Thinking about scale
One of the most underappreciated design skills is the understanding of scale. Landscape type alone does not necessarily drive scale. Whether the project is residential, urban, rural, institutional, it may not matter; what matters is how big the space feels, how it relates to what is around it. Once the scale of an existing landscape has been studied, the response can either support it or remediate it. If an existing landscape or feature, such as a large blank wall, dwarfs something like a charming city street, it may be a good idea to break down the scale; this is why lattice and arbors along blank walls became popular. On the other hand, if something in the landscape is so massive that you just can’t get around it, or maybe you even find something beautiful in it, another approach is to shift the scale of the design to meet the bigness of what is already there.
The scale of the urban infrastructure at Queens Plaza required a response that could stand up to it. So even though the completed landscape on the ground looks soft and green, the landscape has an underlying organizing structure that is clear and forceful. It stretches from the infrastructure to the buildings across from it in an axial, big-boned grid. The paths are of a width that connects with the city streets.