BEALE STREET LANDING
MEMPHIS, TN, USA
CLIENT Riverfront Development Corp / SIZE 5 acres / 20,235 m2 / STATUS Completed 2015 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / RTN Architects / Bounds & Gillepsie Architects / Consulmar / L'Observatoire International PHOTO CREDIT Aeria Innovation
A twenty-five-foot bluff rises from a once busy commercial harbor in Memphis' old downtown, which, like many American waterfront cities, historically turned its back on the river that was once its lifeblood.
Balmori Associate’s design consists of a series of level, landscaped islands formed in the terraced slope of the river’s edge, highlighting the tidal changes at the river’s edge, which can exceed forty feet. The intent of the design was for public space to interact with the changing levels of the river. The islands are each planted with a distinct native plant community of Western Tennessee, strategically corresponding to the fluctuating levels of water inundation. Water collected on site is filtered and cleaned through vegetated terraces and then stored in a cistern for reuse in irrigation. Each island creates a unique public space, including a river overlook, a children’s play area, a performance space and wetland gardens, choreographed with the changes in The Mississippi River.
The five-acre riverfront park is the departure and arrival point for thousands of river travelers and will provide a destination point for individuals and groups to celebrate the spot where the world’s most powerful river engages the home of the blues.