Hermas Development


Hermas Development

CLIENT Hermas Development Company / SIZE 10. 000 m2 / STATUS Under Construction / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates / One Lux Studio

The Hermas Development will feature four office buildings organized around a central courtyard. Each building has retail on the ground floor, nine office floors, and a tenth roof level amenities connecting all four buildings. The roof level amenities house the Al Kamal headquarters, a Spa, Gymnasium and a restaurant for fine dining. Sitting on a site area of 15,220 m2 and rising 47 meters in height Hermas Development will be LEED Certified and have a 5 star QSAS rating.  

An Islamic pattern is reinterpreted through the site.  Modified, scaled, simplified, the pattern becomes at times the layout of the courtyard, at others, a paving pattern, the edge of the water feature, and benches.

The shade, the sound of the water, the vegetation and the color palette will provide a sense respite and freshness as soon as one enters the courtyard. Materials with warm colors are selected for the streetscape and cool color ones such as greens and greys for the courtyard.

The planting palette for the courtyard showcases native tall vertical palms and acacias well-known for their horizontal canopy. The sun study of the courtyard maps areas of sun exposure suitable for planting trees, and consequently where the earth berms up to allow for planting depth.

The terraces on the 4th and 10th floors feature pixel like planters allowing for more intimate spaces where one can sit alone or in a small gathering. The terraces of the 4th floor have a white, a red, a blue and a yellow garden; the ones on the 10th floor have a scent garden, an edible garden and an orange grove. The vegetated roof of the 9th floor displays arabesques of sedums.

TBD: Grow With the Flow

2018 - Pittsburgh, PA

TBD: Grow With the Flow

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

CLIENT Riverlife PA / SIZE 0.17 acres / 697m2 / STATUS 2018 Finalist / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates


OCCUPY FORT DUQUESNE       How can this urban void located under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge overpass become a public space? Shaping the space to balance flexibility while giving an identity and sense of place stipulated the reinvention of a new design language.

1,000 to 3,000 milk crates turned up to be the perfect tool: They are modular and offer many layout configurations. They are comfortable: one can sit on it, lounge on it. They are flexible: they become furniture, construction blocks. They are stackable, easy to put away. They are light and can be moved around easily.  They are inexpensive.  They are playful and interactive. They are durable. They are desirable. We propose a ‘Second Life’ program that encourages the community to take this highly coveted module and transform it according to their needs... And they are yellow and refer to the iconic Aztec gold color that defines Pittsburgh.

CELEBRATE THE RIVERS       2018 marks the 260 year anniversary of Pittsburgh. This summer, let’s celebrate the rivers! Our scheme responds to the fluctuations of the river and uses flood as leverage for design. 
When the site floods the crates equipped with flotation devices lifts up and stays dry until the water recedes leaving a trace of the river. This presents a playful spectacle on site while keeping the maintenance after flood to a minimum. Grow With The Flow memorializes the floods with the tallest bridge column bearing the marks of the past 100 years floods – from the 46ft mark of the Great St. Patrick Day flood of 1936 to the 2005 flood. 

REVEAL NATURE’S FORCE       The bathymetric map reveals the topography of the riverbed invisible to us at the water edge. We propose to extend theses contours onto TBD site, softening the hard edge of the river while reminding users that the river occupies the site occasionally. 
The 2-dimensional representation of topography is traced with blue temperature sensitive paint that transitions into yellow at a specific temperature threshold. The thermochromic paint’s immediate and interactive process captures nature’s lack of fixity. The contour lines render the concept of landscape as part of an interconnected system, which extends and connects to other systems around it. Grow With The Flow aims to reestablish our relationship with nature.


This project included a public engagement stage. Our main objective was to understand better the relationship between people and the Allegheny River to advocate for a better relationship between people, other living things, cities and larger natural systems.

New Government City

Sejong, South Korea

New Government City

Sejong, South Korea

CLIENT Multi-functional Administrative City Construction Agency of Korea / SIZE 667 acres / 2,700,000 m2 /STATUS Competition - 1st Place 2007, 1st Phase Completed 2012, 2nd Phase Completed 2014  / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / H Associates / Haeahn Architecture / PHOTO CREDIT Efrain Mendez, archframe.net

This is a project that took a modest idea, that of green roofs as a public spaces and converted them into the generating idea for shaping a whole city. The four kilometer continuous connecting surface uniting ministries transforms the understanding of public space which here becomes the generator of the architectural form and is completely integrated into the architecture.

The design of the Master Plan for South Korea’s new administrative city. Sejong City, some 90 miles south of Seoul, will be home to 36 ministries currently located in or near Seoul. This project was won in an international competition and is now under construction. 

Three concepts ruled its overall definition:

FLAT CITY: The iconic plane--the physical and conceptual datum of aligned building rooftops--symbolizes the interconnected unity and democratic nature of the people and the government.

LINK CITY: Physical and visual linkages are created between the government and the people, the urban and the natural, the ground and the sky.

ZERO WASTE CITY: We created a strategy for the model city development that is based on zero waste principles. All waste from one system becomes the food for another. The third, Zero Waste City was not carried out.

New Asian Cities Pursue Sustainable Design, Architectural Record
Asian Cities Go Green, Bloomberg Businessweek
City’s Evolution Offers Lessons in Korean Politics, New York Times

SEJONG, KOREA, MPPAT (Masterplan for Public Administration Town)

Abandoibarra Masterplan




CLIENT Sociedad Bilbao Ria 2000 / SIZE 74 acres / 300,000 m2 STATUS Design Completed 1996 / Construction Completed 2012 DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / Eugenio Aguinaga PHOTO CREDIT Bilbao Ria 2000 / Efrain Mendez, archframe.net

2012 marks the completion of Balmori Associates’ Master Plan for Abandoibarra. For the past twenty years, Bilbao has reinvented itself by regenerating important sections of the city affected by the industrial crisis of the 1980’s.  One of those former industrial areas is a derelict harbor in the center of Bilbao called Abandoibarra.

The Abandoibarra Master Plan was drawn by Balmori Associates, Cesar Pelli and Eugenio Aguinaga in 1998 (winner of an international competition). Balmori Associates created park guidelines and designed all open space, streets, sidewalks and plazas, placing emphasis on expanding the amount of green space in the city and incorporating sustainable design practices. Two-thirds of the Master Plan area are dedicated to parks and open space.

Today, what was once a high-speed roadway, has been turned into a boulevard with multiple pedestrian crossings and a light rail now connects the two main cultural centers of the development: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum and the city’s opera house. Running on wide swaths of green lawn, this rail line gives continuity to green space. For the river edge, Balmori proposed a linear park, Parque de la Ribera. This new promenade, no less than thirty meters in width, is treated as a longitudinal space at two levels. The half nearest to the water proposes the pier’s rehabilitation, maintaining the existing dialogue between both shores. The inside half, which is located at the 6m level, concurs with the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum. In 2005 this section of the Master Plan received the Special Award ‘Città d’Acqua’ of the Biennale di Venezia for Best Project. In 2003, Balmori Associates was commissioned the designed of Plaza Euskadi and in 2007, together with RTN Architect, won an international competition to design Campa de los Ingleses Park also located in Abandoibarra.


2015 - Brooklyn, NY, USA



SIZE 125.7 square feet / STATUS Completed 2015 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates

GrowOnUs Floating Landscape in the Gowanus Canal

An experiment to clean water through phytoremediation, desalination and rainwater collection to irrigate productive floating gardens.

Balmori Associates has designed, fabricated and is launching a floating landscape in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States. The floating infrastructure is one in a series of projects Balmori has designed to act as sponges that filter and clean water and provide wildlife habitats in the city. Floating infrastructures can adapt to and address rising seas.

GrowOnUs, an experiment in floating infrastructure was launched on Friday September 18 at 11am at the Third Street Bridge in Brooklyn, NY.

The project was funded through a $20,000 grant Balmori Associates and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy received from the Cornelia & Michael Bessie Foundation to research and create a floating productive garden in the Gowanus Canal. Once a hub for maritime and commercial activity, the Gowanus Canal has captured industrial waste products from factories located along its banks; and during heavy storms, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) bring not only stormwater to the canal but also untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris.

GrowOnUs transforms metal culvert pipe into planters. These are the same pipes used to bring the polluted runoff and sewage waste to the canal. Each of the 54 test tubes isolate different experiments in plants (over 30 plants selected for phytoremediation and natural dye production), various watering conditions (clean water through phytoremediation, desalinate canal brackish water through evaporation and condensation and collect rainwater), as well as a variety of buoyant construction materials (coconut fibers, bamboo, mycelium, and matrix of recycled plastic.)

GrowOnUs will be monitored to study the viability of producing large scale edible floating landscapes in cities with polluted rivers. It will also further explore other functions with urban potential as a multi-functional green infrastructure: shoreline protection, biodiverse habitats, energy production, and public space.

Diana Balmori, discussing the project commented: ‘We have pioneered floating landscapes, we now want to learn what can make these floating structures financially sustainable. Dr Michael Balick at the New York Botanical Garden suggested we grow herbs, low maintenance crops that can give a financial return given their price per volume. In a few years NYC restaurants may be serving meals and drinks infused with herbs grown on one of these islands.’

Similar to green roofs or linear parks in place of traffic medians, floating landscapes exist on the edges and underutilized spaces within cities. Whereas green roofs exist as an intersection between landscape and architecture, floating islands are a model of the interface and transitions between the river, the landscape and the city. 

Wall Street Journal
Next City
The Architect's Newspaper
News 12 Brooklyn
Fox 5 News
shift on MSNBC

GrowOnUs press release
GrowOnUs brochure

Grand Connection

2017 - Bellevue, WA, USA

Grand Connection

Bellevue, WA, USA

CLIENT City of Bellevue / SIZE 1.5 miles / STATUS 2017 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Mobility in Chain / Herrera / Knippers Helbig

The Grand Connection will provide a sweeping new vision for Bellevue. Envisioned as a signature urban experience and means of connectivity, the Grand Connection will become an identifiable element of Bellevue’s urban landscape.

Improved connectivity, urban amenities, and experiences will enhance Bellevue’s existing infrastructure within Downtown, while a signature and dynamic crossing over Interstate I-405 will usher in a new era and vision for Bellevue’s Wilburton Commercial Area.

As a long-term project, the Grand Connection will also incorporate smaller placemaking improvements that will “claim the corridor” and begin to establish the overall vision. In addition to improving aesthetics and placemaking, the Grand Connection will improve overall connectivity and safety for non-motorized transportation. Building upon the framework of the Pedestrian Corridor plan, the Grand Connection will sculpt and frame a new pedestrian and cyclist environment that embraces the urbanity of Downtown Bellevue.

While the visioning process assisted in establishing an exciting and transformational vision, it also sought to remain pragmatic, understanding the constraints of many places along the route. The visioning process was tasked with developing solutions for both the near and the long-term, creating goals and opportunities as Bellevue grows, while capitalizing on early wins and implementable strategies that are budget and time conscious.

The Grand Connection Visioning Framework Report contains a wide range of improvements for both the near and long term. It considers issues regarding mobility, public space, connectivity, and programming. These major ideas include:

• Distinct and unifying identity for the route
• Cohesive design strategies
• Improved connectivity and mobility
• Improved quality and experience of existing and future public spaces
• Pursuit of innovative and creative means of placemaking to create a unique urban experience
• A signature crossing to reconnect Downtown and the Wilburton Commercial Area
• Successful interfacing of the Interstate 405 crossing with the Eastside Rail Corridor
• Create a shared vision by stakeholders and the public
• Early Implementation Strategies

Hoboken: resist, delay, store, discharge


Hoboken: resist, delay, store, discharge


CLIENT US Department of Housing and Urban Development / Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force / Rebuild by Design / City of Hoboken / SIZE 735 acres / 300 ha / STATUS Competition Winner 2015 / DESIGN TEAM OMA / Balmori Associates / Royal Haskoning /  HR&A

Organized by Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, Rebuild by Design was a multistage regional design competition aimed at developing innovative projects to protect and enhance Sandy-affected communities. The OMA, Balmori Associates, Royal Haskoning, HR & A proposal Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge for Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken was awarded $230 million.

Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken are susceptible to both flash flood and storm surge. As integrated urban environments, discreet one-house-at-a-time solutions do not make sense. What is required is a comprehensive approach that acknowledges the density and complexity of the context, galvanizes a diverse community of beneficiaries, and defends the entire city. Our comprehensive urban water strategy deploys programmed hard infrastructure and soft landscape for coastal defense (resist); policy recommendations, guidelines, and urban infrastructure to slow rainwater runoff (delay); a circuit of interconnected green infrastructure to store and direct excess rainwater (store); and water pumps and alternative routes to support drainage (discharge).

Our approach is framed by a desire to understand and quantify flood risk. In doing so, we are better positioned to identify those opportunities that present the greatest impact, the best value, and the highest potential — our areas of focus. Our objectives are to manage water for both disaster and for long-term growth; enable reasonable flood insurance premiums through the potential redrawing of the FEMA flood zone; and deliver co-benefits that enhance our cities. These are replicable innovations that can help guide our communities on a sustainable path to living with water.

For the landscape team the project galvanized the ideas of the importance of the size of the unit to be protected, in this case the whole town of Hoboken, a small town, and let to the conclusion that units of a similar size were ideal sizes in which work, leading to rather less costly solutions.

Community Member's Outline Hoboken's Rebuild by Design Initiative
Promoting Resilience Through Innovative Planning and Design
Rebuild by Design Team
Final Proposal

Creation From Catastrophe: How Architecture Rebuilds Communities

New York Police Academy

2017 - NEW YORK, NY, USA



CLIENT NYC Department of Design and Construction / New York Police Academy / SIZE 35 acres / 14 ha / 1st Phase: 200,000 sq ft / STATUS Under Construction / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Perkins+Will / Michael Fieldman Architects

Three landscape systems define the organization of the NYPA: the muster courtyard, the drainage ditch and the perimeter landscape.  Each system is defined by specific programmatic attributes, but has been designed to tie the campus together as a whole.

The muster courtyard at the heart of the campus is defined by two elements in a field of decomposed granite: the muster and the garden. Framed by stately trees and light poles, the muster is also a flexible event space. At the main entrance to the campus is a regimented entry grove of 36 Tulip trees symbolizing a company (36 recruits). Formed by a series of linear sunken planters the grove allows for east west circulation. The badly named drainage ditch is an unusual feature for this type of project but praiseworthy in its achievements.

As a linear canal it bisects the Academy, serving as both an interface between the campus program and an innovative natural drainage infrastructure. The canal, a unique condition of both freshwater and tidal ecologies, is a richly planted landscape of native and wetland species working to scrub the water clean through displacement, aeration and filtration. The planted edges and terraces accommodate the fluctuating water levels- designed within the parameters of LEED and 100-year flood models. But its great contribution is its use as visual and physical contrast to the necessarily strict layouts of the rest of the spaces.

The perimeter landscape responds to the nature of the project phasing. Since much of the perimeter and parking areas will be developed in later phases of the project, the planting strategy is to surround the academy with a native meadow and trees planted outside of future building footprints.

Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo

Bogota, Colombia

Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo

Bogota, Colombia

CLIENT Sarmiento Angulo / STATUS Under Construction / SIZE 18.53 acres / 75,000 m2 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Construcciones Planificadas

Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo is an urban project in the heart of Bogota, Colombia that marks the midpoint between Bogota’s historic downtown and the international airport. As Bogota has rapidly developed along Calle 26, the city’s most important axis, Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo will emerge as Bogota’s prominent cultural and commercial center.

The master plan for Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo spans three blocks creating an integrated system of public space that will serve as a critical junction between three distinct areas of the city: Parque Simon Bolivar to the north, Centro Administrativo Nacional to the east, and a residential neighborhood to the west. A public pedestrian spine connects all three blocks with a series of bridges over vehicular cross streets. The center piece of this mixed use development is a public square that contains a new performing arts center and hotel. The square fuses the existing open space together, creating a new public center for the city.

The landscape expresses the diverse ecology found in Colombia with each block containing a distinct botanical environment and color palette comprised of indigenous Colombian plants. The blocks are connected through water elements that fluctuate in level depending on water availability, accommodating a variety of social and ecological programs. Vibrant colors are found in both the paving and vegetation, creating a link to the city’s colorful historic district, La Candelaria, and regional ecological events like the algae blooms of the Cano Cristales. Topographic undulations in the surface of the landscape create depth for large planting areas above the underground parking structure and provide lush enclaves for people to enjoy in an urban setting.

11th Street Bridge Park




CLIENT District of Columbia / THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus) / STATUS Competition Finalist, 2014 / SIZE 50,000 SF / 4,645 m2 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson + Partners / Guy Nordenson Associates / Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson / Fisher Marantz Stone / Jones Lang LaSalle / City Activators / Dr Mindy Thompson Fullilove / Mark Dion / Dr. Kimberly Sebek / ARUP Acoustic / ETM Associates

The 11th Street Bridge Park competition was a design effort to integrate the forces of gentrification that its development would unleash into an overall design approach ruled by protective policies. The 11th Street Bridge Park design encourages the economic development of local enterprises, introduces cultural elements that the Anacostia and D.C. communities are lacking, and incorporates aspects of local history, kicking off a new era of urban development through policies that protect the local population from gentrification while strengthening the community. The integration of economic, social and cultural policies would make this a resilient urban planning. The design approach and the community programs proposed for the bridge park reinforced one another through the creation of hybrid programmatic spaces.

The design of the bridge creates a space for diverse communities to come together on this neglected Anacostia. It provides a vehicle for very separate communities to communicate.

Cutsheet USA, Washington, DC, Bridge Park

New Hancher Auditorium

2016 - Iowa City, IA, USA


Iowa City, IA, USA

CLIENT University of Iowa / SIZE 7.6 acres / STATUS Completed 2016 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Confluence / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects PHOTO CREDIT Pelli Clarke Pelli

In 2008 a dramatic 500 year flood devastated a large portion of the Iowa University Art Campus. Balmori Associates’ set out to re-imagine the relationship between the Iowa River and its surrounding landscape where the Arts Campus resides.  Balmori's Master Plan for the Arts Campus that provides the river and university with new currents of connectivity, creativity, and environmental performance. 

Topographic depressions around the New Hancher Auditorium create spaces that are flexible and configured to embrace the variable character of the river. These depressions are designed to provide public space for large outdoor performances and social events, but also allow for the river to expand during large flood events. 

Considering the larger effects of the 2008 flood, Balmori’s strategy can be seen as a prototype for water management, that if replicated on a regional level would be capable of attenuating increased flooding threats brought about by the urbanization of the Iowa River Corridor. Additional areas of water treatment and infiltration serve to collect, clean and permeate storm water on site instead of piping it directly into the river. This decreases water flow and velocity of water in the Iowa River implementing a soft approach to flood prevention, a strategy that becomes a powerful flood management tool when repeated. 

Shanghai Bund




CLIENT Shanghai Urban Planning Administration Bureau / Shanghai Municipal Engineering Administration Bureau / Shanghai Municipal Committee for the Development of Huangpu River Corridor / The People’s Government of Huangpu District, Shanghai / SIZE  20 by 2.5 km, 12.3 acres / 50,000 m2 / STATUS Competition Finalist 2008 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Beyer Blinder Belle / Yuliang Hong

Selected as one of the ten teams to compete for this project for the Shanghai Bund. We focused on a supremely ecological scheme and designed each ecological move into an aesthetic public experience (the Shanghai Bund attracts up to 100,000 visitors a day).

 In response to high pollution levels in the water and the river being prone to flooding, Balmori’s proposal restores the Bund as a continuous 2.5 Km/20 meter wide public promenade that connects river and city. The surface is a sculpted horizontal topography that mediates between access to the river and raised views across the city. It is an open and porous plan which allows for sustained movement of both people and water. 

The ecological features: a) floating vegetated islands engineered to clean the river water with native riparian plant species. These islands are also designed to generate their own electricity with underwater turbines. These vegetated islands float on the river, rising and falling with the changing tides, and form a river edge that is aesthetic and functional, as well as fixed and adaptive.  b) Photovoltaic panels along the sea wall produce energy for street lights. c) Hard surfaces are coated with titanium dioxide that transforms air pollution into harmless, inert compounds that wash away in the rain. d) Stormwater filtration is provided by a series of submerged sand filters and UV disinfection units beneath the walkways. Once the water is cleaned it is then reused on site in fountains and ponds.

The Bund, continuing the tradition of innovation in China, and the SEZs (special economic zones) are imagined as a SECOZ (Special Ecology Zone).

Prairie Waterway Stormwater Park

1996 - Farmington, MN, USA



CLIENT Sienna Corporation and City of Farmington, MN / AWARD League of Minnesota Cities Achievement Award / STATUS Completed 1996 / SIZE 200 acres / PHOTO CREDIT Bordner Aerial

For a new development in the suburb of Minneapolis, we proposed a drainage system with a dual purpose: provide drainage for the development of nearly 500 homes and create and function as a public space. Dubbed ‘Park Place’ by local residents, the 91-acre park has now become an integral part of the community, not only as a part of infrastructure, but also as a public amenity. 

A series of strategies are used to temporarily store excess water and mitigate the risks of flooding through a swale system, ponds and channels planted with grasses and sedges. It resolves environmentally the issue of frequent flooding in a flat plain-with a high water table and peak storm volumes-emptying in the Red River.

The designed riparian system consists of a civic lawn on axis with the downtown area, flanked by playing fields, bike paths and pedestrian paths; glimpses of wildlife are provided by the wetlands associated with this urban waterway.

Farmington Canal Greenway


Farmington Canal Greenway Master Plan and Yale Section 


CLIENT Yale University Office of Facilities / SIZE 2.1 miles / STATUS Master Plan Completed 1995 / Engineering School Section Completed 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Pelli Clark Pelli

The Farmington Canal, a 2-mile-long section of railroad in eastern Connecticut, has been abandoned since 1982. A canal that ran three miles through the city of New Haven and six miles through Hamden, a New Haven suburb, preceded the railroad. The masterplan for the Farmington canal reuse was initiated as part of the federal Rails-to-Trails rehabilitation program. Developed by Balmori Associates it sought, through substantial research, to reactivate the canal and transform it into a recreational corridor that connects disparate parts of the city with its center. By modest moves, the canal corridor can eventually affect projects that occur along it, becoming a spine on which to hang other built development. 

The two mile long Yale owned section sits by the new Engineering Research Building of Yale University, located at the corner of Prospect Street and Trumbull Street. Working together with its design architects, civil and environmental engineers, Balmori Associates explored numerous sustainable design ideas. The porous paving used as part of a larger storm water management strategy reduces runoff's volume and velocity.

The section of abandoned railway is envisioned not simply as a trail but a new prototype of public open space, a linear park made up of discrete green segments that respond individually to their respective urban or suburban contexts.

St. Louis Riverfront Masterplan

2005 - St. Louis, MO, USA

St. Louis Riverfront Masterplan

St. Louis, MO, USA

CLIENT Great Rivers Greenway District / STATUS 2005 / SIZE 3/4 miles, 44 acres  DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, HOK Planning Group, Greenberg Consultant , CDG engineers, ABNA Engineering, Consulmar, Moffat and Nichol, Vector Communications.

In 2005, Balmori Associates was selected as lead landscape designer for the St. Louis Riverfront Project, an 80 acre site located at the foot of the Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Throughout the years, The Gateway Arch has stood in celebration of St. Louis’ prominence on the banks of the Mississippi River, but access to these banks has been underwhelming.  With the St. Louis Riverfront Masterplan, Balmori Associates’ aims to reconnect people with the Mississippi by providing year round recreation on the water, an integrated bicycle and pedestrian system, a terraced riverwalk, event areas for large gatherings, and docking for local riverboats.

During the Master Planning Phase, four principles emerged as the strategies that would guide the St. Louis Riverfront Master Plan: Experience the nature and presence of the river, Create new Connections, Develop New Spaces and Complement the City.  Through site models, plans, sections and montages, Balmori Associates developed four schemes for the St. Louis Riverfront.  During the design process, Balmori Associates participated in two public forums.  Designed as an open house, the forums brought over 400 residents to evaluate each design concept.  As a result, the most ambitious scheme, Terraces & Islands, was selected.  This scheme’s terraced river edge, floating walkways and floating islands will allow for new inhabitation of the river in ways never seen before.  The project’s completion is set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch.  

Occupy the Dune

2013 - New York, NY, USA

Occupy the Dune

New York, NY, USA

CLIENT Moma PS1 (Rockaway Call for Ideas) / STATUS Winning Proposal 2013 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates

In March 2013, MoMA PS1 invited artists and designers to rethink the post-Sandy Rockaways, a peninsula of Long Island located in the New York City borough of Queens. The competition sought ideas for alternative housing models, creation of social spaces, urban interventions, the rebuilding of the boardwalk, protection of the shoreline, and actions to engage local communities in the effort to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy.      

Balmori’s “Occupy the Dune” was among the twenty-five proposals exhibited on Rockaway Beach. Balmori proposed an infrastructure as the center for civic activity, capable of protecting the community while connecting it socially and ecologically. Vegetation that colonizes the dunes surface is the most critical part of the ecosystem, adding strength and stability against extreme blunt winds and storm surge. Many inhabited coastal areas have flat beaches that leave the city exposed to violent storm events. Creating dunes makes these areas more resilient, but can separate the community from the coastal landscape. The protected area formed between the primary and secondary dunes is less sensitive, allowing this interstitial space to become a linear park capable of hosting an array of civic and recreational activities.

Prefabricated concrete storm drainage boxes are used to create void spaces in the base of the dunes, leaving room for different types of programs that can evolve over time. The flexible void spaces can accommodate temporary housing for displaced residents, community activities, cabanas, cafes, retail shops, and can act as passages between city and coastal landscape.

AWARDS: Winning Proposal, Moma PS1 - Rockaway Call for Ideas

PRESS: ArchDaily

Parque Del Rio

Medellin, Colombia

Parque Del Rio

Medellin, Colombia

CLIENT China Vanke Co.Ltd / STATUS Proposal / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Studio Area 4

Imagine a city that takes its river channeled, it revives two water systems, crosses and recruza with beautiful bridges intertwined with parks in its entirety and intertwines all social groups equally at the same time. Imagine that and think if any other city capable of creating this intense set of transport, water, park and bridges; all twisted together and made one set. Venice and invented a creative solution to their situation that became the world's most beautiful city, Medellin has the opportunity to become a unique and beautiful city overhauling the things you need without wasting anything.

The Gwynns Fall Trail Masterplan

1995 - Baltimore, MD, USA

The Gwynns Fall Trail Masterplan

Baltimore, MD, USA

CLIENT The Trust for Public Land, City of Baltimore Department of Recreation of Parks / STATUS Completed 1995 / SIZE 14 miles / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Meg Webster, Jonathan Fishman Architects, Edward Orser, Paul Barten, Kirsten MacDougall

Restoration of a stream established connections between the diverse neighborhoods along its path. The Gywnns Falls Trail Masterplan project is a response to community interest in restoring the Gywnns Falls Stream Ecosystem, which had been damaged over time by industrial pollution, illegal dumping, and neglect. The masterplan drew public attention to the stream and its watershed by outlining revitalization strategies, which included educational activities for area public schools and annual public celebrations. The design team consulted with citizens from 16 neighborhoods, 7 Baltimore city agencies and departments, as well as 47 public and private organizations and institutions.

The trail has seven separate segments running through various geographic and cultural areas of Baltimore, Maryland. The proposals were developed with respect to the particular terrain, vegetation, and cultural context of each trail segment.  The masterplan was a comprehensive study outlining recommended designs for trail routes, safety, signage, planting schemes, ecological restoration, and historical features management. In addition, the masterplan explored ethical and environmental procedures for its design and construction, namely eliminating the use of pollutants. This practice helped to produce jobs for the surrounding communities and was integrated into the educational process of the community.

The Gwynns Falls Trail vision was built on an earlier vision created for open public space in Baltimore.  In 1902, the Baltimore Municipal Art Society commissioned the Olmsted brothers to design a masterplan for Baltimore parks. Completed in 1904, the Olmsted Report recommended that the city acquire three principal stream valleys to protect the watershed from future development; it also envisioned a network of stream valley parks. The Olmsted Report was a starting place for Balmori Associates' evaluation process for urban open space because of its foresight, broad vision and its understanding of parks as an integral part of our cities.


2015 - Miami, FL, USA


Miami, FL, USA

CLIENT Friends of the Underline / STATUS 2nd Stage Finalist 2015 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Interboro, NADAA, Cure&Penabad, R&R Studios, Mobility in Chain, Bruce Mau Design, Transsolar, HR&A, Lisa Hammer, Geomantic Design, David Plummer & Associates

IMAGINE A THICK TROPICAL GREEN LINE creating a shady arbor snaking its way through Miami city rising up to the Metro station in parts, sinking to canal level in others, weaving its path around and under the Metro line.

IMAGINE ITS CHANGING CHARACTER, as it crosses differentcommunities, bringing in their best feature and adding a vision of the future common to the whole, an artistic interpretationof Miami as city of the future

IMAGINE PUTTING FORTH ITS VISIONARY PAST, a city only a hundred years old, creating artificial islands off its coast when nobody had thought of them. Christo/Jeanne-Claude wrapping them in fuchsia to call attention to them. Inventing a tropical landscape with Asian trees and producingan extraordinary section of the city with them.

IMAGINE THIS LINE BECOMING PART OF THE EVERGLADES AT ONE END AND PART OF CALLE OCHO AND BRICKELL AT THE OTHER, AND CONNECTING TWO   NATIONAL PARKS.  A thick green line, a thin green line,a meandering green line, a straight green line picking up the strong COLORof Miami, itsARTistic side (Christo, Art Basel, Perez Museum, Design District.....) its   OUTDOORNESS, the INVENTIVENESS of its tropical landscapeand its NEWNESS as a city.

IMAGINE THIS NEWNESS TAKING HOLD OF MOBILITY IN A NEW MANNER, making a unit of metro, bikeway, pedestrian way and Dixie Highway through a system of the latest technology which sensors the movement of each and coordinates all their movements. And integrating health stations along the way that deal with highway pollution.

This is the city of the future. This is Miami.  

Old Detroit, New Scale

2010 - Detroit, MI, USA

Old Detroit, New Scale

Detroit, MI, USA

CLIENT TIME Magazine / STATUS Written & Designed 2010 / DESIGN TEAM  Balmori Associates

Industrial cities reaching the end of an industry on which they were based, unable to stem the loss of jobs, the loss of capital and of people has become familiar to us since the 20th century.  In the US perhaps there is no example as stark as that of Detroit, though Manchester in England, Essen in Germany are equally dire European examples.

Four points can serve as start-ups:

·  To address the city’s issues not in physical layout terms of master plans.

·   To address population needs in terms of developing transformations of the base industry and conserving its knowledge base at all costs.

·  Any new venture which wishes to build a new urban nucleus needs to look at broader parameters e.g. not look at a map of the city, but also at its suficial geology, its position on the planet climatically, at its life history and not only of human life but of that of plants and animals, and of rivers and streams.  New spots of growth will grow then from a different model of a city.

·  To select the scale of the intervention, a critical element. In these circumstances, master plans for whole cities are the wrong instrument, at the wrong scale.  Infrastructure set up in the nineteenth century has made us think that we must do things at the same scale e.g. whole city, all at once, which a decaying city can never afford.

Given our new technologies we can create smaller units with local control – that can eventually hook up with each other is so desired, in other words, a web of systems.  It allows for modest regeneration where needed.  Water systems can be treated this way, electrical, sewage, etc…