The groundbreaking of the Kennedy Plaza Riverwalk connection marks a fundamental link between downtown Tampa's recreational, residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and employment amenities -- the spaces that help define great cities.
The Riverwalk is perhaps the only vision for the city that has spanned six different mayoral administrations as a major element in Tampa's developing urban fabric.
"This segment of The Riverwalk is much more than a connection or walkway,'' says Keith Greminger, senior planning and urban design manager at Kimley-Horn and Associates. "It is transformational, not only for The Riverwalk, but for downtown.''
The construction of this segment will provide a continuous walkway at the water's edge from the Florida Aquarium to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. It is one of Tampa's most prominent and place specific public realm features. The Riverwalk is the space between the natural environment and the built environment, and gives people access to both.
The Kennedy Plaza connection will take people close to the water. The design of the deck and structural hoops serve as "portals emphasizing the 'on the water feature' of the new segment,'' says Greminger. The hoops expand on both sides of the bridge to accentuate the gateway into downtown.
The design of the hoops not only provides for different levels of shade, but the egg-shaped hoop solves structural issues by reducing the stress from uplift found in typical pole and fabric structures. The deck and hoop combination are designed to be climate-sensitive by addressing both sun and wind.
A next phase may bring light beams, which extend from the largest hoops, over Kennedy Boulevard serving as a threshold into downtown.
Source: Keith Greminger, Kimley-Horn Associates, Inc.
Writer: Taryn Sabia