Call for Entries: Envision 30 Crossing

Call for Entries: Envision 30 Crossing

Architecture Competition: Call for Entries: Envision 30 Crossing

30 Crossing is the largest and most expensive project that the Arkansas Department of Transportation has ever undertaken. It affects many communities but has an enormous impact on the urban fabric of downtown Little Rock. This competition is intended to bring focus on how the interstate highway interacts with the city and provide visionary ideas which can influence, or affect, the future design of how our city responds to the highway.

When completed, the interstate improvements will result in a dramatically different landscape presenting many challenges as well as opportunities for redevelopment. An expansive 20-acre open space partially covered by the new interstate, and restricted to the development of parks, recreation, and vehicular amenities will fill the void previously occupied by the interstate on and off-ramps. Envision 30-Crossing will challenge designers to create solutions to the impacts of the 30-Crossing project on pedestrian connectivity, greenspace programming, supporting adjacent economic activity, and activating a new public space beneath the interstate. The design competition will be an opportunity for interested creatives to provide visionary ideas of how to activate these areas and create an iconic place for the City of Little Rock.

Design Challenge:
The proposed competition site is the former spiral on/off ramps from downtown Little Rock to the I-30 exchange just south of the Arkansas River. As part of the 30-crossing project, the spiral ramps will be removed and an unprogrammed 20-acre vacant space will remain. The site is adjacent to many cultural institutions including the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and School, Heifer International, Historic Arkansas Museum, the Little Rock River Market, Museum of Discovery, Arkansas Game and Fish Nature Center, and many other organizations and businesses that are critical to the identity of downtown Little Rock. The proposed designs should address the green space and how it responds to its immediate context.

The competition site is one of the most visible and highly trafficked areas in Arkansas. Currently, the property will continue to be owned by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDoT). This ownership structure will not allow for the construction of permanently occupied structures. Therefore, we encourage any design entries to focus on improved park space with smaller or temporary structures. A permanent building will not be disqualified, as the opportunity for construction may one day be negotiated with ARDoT, but the intent of the competition is to generate ideas and influence future improvements under the current ownership constraints.

Designs should consider connections to all the cultural, business, and residential areas adjacent to the site. They should also take care to focus on the larger connections to the Arkansas River Trail, downtown pedestrian infrastructure, adjacency to the Arkansas River, and how the space can improve the experience of traveling on Interstate 30 through Little Rock.

An important aspect of the design will be developing a scheme to connect the overall space that will initially be divided by the street grid and overhead highway. Due to existing legal and physical infrastructure, the green space cannot yet be combined into an uninterrupted space. The competition judges will be evaluating team approaches to creative ways to unify the space and allow users to travel safely even as it is divided by active city streets and the underside of a dark and noisy interstate.

The design should account for real-world urban issues such as traffic, parking, homelessness, trash, and multi-modal transportation. Entries will be judged on the flexibility of the design to accommodate multiple uses including, but not limited to: a quiet restful space, an active sports space, an entertainment venue, and a place for all diverse citizens of the city.

The competition offers the opportunity for individuals, firms, and multidisciplinary teams to engage in a challenging exercise in responsible land use and urban re-development.

Download the information related to this competition here.

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