Designing on the Riverfront
By Rob Hines
At Design Collaborative, we love downtown catalyst projects, and Riverfront Promenade Park is a perfect example! Having worked on The Harrison, The Summit at Parkview Field, and Cityscape Flats on the south end of Harrison Street, we were very interested in helping develop a similar community anchor on the north end of Harrison with Promenade Park. We were also excited to be involved in setting the tone and direction for the first of many Riverfront projects. Ultimately, we were excited because we wholeheartedly believe in the City’s vision for the Riverfront and Downtown as community assets and regional attractions that will continue to spur further development.
This project provided some unique challenges. Building on a plot of land adjacent to the river that rises and falls several feet through the seasons made construction and engineering interesting, to say the least! A wet spring added to the complexities this year. Aside from physical challenges, there are a lot of jurisdictional and environmental concerns that must be properly addressed when working on the river. Various private and governmental agencies rightly have oversight and require approval for projects that touch our rivers, one of our most important natural assets. This definitely isn’t the typical urban design setting. At the end of the day, the complexities and challenges only make Promenade Park’s successful completion that much more satisfying!
Much of the excitement of design and planning is in finding unique solutions to unique problems. There are many exciting features within Promenade Park that were the result of the unique site and program constraints. Additionally, all of the small design decisions must be made in alignment with an overall vision, so that the park feels like a cohesive and well-thought-out whole. One of the key design drivers that we are most excited about is the accessibility of this park to all of Fort Wayne, regardless of ability. Creating a community asset that truly serves the community was a key aspirational and functional goal. It was also exciting and rewarding to see the community, City, and Parks Department come together to support the development of this important first phase of the Riverfront. Without the help of hundreds of people, many of them volunteers, a project like this could never have been brought to life.
Our rivers are a fantastic natural resource that really enhances our quality of life. Promenade Park will provide physical and emotional access to our downtown rivers, and perhaps lead our community to explore more of the natural assets unique to our region. As a connection between the natural environment and the urban environment, we hope Promenade Park can be a meaningful example of the connection between the architecture and nature. So, to friends, family, and peers, the main message is…meet us at the Riverfront!
Ron Dick, Principal and Architect, Design Collaborative
Rachel Vedder, Architect and Project Manager, Design Collaborative
Design Collaborative, the architect of record for Promenade Park, worked on this project as part of Riverworks Design Group, which includes Forum Studio, Engineering Resources, Hoch Associates and One Lucky Guitar.
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