Category: Open Space
Project Name: Curtis Hixon
Location: Tampa FL 33602
Thomas Balsley Associates: Lead
Landscape Architect of Record - (www.rsandh.com)
Owner: City of Tampa - Parks and Recreation
Bayor – Director , Karla Price, ASLA – Project Manager
Contractor: Skanska USA
At a major
gateway to the city, this 6-acre park sits at the crossroads of river, downtown
commercial and residential, and a cultural district. Flanked by Kiley Park one
storey above grade, two new museums, the Riverwalk, and Ashley Street corridor,
the park enjoys a supremely strategic location for civic placemaking.
series of public charettes and stakeholder committees, a new urban design
vision (remove the old museum and parking garage), along with program and park
design emerged. This meaningful public outreach and participation has invested
the citizens of Tampa in their park and will ensure its sustained success.
It is a park
filled with activities, but also spaces into which one can retreat. Expansive
lawns, terraces, and slopes are filled with people. At the park’s center is the
Great Lawn. Framed by trees and scaled
to accommodate large and small events, it is anchored on either end by
distinctive fountain plazas that can become venues for larger festivals. The
design carves into the slope to reveal terraced lawn panels that spill down
from the museum terraces and garden promenade on the north edge. The southern
edge is activated by a linear park pavilion with restrooms, offices, café, and
a visitor center.
At the water’s edge, a future restaurant will command
unparalleled views of the park, river, and Kiley Park. Located along the Riverwalk and taking
their sculptural cues from the Museum of Art are the contemporary play area and
urban dog run. The louver and mist fountains at either end of the park,
designed to capture Tampa’s imagination while cooling its feet, are both
interactive but can be shut down for park events. Innovative lawn rafts, timber
lounge chairs, swivel concrete loungers, and picnic tables reflect a commitment
to 21st century comforts beyond the conventional bench.
is a perfect example of the full range of sustainability measures (social,
economic, environmental, and cultural) available to landscape architects. Here,
the team has adopted familiar measures, such as the use of native plantings,
greenwall, dark-sky initiative lighting, low-emission interactive water
feature, locally harvested building materials, pervious paving, and high albedo
paving; but also used the project as the city’s first pilot for a reclaimed
wastewater reclamation and treatment program. The team has demonstrated that
downtown parks can reverse the forces of sprawl into our natural environment.
overcame skeptical stakeholders whose memory of the failed site was fresh.
Careful research and sensitive client education was required to push the
visions and possibilities beyond the ordinary. The team embarked upon an
extensive reshuffling of program and urban context to maximize the park’s
active nature. The park’s success came with the designer’s fusion of rich
design concepts and complex urban design initiatives.
Why is this
space so special? It has touched the lives of thousands and become the "center”
in which they meet and celebrate and to which they point with pride. The power
of this place is that it can be many places; pastoral lawn and intimate seating
niches one day, concert or festival for 10,000 the next, all while being
Tampa’s "here”. It has sparked the public’s imagination and even caused enough
envy to inspire neighboring cities like St. Petersburg to do the same. This can
be the prototype for other low profile small to mid-size urban centers to
nurture their citizens with a new sustainable lifestyle and with landscape
architects at the lead.
Lead Designer: Thomas
Balsley, FASLA - Thomas Balsley
Landscape Architect: Ron Sill, ASLA
Karamitsanis - Lighthouse Advisors
Contractor: Andy Johnson - Valley Crest
Pavilion and Park Comfort Station: Albert E.
Alfonso, AIA - Alfonso Architects
Children’s Museum: John J.
Curran, Jr., AIA - Gould Evans
Designer: Barbara Cianci
Horton - Horton Lees Brogden Lighting
Civil Engineer: Hamid Sahebkar, PE - Stantec
M/E/P Engineer: Adriel Mercado - TLC Engineering
Engineer: Richard Temple,
PE - Walter P. Moore
McIntyre - Moffatt & Nichol
Tampa Museum of Art: Stanley
Saitowitz, AIA –
Saitowitz / Natoma Architects, Inc.
Manager: Chuck Jablon - Skanska USA