City Walk BHAM Master Plan Design Wins ACEC Alabama EEA Grand Award
1 / May / 2023
Barge Design Solutions (Barge) was presented with the Grand Award for its master plan design of City Walk BHAM at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Alabama’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on April 27. The City Walk BHAM project provides a high-level urban-recreational design that inspires a new level of community connection for Birmingham, Alabama, residents, businesses, and visitors.
Barge worked closely with the firm’s longtime client Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to design a master plan for the expansive 31-acre, 10-block project. The team designed strategic, innovative spaces to reconnect neighborhoods from both sides of the I-59/I-20 bridges through engaging, high-end activities.
Barge’s master plan was the result of five years of collective, community-focused efforts. This included gathering local feedback through public outreach meetings, involvement opportunities, and online surveys. Popular requests from the community included walking paths, a dog park, a food truck area, sports fields, a world-class playground, water features, a 60,000-SF skate park, a biergarten, pickleball courts, and open-air classrooms.
The community input identified the importance of adding meaningful spaces to the City Walk BHAM master plan, highlighting the city’s history and growth. Materials used in the landscape design represent the city’s rich past in the steel industry. The ADA-accessible Destination Playground highlights Alabama’s five physiographic regions – Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Alabama Ridge and Valley, Cumberland Plateau, and Highland Rim. Also spotlighted is Birmingham’s history in the Civil Rights Movement. The space along 16th Street North includes gathering space for schools and tour groups when visiting the Civil Rights District located just a short walk away. Special signage offers a history lesson on this important part of Birmingham’s past.
The massive undertaking to demolish and rebuild the I-59/I-20 bridge system paved the way for a historic transformation of downtown Birmingham, connecting important landmarks and venues through creative spaces and public engagement. The possibilities are endless for this vibrant venue which had the honor of serving as the "The World Games Plaza" in Summer 2022. Areas along the linear park, once surrounded by empty tenant spaces, are now seeing new lease agreements. These developments show that City Walk BHAM is a significant contribution to the revitalization of the downtown area and will continue to make an impact as the destination where Birmingham connects.
Barge Design Solutions accepts the Grand Award at the 2023 ACEC Alabama Engineering Excellence Awards on April 27.