San Francisco Bay Area Design Team awarded Second Place in the Sacramento Capitol Mall Design Competition
The interdisciplinary team consisted of architectural designers Geoffrey Barton and Virginia Alexander, urban designer Lou Huang, and landscape designer Darryl Jones.
Three of the competition team members received degrees from NC State University College of Design and are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Virginia Alexander (M.Arch 2009) currently works as a designer at San Francisco architecture firm, David Baker + Partners. Geoffrey Barton (M.Arch 2009) is a designer at Van Meter Williams Pollack in San Francisco. Darryl Jones (B.A. Landscape Architecture 2008 ) is a MLA Candidate at UC-Berkeley. Lou Huang graduated with a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 and is an urban designer at Van Meter Williams Pollack.
The City of Sacramento, in partnership with the American Institute of Architects Central Valley, launched a design competition for Capitol Mall on Tuesday. Catalyst is an open ideas competition that is seeking forward-thinking, innovative and implementable urban and architectural designs for the Capitol Mall corridor of Downtown Sacramento – the 6-block boulevard between California’s State Capitol building and the iconic Tower Bridge over the Sacramento River.
The start of Catalyst marks the beginning of a three-month process that will deliver high caliber design proposals to reinvent Capitol Mall. “The ideas that will result from this competition have the potential to set in motion a transformation that reflects the unique beauty and bold spirit of the Sacramento region and of California,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “Capitol Mall has the potential to be a real asset to our region and state – an inviting and exciting destination to visit and enjoy.”
River City Promenade brings brings people back to the Mall with three principles in mind: to activate the edges of the mall, frame the view of the Capitol, and to direct visitors down a path from the river to the Capitol building. By amplifying the existing assets, the design creates a unique experience that resonates with Sacramento citizens and visitors alike. The civic space prioritizes dynamic gathering spaces for the pedestrian, while emphasizing the formal grandeur of the Capitol Mall through episodic framed views along the progression.
The six block boulevard is broken down into a sequence of three pedestrian zones, each with a distinct character, to engage the pedestrian along a varied and dynamic path from the Tower Bridge to the Capitol building. The “promenade” begins with an elevated park over the freeway that connects to Old Sacramento, a dense tree canopy which progresses into the central event space, a transit plaza with amenities for commuters/visitors, and finally, a formal plaza at the foot of the Capitol building. Strategies to activate the space include removing a lane of traffic in each direction, removing curbs, encouraging food trucks and other periodic events, and infilling buildings to create a better street edge. As the city lacks funds to implement large projects, each component of the Promenade plan can be implemented separately until the final space is realized.