In the recently concluded “Shore to Core” design + research competition, architects everywhere were invited to create adaptive design concepts for Florida’s West Palm Beach waterfront in the coming decades. Organized by the Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the competition sought a winning proposal that would serve as a “vision board” to help the city adapt and make the most of their waterfront, in response to the city’s evolving populations, economy, and natural environment.
Out of over 40 teams and public input, Ecosistema Urbano ultimately won the competition with their concept “Open Shore”, while the Happier by Design collective (Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans and Space Syntax) was named the Research category winner. Perkins+Will scored the runner-up title with “Adapt to Thrive”. Van Alen published key findings from all three proposals.
Ecosistema Urbano will present their proposal to the WPB CRA board this month. The CRA board will identify priority projects within the Banyan Garage and downtown alleyways, and then start a contract with the firm. This will be followed by community outreach about individual project elements that are scheduled for possible implementation in late 2017 or early 2018.
Check out the top three proposals below.
Winner: “Open Shore” by Ecosistema Urbano
Project summary: “Ecosistema Urbano’s winning design answers Shore to Core’s call for a comprehensive, forward-thinking urban plan to make West Palm Beach’s waterfront a year-round destination for locals and visitors alike. The proposal includes what could be the first public bioclimatic domes in the U.S. adorned with hanging gardens. These domes create climatically comfortable spaces 365 days a year, thereby supporting a more socially cohesive city.
The proposal also illustrates how the city’s Banyan Garage could be upcycled into a mixed-use building with both public- and private-sector roles featuring adaptive climates suitable for a range of activities, including a farmers market, coworking spaces, and skyline viewing platforms. Additional amenities include vibrant thematic alleyways—with such features as a rock climbing wall, interactive exhibition space, and immersive foliage—that harness the cultural values and experiences unique to West Palm Beach, while also providing shade and introducing new elevated programming spaces.” Full proposal
Research winner: Happier by Design (Happy City, Street Plans Collaborative, the University of Virginia and Space Syntax)
Project description: “The Happier by Design experiment was a collaboration between Happy City, Street Plans Collaborative, the University of Virginia and Space Syntax.
The waterfront intervention was designed to invoke feelings of soft fascination, curiosity and being away from everyday life (together we call these restorative fascination). The intervention also provided elements of comfort in order to allow people the ease to linger and focus their attention on these restorative elements.
At the heart of the intervention were ‘Fascination frames’ — picture frames fitted with translucent images of waterfront scenes from the early 20th century. These were designed to provoke fascination and curiosity, reminding visitors of the aesthetic and cultural history of the waterfront.” Full proposal
Design Finalist: “Adapt to Thrive” by Perkins + Will
Project description: “Rethinking the City’s premier cultural open spaces – Great Lawn, Amphitheater and waterfront – into one, integrated Great Waterfront Park experience by expanding and connecting the individual spaces into one continuous pedestrian oriented waterfront public space.
Transforming the outdated Banyan Street parking garage and adjacent back-of-house service alley into a new civic building with a shared, open, active public space.
Creating new opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with the water – including boardwalks, pavilions, dining, entertainment, additional day docking opportunities, etc.
Forming a new relationship between the city and the water by replacing the hard, straight-edge concrete bulkhead with a more organic, natural solution that creates a variety of new, interesting opportunities to enjoy the water.” Full proposal