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2010 INSTITUTE HONOR AWARDS FOR REGIONAL AND URBAN DESIGN RECIPIENT

Architecture

 

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Interior Architecture

 

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Regional & Urban Design

Connections: MacArthur Park District Master Plan


Photo 1 of 7

Notes of Interest

Like waterfronts and transit stops, parks leverage value in urban areas. While much recent attention has been given to the signature mega-park, the value of the small-scale neighborhood park in reinventing the city has been overlooked. Once connecting neighborhoods of differing character, and sponsoring more than 80 residential structures along its edges, the historic MacArthur Park at the edge of downtown Little Rock is radically underutilized as an urban neighborhood asset. Severed from its neighborhoods along two edges by interstate construction in the 1960s, this moribund 40-acre municipal park is left with only 16 residential structures along its frontage. The planning concept optimizes the park’s latent economic, environmental, and social potential through improvements to the district’s neighborhood infrastructure, enhancing the delivery of ecological and urban services. This counters the greatest ongoing threat to MacArthur Park District’s irreplaceable legacy--incompatible low-density, suburban-type development that fails to define street edges, and is inherently cynical of the city. The planning goal is to align the park’s capacity to sponsor denser and higher quality mixed-use housing fabric throughout the district with improvements to the park grounds. Rather than treat MacArthur Park as a discrete project, planning for the district’s four neighborhoods extends the park’s landscape into a larger urban landscape network with MacArthur Park as the anchor.

Architect

Conway+Schulte Architects

   

Owner

City of Little Rock, Parks and Recreation

   

Location

Little Rock

ADDITIONAL CREDITS

Associate Firm

University of Arkansas Community Design Center

   

Consultant

University of Arkansas Little Rock Urban Studies
Donjek Public Finance

   

Engineer

McClelland Consulting Engineers

   

Landscape Architect

Oslund and Associates

   

Photo Credit

© Conway+Schulte Architects


JURY COMMENTS

Connecting a historically
residential area of Little Rock in a
way that also extends the park
beyond its highway-induced
isolation, this is an excellent
endeavor to mitigate the effects of
other-scaled urban infrastructures
and use connective landscape
amenities to enhance the quality of
the urban experience and “eyes
on-the-street” security. Great
connections back into the city
recognize that the edges of the
park provide an excellent
transition from the harder
highway zones to the softer human
center of the park. This set of
solutions is not only an excellent
specific case, it is also a
transferable approach to urban
reconstruction. Between the public
art and an iconic bridge, there is a
variety of public space that is very
well done. With a variety of
different scales working from the
under-used edge to the larger
center, this is an Olmsted
landscape idea nicely achieved.


2010 INSTITUTE HONOR AWARDS FOR REGIONAL AND URBAN DESIGN JURY


John F. Torti, FAIA (Chair)
Torti Gallas & Partners, Inc.
Silver Spring, Maryland

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA
Lance Jay Brown Architecture & Urban Design
New York City

Brenda Scheer, AIA
University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Salt Lake City

Edward K. Uhlir, FAIA
Uhlir Consulting, LLC
Chicago

Debby Wieneke
Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas

 

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