Water Works Model in Progress

February 8, 2016 by Janette Law

Christopher Tallman, Jonathan Fillmore and Kelly Watters are making progress on the model of the innovative plan for rainwater infiltration and reuse at the Water Works site.

Chris, Jonathan, and Kelly are all graduate students in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Landscape Architecture program. They are also our Research Assistants in Practice working under the supervision of Bruce Chamberlain, our Minneapolis Parks Fellow.

Led by Chris, the students are deep into the physical creation of the model itself. This includes multiple steps to carve out the topography of the site: Starting with a plywood base run through a massive router table, followed by hand sanding and plastering over fine imperfections in the rough cut.

For Chris, whose background is in construction, this is an exciting part of the project. “It’s been wonderful to see how projects like this work at a city-scale,” he said.

This week, the team will begin work on the model’s details – constructing from poplar elements like stairways, mill ruins, bridges and buildings. Finally, the team will carve the channels for piping – which will be represented by different colored electrical wire.

Originally, the model was meant to have water running through it. (See our first post on the topic.) In order to make the model portable, it was reduced to 240 scale (ie, one inch equals 240 feet). The finished model, expected the week of February 15, will be about 5’6” x 2’4”.

Until then, take a peek at the model-in-progress:

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2 Responses to Water Works Model in Progress

  1. John M Kraemer says:

    I live at Riverwest condos and of course I am delighted to see this project move ahead. I think that 1st st S should be made a one way going south as part of this project. We all know this project will bring a big increase in pedestrian traffic on 1st st, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen semi trucks heading to the post office come ripping around the corner on 1st st and narrowly miss pedestrians and cyclists.


    • Janette Law says:

      Hi, John –

      Thank you for your support of the Water Works project and for sharing your concerns with us. Like you, we believe that safety is a top priority. While the City of Minneapolis has purview over First St., the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is aware of community concerns and we’ve shared yours with their staff, as well as our own.

      All the best,


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