City Walk BHAM Recognized with ACEC National Honor Award

14 / June / 2023

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented Barge Design Solutions (Barge) with an Honor Award for its master plan design of City Walk BHAM. Barge was among other winners recognized at the 56th annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala held in Washington, D.C. on June 13, 2023, as part of the annual convention. This prestigious awards event honors the nation’s top engineering achievements.

The City Walk BHAM project offers a unique urban-recreational design that fosters a new level of community connection for Birmingham, Alabama residents, businesses, and visitors. Barge worked closely with the Alabama Department of Transportation to design a master plan for the project's expansive 31-acre, 10-block area, which includes innovative spaces that reconnect neighborhoods from both sides of the I-59/I-20 bridges.

Barge's master plan resulted from five years of collective, community-focused efforts, including gathering local feedback through public outreach meetings, involvement opportunities, and online surveys. The community input identified the importance of adding meaningful spaces to the City Walk BHAM master plan, highlighting the city's history and growth. The landscape design includes materials representing the city's rich past in the steel industry, while the ADA-accessible Destination Playground highlights Alabama's five physiographic regions. The space commemorates Birmingham's history in the Civil Rights Movement, with special signage offering a history lesson on this important part of Birmingham's past.

The recent 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. Once surrounded by empty tenant spaces, areas along the linear park 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. This vibrant venue had the honor of serving as the "The World Games Plaza" in Summer 2022.

Last month, Birmingham's City Council recognized Barge with a resolution for its ACEC Alabama Grand Award for City Walk BHAM's master design. The resolution celebrates the achievements of individuals and businesses that substantially contribute to the economic vitality of their communities and the entire City of Birmingham. Barge's City Walk BHAM master plan demonstrates the value of community-focused design and its ability to inspire new levels of community connection and growth.

Pictured above are members of the Barge project team, together with Arthur Barrett, II (ACEC Immediate Past Chair 2022-2023), DeJarvis Leonard (Region Engineer for ALDOT East Central Region), Gary Smith (Assistant Region Engineer, Pre-Construction for ALDOT East Central Region), Linda Bauer Darr (ACEC President and CEO)