Des Moines Water Works, working in partnership with Iowa State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture, is excited to announce the launch of “Parkitecture,” an international design competition for Water Works Park. The competition, aptly named for its emphasis on the role landscape architecture and design play in re‐envisioning Water Works Park, will seek proposals from professional designers and will offer students the opportunity to submit design concepts in an honorarium category. Water Works Park, a 1,500‐acre park in the heart of Des Moines, has provided the main water supply for the city since the early 1900s and is a major component of the city’s open space system and trail network.
“The goal of the design competition is to draw awareness to the rich identity of Water Works Park and the value of the Raccoon River in serving the needs of Central Iowans,” said Ted Corrigan, Director of Water Distribution and Grounds for Des Moines Water Works. “The competition is intended to generate discussion about watershed issues and best practices and offer innovative design solutions to address ecological and recreational challenges specific to Water Works Park” (e.g., prone to frequent flooding)” he said. Through this visioning process, Des Moines Water Works would like to:
- Limit the impact of flooding on park features
- Restore the character of the Arie den Boer Crabapple Arboretum
- Provide opportunities for memorials and donations to the park
- Enhance vehicular and pedestrian circulation in the park and provide a visually appealing experience for both
- Improve parking throughout the site
- Separate park and operational activities, and
- Enhance the entrance to the park
What makes this design competition even more notable is DMWW’s partnership with Iowa State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Faculty and students provided much of the research and work to develop the competition through a service learning curriculum. Thirty‐two Iowa State University students in the Landscape Architecture 401 Professional Practice course, taught by Associate Professor Carl Rogers, worked this past spring semester to collect current and historical site information on Water Works Park and develop the competition brief. They also designed the website for registration and proposal submission.
“The partnership between the Department of Landscape Architecture and Des Moines Water Works has enabled landscape architecture students to learn first‐hand how a design project is conceived from the perspective of both the client and the user,” Rogers said. “The design competition will showcase the park and provide Des Moines Water Works and the City of Des Moines a new perspective of the role the park plays in the form of the city,” he said.
More details about the design competition can be found at http://parkitecture.design.iastate.edu.
Tell us what you think…what elements or ideas do you have that you’d like to see woven into the redesign of Water Works Park?