- Return to the river: Crescent Park, New Orleans Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
A return to the Mississippi River for the city of New Orleans, sparked by Hurricane Katrina which struck the city in August 2005, causing so much damage and heartbreak. With a view to reconstructing this resilient city, also considering future weather events, the Crescent Park project is part of an extensive master plan that envisages a new and greener future for New Orleans and its riverfront. As the city's first new riverfront park in 30 years, it is a response to the city's need to reclaim its sense of place and origin, to remember its industrial and maritime past, and to give locals and visitors a new resource.
Crescent Park is the result of the collaboration of a team of renowned design firms under the leadership of the architects from Eskew+Dumez+Ripple with Hargreaves Associates (Landscape), Adjaye Associates (Piety Wharf & Bridge) and Michael Maltzan Associates (Mandeville Wharf & Bridge). It was designed to celebrate the history of New Orleans and its relationship with the Mississippi. So, the team turned a 2.25-km linear maritime/industrial brownfield strip along a bend in the river into 81,000 square metres of indigenous landscaping, a network of paths suitable for walking, jogging, and biking; picnic areas, a dog park, and the adaptive reuse of two industrial wharves for public gatherings, festivals and the host of artistic exhibitions that take place throughout the year. The park gives unparalleled physical and visual access to the river, creating an environment for locals and visitors to interact and promote a healthy, active lifestyle with unrivalled vistas of the city skyline and the picturesque Crescent City Connection Bridge.
The design team's approach emphasises a delicate balance of layering old and new, striving not to compromise the allure and poetic ruin of post-industrialisation decay and flood infrastructure that characterise this part of the city. So, the lines of the defunct railroad tracks are the foundation of all the pathways in the park. Though still separated from the Marigny and Bywater neighbourhoods via an active rail corridor and flood wall, the site identifies the intersections of the main promenade with the historic street grid. Each intersection is highlighted by a large slab of concrete bearing the street name. This is a simple but effective means of helping visitors find their way while inviting them to sit and enjoy their surroundings and this new connection with the river.
With Crescent Park, by reconnecting to the Mississippi, New Orleans is following the trend of many world-class cities to rediscover their rivers. An opportunity to revive and improve the natural environment to boost local resilience through the benefits of a return to nature in all its spectacular splendour. At the same time, celebrating the community by giving them new places to meet and gather, and with this, new stimulus to get out and about.
Project: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Team
Mark Ripple, Principal-in-Charge
Amanda Rivera, Project Manager
Allen Eskew, Principal-in-Charge
Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Executive Architect / Architect of Record
Hargreaves Associates, Landscape Architect & Design Lead
Adjaye Associates, Design Architect (Piety Wharf & Bridge)
Michael Maltzan Associates, Design Architect (Mandeville Wharf & Bridge)
Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, Urban Design
Kulkarni Consultants, Structural Engineering
Lucien T. Vivien Jr. & Associates, MEP Engineering
St. Martin Brown & Associates, Associate Architect
Johanna Leibe & Associates, Associate Landscape Architect
Lam Partners PHA Lighting Design, Lighting Design
Urban Systems, Traffic Engineering
C.P. O’Halloran Associates Inc., Cost Estimating
Location: New Orleans, USA
Photographer: Timothy Hursley