Marshall Street Riverfront Park
The site design at the Michael P. Schmidt Center (MPSC) uses beautiful and efficient plant and hardscape materials to reflect the Mississippi River ecology and respond to the industrial heritage of the Marshall Street site. The site is defined by the duality of its relationship of river to city, a characteristic which the design embraces by leveraging existing infrastructure and open space to provide a 21st century park that performs through both function and experience. The design reveals the site’s history and place in the city while embracing the standing complexities in order to build upon the resilience of the site.
The design employs native plants suitable for the Site with the intent of performing specific environmental functions. The scope of the project includes removing 10,404 sq. ft. of existing asphalt to replace with native vegetation. Currently non-native turf grasses and invasive understory constitute 38% of the Site. Upon project completion, 51% of the Site will be vegetated with native grasses, shrubs and trees. Select plants will be utilized for pollution control on existing contaminated soils via phytoremediation and associated maintenance plan. Select planted areas will function as biofilter strips to reduce the impact of surface runoff and the subsequent pollutants carried with the runoff. Erosion control where necessary will be utilized to protect the shoreline and augment habitat. There are 96 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) identified within this region of the Mississippi River; the design’s vegetation and grading will enhance the habitat for these species as well as other indigenous populations.
The design intends to maintain all site soils on Site, balancing cut and fill. Existing contaminated soils will be separated and treated through the use of plants that mitigate the identified contaminants without the need to remove the contaminant material and dispose of at a hazardous landfill. The use of these Phytoremediation techniques will directly address contaminated soils beneath the removed asphalt parking lot. The contaminated soils will be mounded approximately 5’ tall so that visitors can see the phytoremediation area in conjunction with unobtrusive, educational signage that speaks to the muli-variant benefits of phytoremediation. Poplars and native grasses including Schizachyrium scoparium, Panicum virgatum, Bouteloua curtipendula, and Sorghastrum nutans are specified for their ability to remove pollutants from soils. Furthermore, demolition debris from the building will be reused to fill the gabion walls where appropriate. In specific instances, the demolition debris will be exposed for educational purposes with visitors.
Educational signage created in conjunction with the University of Minnesota will diagram and narrate the performative environmental processes on Site including phytoremediation and stormwater biofiltration. Additionally, signage will illuminate the industrial heritage of the Site in comparison with the Mississippi River’s significant economic, ecological, and cultural relevance. The signage provides a destination for education in order to foster a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for the greater community and tourists.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Collaboration: SALA Architects, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board
COEN + PARTNERS WINS THE 2015 SMITHSONIAN COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD
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