of the land.
Given that they wanted to feature the pre-existing memorial and create a sitting/study/gathering area in a hilly area, we proposed an amphitheatre type of construction, with a semicircular bench wall centered on the memorial, and with a stepped up surround topped with a build in planting bed.
The project features curved walls constructed from Allen Block Europa wall stone, topped with capping for seats. The patio area is done with Square cut flagstone, and features 12’ of natural stone steps on each side bringing traffic from the sidewalk up into the memorial. There is a planting bed inbetween the two entrance points to soften the project as a whole. We also had granite slabs engraved with lines of poetry from the poets the project is memorializing and we inset them into the flagstone around the planting bed and the upright memorial. We installed lighting for the planting bed and for the upright memorial both to accent the memorial at night and to create a safe and well lit area on campus that can be used without hesitation regardless of the time of day.
The challenges of this job were primarily space related as it was a tight lot with limited access from the street and construction accessibility from only one side and the back thanks to the cooperation of a neighbor. We were unable to excavate directly into trucks and had to build a small road in through a ditch at the back of the property. Once excavated we also had to bury the overhead electrical lines along the side of the property to meet pool code. Additionally we had to have the fiberglass pool shell craned in over the electrical lines in the back and dropped into the hole.
Once the pool was in an hooked up we came back to complete the landscaping, working our way from the front of the property to the back so we could “paint ourselves out of the room” as it were. The large scale slabs were cumbersome to work with but lend a great sense of weight and contemporary styling to the landscaping. The homeowner wanted to stay with dark colors, so we chose grey pavers and black coping to match the black pool, which ended up looking great. Closing it in we opted for a horizontal rail fence and kept the remaining bed areas simple, transplanting mature rhododendrons and Lilac.
The client was very pleased with the outcome of the project, it’s opening was featured in the local paper, and it is a regular stop on the tour of the campus both for English Lit students and prospective students and parents visiting UNB Fredericton.