Historically, the Mississippi River was held in high esteem due to its influence on the economic and industrial fields, as well as its soothing spiritual qualities. As the water grew to become more polluted, residents lost their strong connection to the water and had little desire to occupy the waterfront. Upon recognizing the potential the land still has to offer, a group of undergraduate students from the University of Minnesota have designed 30 different ideas that will revitalize the waterfront and infuse it, once again, with life and energy.
Originally compiled in a book, the Imagine the Mississippi proposals are also on public display at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis and aim to “to spur social discourse surrounding what could be one of the most compelling and vibrant riverfronts in the world.”
More information about specific proposals and more images after the break.
Although all 30 proposals focus on the area between Boom Island in the north and the University of Minnesota campus in the south, each offers a fresh opinion of what could be done to activate the riverfront.
One proposal tackles the only natural waterfall in the river’s entire 2,340 mile length, St. Anthony Falls. Back in the 1880s, a concrete overflow spillway, commonly called an apron, was added to the falls to stop the recession of the limestone shelf. This vision proposes an addition of a ledge on top of the apron, bringing people up close to the falling water. Sheltered by the concrete apron, people can watch as the water turns to fall vertically right over their heads.
Another vision is the combination of a proposal for an upper lock pool and a freshwater aquarium. In the summer, visitors can enjoy taking a swim in a large public pool, high over the river gorge. And, in the winter, the pool is transformed into a great ice skating rink. Right below the pool, an interactive freshwater aquarium houses aquatic species native to Minnesota’s rivers and lakes in different cylindrical tanks. The two visions are tied perfectly together through skylights that allow visitors to view swimmers in the pool above, almost as though they are fish in an aquarium.
We’re always excited to share student work and be on the look out for more of their Imagine the Mississippi proposals which we will be featuring on AD in the upcoming days.