A town park in Ambler, Pennsylvania uses an eye-catching pattern in permeable pavers to protect groundwater and tell the story of a stream used to provide water power for a leathermaking company beginning in the late 1700s.
A project that used Pine Hall Brick Company clay pavers took home an award at the 2021 Brick Industry Association’s (BIA) annual Brick in Architecture competition.
The Silver Award, in the Paving & Landscaping Category, was handed down to the Ambler Square Park project in Ambler, Pennsylvania; landscape architect Gilmore & Associates; masonry contractor GoreCon Inc.; brick distributor Church Brick Company and brick manufacturer Pine Hall Brick Company.
The project made use of Pine Hall Brick Company’s StormPave permeable pavers in Full Range, Dark Accent and Gray. The project was intended to slow water runoff and promote innovative and sustainable stormwater solutions in a public park setting.
Rainwater falls on the pavers, goes around gaps in between them and then into a series of layered aggregates underneath. Some penetrates into the ground below; and some is collected and re-directed into rain gardens on the surface.
Within the BIA contest, 49 awards were handed out in the Best in Class, Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. A total of 138 entries – almost double the amount over the past three years – were received from the United States, Australia, Canada and Mexico.
“These awards demonstrate clay brick’s infinite design versatility derived from a myriad of available colors that never fade, textures and installation options,” said Ray Leonhard, BIA’s president and CEO.
Leonhard praised brick’s natural beauty, its durability, its energy efficiency and its low maintenance as qualities that make brick the best choice for a building material.
“We are always happy to be part of a winning project,” said Doug Rose, paver sales manager for Pine Hall Brick Company. “But the real winners are the citizens of Ambler, Pennsylvania, who will have a beautiful public park for decades to come.”
Within the park, the brick colors were chosen to provide a unique, eye-catching pattern and also to tell the story of the Tannery Run, which flows underneath the park site.
Tannery Run was a stream that powered a bark mill used by the Faust Tannery, which originally made boots and shoes and later, leather harnesses for horses. The Tannery was in business for more than 100 years. Founded in 1790, the Tannery used tree bark, processed by the mill powered by the stream, as an integral part of leathermaking.
The business did well until after World War I, when trucks and automobiles replaced horse-drawn vehicles. By 1925, the business had closed.
Using StormPave permeable pavers promotes the natural filtering of rainwater, which is particularly important here. Tannery Run is one of the three main ub- watersheds/tributaries that flow to the Wissahickon Creek, then to the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, the Delaware River, the Delaware Bay and ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean near Cape May, N.J.