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Grand Junction Plaza

Westfield, IN

Studio 431 Custom Elements:

Terraced plaza edge, amphitheater, bar-height counter, and wall-integrated benches

Design Partners:

DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

Team Members:

City of Westfield, IN


​​2023 National ASLA Professional Awards: General Design Honor Award, 2023 INASLA Design Awards: General Design - Design Excellence Award, 2023 Monocle Minute Design Award: Best Ecological Effort

About 'The Junction'

Grand Junction Plaza, also known simply as “The Junction,” is a modern community hub and central park for the City of Westfield, Indiana. Bisected by the riparian corridor of Cool Creek, the park lies at the intersection of four trails, reinforcing its feeling of centrality and the notion of people coming together with the landscape.  

To create the ambiance for such an important community destination, landscape architecture firm DAVID RUBIN Land Collective developed an extensive design program for the site to help restore the community’s identity and relationship with the creek-side environment. A variety of custom amenities are offered, including a landform amphitheater and performance venue. Complementing the space are wall-integrated benches, a bar-height counter, and a terraced plaza edge. 

“Knowing Studio 431's engineering and problem-solving abilities, we made sure to bring them into the Grand Junction Plaza project as early as we could.”

David A. Rubin, PLA, FASLA, FAAR, Principal, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

From Inspiration to Installation

Central to rediscovering and celebrating its ecological identity is the Wetland Amphitheater, a flowing cascade of concrete and Ipe wood designed by DAVID RUBIN Land Collective and engineered and manufactured by Landscape Forms’ custom division, Studio 431. David A. Rubin, PLA, FASLA, FAAR, Principal of DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, explains his firm’s design intent: "We found inspiration in Michelangelo's Laurentian Library steps where he carved stone to resemble flowing water. So, in the Wetland Amphitheater, we allowed wood to be described as cascading water, flowing down the steps to the creek itself,” Rubin says. 

To capture what Rubin describes as the "liquid expression of solid wood,” Studio 431 put the full force of its engineering and manufacturing expertise behind transforming the crisp edges of Ipe boards into smooth and continuous flows of warm wood throughout the park – including custom terraced plaza edges, wall-integrated benches, and in the Wetland Amphitheater’s seating. "The language of the whole project was very conceptual and high-design. Studio 431 allowed us to explore options that could be deployed strategically to complement and reinforce that language,” Rubin says.  

And when Rubin says “early” in the project, he really means it. While the official ribbon cutting took place in late 2021, the roots of the project date all the way back to 2015. As David Elliott, PLA, Design Director at DAVID RUBIN Land Collective confirms, Studio 431 was there every step of the way. 

"Studio 431 was a great partner from the very start. We came up with the overall vision for the amphitheater's forms and layout, but Studio 431 was very helpful determining the parameters for the constructability of all the pieces and taking care of the technical details in manufacturing to make the installation work seamlessly.”

David Elliott, PLA, Design Director, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

Expert Problem Solving

"One of the challenges Studio 431 encountered, and then took the onus to overcome, was the fact that there was a slight change in the construction of the stone bookends for the amphitheater. Their team came out, surveyed the site and modified their plans to ensure that the wood seating surfaces nestled perfectly into the surrounding structure.”

Part of this nimble problem-solving effort was Studio 431 Market Specialist, Mark Haase, who helped adapt his team’s work to the realities playing out in the field. "We gave a lot of initial feedback especially on the sizing and spacing of the boards in order to best make DAVID RUBIN Land Collective’s design a reality. Because the concrete foundation was poured in the field while we were manufacturing the wood bench toppers entirely in our shop offsite, we incorporated a certain degree of play, adjustability, and adaptability on our end so that the two elements could come together in installation as smoothly as possible,” describes Haase.  

In Haase’s eyes, the Grand Junction Plaza project was right in Studio 431’s wheelhouse, taking full advantage of the custom division’s unique ability to guide and consult on the front end, and then to adeptly navigate challenges during construction phases to execute an exacting design with excellence.

"This was Studio 431’s first opportunity to work with DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, and it ended up being a really successful and enjoyable partnership.”

Mark Haase, Market Specialist, Studio 431

"When you're working with the top echelon of landscape architecture firms, which DAVID RUBIN Land Collective is very much a part of, everyone is so detail-oriented and so focused on the utmost quality of fit and finish. These are great opportunities for the Studio 431 team to showcase their unique skillset and help elevate already great designs to an even higher level.”