On the banks of the Maumee : transforming an urban wasteland into an innovative, sustainable park

Thumbnail Image
Stout, Patrick T.
Marlow, Christopher M.
Motloch, John L.
Yigit-Turan, Burcu
Issue Date
Thesis (B.L.A.)
College of Architecture and Planning
Other Identifiers

The project examined a greyfield site just outside of the downtown district in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Because of its location along the Maumee River, the riverfront land is outlined in the comprehensive plan for Allen County to ‘redevelop and celebrate the three river’s waterfronts.’ The site’s previous state was one of disconnect to the surrounding communities. The designer examined how this site could become a connecting hub for the neighborhoods and create strong social and cultural ties. In order to provide an alternative, unique park experience that was more than ball diamonds and open grasslands, there needed to be a focus on active engagement with the environment through spaces such as learning landscapes, research labs, and sustainable technology development. The southern portion of the site was analyzed as being the least likely to flood, even though its original label was stated as being in the floodway. One building on the site was reused to aid in the preservation of the site’s industrial character and acted as a community center. Other structures included satellite research labs for students actively involved in new courses offered at the nearby Indiana Tech University. A few small, start-up sustainable technology companies were to occupy incubator spaces that worked in conjunction with the college students as new, innovative designs were introduced and applied into the landscape. The inspiration for the park space on the site’s northern portion was a direct result of the ecology that once inhabited the region before industrialization. Marshlands were recreated to educate children within the learning landscape, as they also interacted with these new sustainable developments. The lowlands of the marsh were designed in a way to circulate the flood waters as they rise in the spring, still leaving access to the educational spaces and elevated paths. Such calibration and exposure between people and the environment will act as a positive reinforcement for community members where engagement and interactive experiences can take place for all.