Situated on the edge of Boston’s Fort Point Channel, Martin’s Park commemorates 8-year-old Martin Richard, who died tragically in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The park is a celebration of Martin’s life, departing from traditional memorial sites in its expression of the exuberant and adventurous spirit of a young boy. Leading an intensely collaborative process, MVVA transformed a one-acre lawn adjacent to the Boston Children’s Museum into a playground that offers larger-than-life experiences for children of all abilities.
Martin’s parents charged MVVA with creating a playground that was inclusive but challenging, accessible but rugged, and above all, fun. Martin’s Park celebrates inclusion with opportunities for intrepid, exploratory, and natural play. Winding, accessible paths lined with sensory play equipment lift kids (and sometimes, the adults watching over them) to a bridge rising 12 feet above the adjacent Harborwalk, where they can enjoy expansive views across the Channel.
A 40-foot-long wooden boat perched atop a cresting wave made of rubberized play surface serves as the centerpiece of the imaginative play area in the north section of the park.
Two slides anchoring the south play area cascade down a scramble of granite slabs reclaimed from the 2016 renovation of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.
Five white-flowering cherry trees encircle a type of climbing apparatus that Martin loved at other parks: a colorful web of ropes inside a sphere of thick steel pipes. The trees, symbolizing the five lives lost in the 2013 attack, bloom right around Marathon Monday each spring. 330 more trees and 700 shrubs are planted in the lush landscape that surrounds the playground.
Together with the adjacent Boston Children’s Museum entry plaza, another MVVA landscape, Martin’s Park completes the Smith Family Waterfront that stretches from the Congress Street Bridge to the Seaport Boulevard Bridge.