Burnett Park

BurnettPark.jpg
Fort Worth, TX
United States
Burnett Park

Originally designed by George Kessler on land donated to the City of Fort Worth by oilman Samuel Burk Burnett, this three-acre public park provides important green space in an otherwise densely urbanized downtown district. A key component of Kessler’s City Beautiful plan for Fort Worth, the park offered a centralized fountain surrounded by open lawns.

In 1982 Peter Walker with SWA Group was commissioned to redesign the aging park. Walker removed the existing fountain and lawn, which were replaced by a Modernist geometric grid of raised granite walkways lined by a narrow, rectilinear series of pools accented with spray fountains lit by fiber optics. The walkways, which intersected at angles in the park, created triangular segments of lawn. During this time, four bronze sculptures by Henri Matisse, titled “The Backs” were installed -- a gift of the Burnett Foundation. In 2000 the sculptures were moved to the Kimbell Museum and replaced two years later by Jonathon Borofsky’s 50-foot tall brushed aluminum piece “Man With a Briefcase.”

In 2010 Walker, now with PWP Landscape Architecture, was again retained to redesign the park. During this third significant campaign in the park's evolution, pools were removed and play equipment installed while retaining the existing pedestrian circulation patterns. The park, shaded by groves of oak, magnolia, and crape myrtle on its periphery and open at the center is a rare example where an original designer was retained again 25 years later to refresh their design.