Little Amphibians
Founded in 1634, Boston Common is the oldest public park in America - a significant and historic public place.  It is familiar to us as Bostonians, of course, but we've also been privileged as a firm to have worked there before, when we renovated the park's main watershape, the Frog Pond, to serve as a splash pool in summer and as an ice-skating rink in winter.   During the pond renovation, we learned that tackling projects in such storied surroundings can be a tall order.  For example, we had to place all of the pond's chillers and pumping equipment underground to mask any obvious intrusion on the 17th-century space.  As we approached a second major project - this time the renovation of the park's playground - we knew going in that those who hired us were keenly sensitive to the nature of the place and came armed with preconceptions about colors, images and what would be "appropriate" for the setting. To keep things moving, we worked very closely with the city's Historic Commission in establishing the color palette, procuring artwork and developing an overall plan that would result in a space that was attractive and safe for children and suited to the surroundings.  To be sure, the negotiations were intense as we