- ASLA-NY Award for Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa
A 100,000-square-metre park that redresses social justice issues, reengineers the river and engages the community. This is the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa, designed by Civitas and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, proving that landscaping work can have a long-term positive effect on communities and on the environment.
The project by Civitas in Tampa is much more than just landscape design because it is located right in downtown Roberts City, once a thriving district for the West Tampa African-American community. It was razed in the 1960s to make way for a highway and “urban renewal” that included the park’s original iteration, which had never been accepted by the community who saw it as a disingenuous gift. The design team formed of Denver-based firm Civitas - already known to our readers for their St. Patrick's Island Park in Calgary (link) - and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture of New York were acutely aware of this issue, so they reached out to the neighbourhood leaders and stakeholders to find out what the local community really wanted and to make up for the decades they had spent being underserved.
These discussions led to the idea of an area with lots of infrastructures for sport and leisure, including a playground as well as basketball, tennis and football facilities, in addition to a revitalised connection with the river.
This connection is expressed on the one hand with the boathouse and water sports centre, - the River Center - designed by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and on the other by a safe area of water for water sports, surrounded by a pedestrian wharf and gathering place where the community can sit and watch what's happening on the river. In order to create this, the Civitas architects reengineered the river itself, relocating the existing seawall and establishing a long, floating dock to provide comfortable water access.
This had a hugely positive impact on the community, bringing to life Tampa Mayor’s mission to re-identify the Hillsborough River as the centre of Tampa’s urban core. “For the first time in decades, the people of West Tampa have access to the water, to boating and a myriad of new play in the park,” says Mark Johnson, founder of Civitas.
The art installation "Form of Wander" by Marc Fornes and THEVERYMANY provides shade and a cultural destination on the pier for park-goers.
Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa has been a much-used source of joy and inspiration for the community since it opened last summer. It attracts all sorts of different users who are happy with the new connection between the people and the river, which also helps raise the quality of living in the zone. The work of Civitas with W Architecture and Landscape Architecture has also been officially recognised as the winner of a 2019 Design Award presented by the American Society of Landscape Architects, New York (ASLA-NY) in a ceremony on 11 April 2019.
Landscaping: Civitas - http://civitasinc.com/
Planning River Center: W Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Locations; West-Tampa, Florida, USA
Images: Albert Vecerka, Civitas