RALPH C. WILSON JR. PARK
Detroit, MI (2018–ongoing)
Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park in Detroit will increase urban sustainability by reinvigorating a derelict site and enhancing the dynamic interface between river and city. The new 22-acre park will engage the river, breaking down the static sea wall that currently defines the length of the Detroit waterfront. “The Cove” -- a dramatic 1.5-acre inlet framed by two long stone jetties — will make water a central experience of the park. The expanded shoreline increases habitat for vegetation, birds, and aquatic wildlife. A sandy beach, rocky edge, preserved sea wall, and freshwater wetland will provide new experiences of nature in the city for people of varied ages and abilities.

Upland, new plantings will frame the park’s core recreational landscapes, including a regional playground, sports courts, and a generously sized events lawn. Throughout the park, smaller lawns, gardens, groves, promenades, and plazas complement these established destinations. Several "park houses” designed by architect David Adjaye will provide all-season spaces for sports and park services.

Connectivity is woven into the park’s structure, helping to catalyze an emerging constellation of green spaces within southwestern Detroit. Extensive community outreach guided park programming, which will offer a variety of recreational opportunities – including community center programs, nature education, picnic areas, fishing and contemplative river-viewing. The park is also anticipated to have economic benefits, bringing increased activity to nearby businesses. Selected to lead the design in 2018, MVVA will complete the construction documents for Ralph C. Wilson Jr., Centennial Park in early 2020, with anticipated completion of construction in 2020.

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