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News release | SCAPE with Rogers Marvel named Water Works park designers

Team will collaborate extensively with Central Riverfront master planning team on way to early 2014 design

Minneapolis, Minn. – SCAPE and Rogers Marvel will shape one of the most dynamic destinations on the Mississippi River, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board announced today. The team was selected to create a schematic design for Water Works, a Minneapolis Park Board-owned riverfront district including the former Fuji Ya restaurant site and centered on St. Anthony Falls, the only true waterfall on the Mississippi River – “America’s fourth coast.” Water Works schematic design will begin in August of this year, targeting an early 2014 completion.

SCAPE with Rogers Marvel was shortlisted in May, along with Gustafson Guthrie Nicol with VJAA and Interboro (Seattle/Minneapolis/New York) and Team West 8 (Rotterdam/New York). A five-member Designer Selection Committee chose the finalists from 27 responses from firms in seven U.S. states and five European countries to an April RFP for schematic design for a new urban park on one of the four great rivers of the world. The Water Works design team also includes New York-based James Lima Planning + Design and Minneapolis-based SRF Consulting.

“It was a unanimous decision to select SCAPE and Rogers and Marvel. The Selection Committee was impressed by the team’s preparation, which included extensive knowledge about the site and its relationship to the city, over time and as part of a natural, cultural and infrastructural system,” says Mary deLaittre, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, who noted that Water Works is an unconventional design process. “The SCAPE team will collaborate closely with a local planning and urban design team concurrently preparing a master plan for the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, within which the Water Works district exists. In our interview, it became clear that the principals of the SCAPE team work uncommonly well together and can build a rapport with diverse partners and audiences.”

The Central Riverfront has long been significant to First Nations and is where Minneapolis was established and, for over a century, the milling industry flourished. It is also situated in the heart of downtown Minneapolis within both a growing mixed-use neighborhood and the St. Anthony Falls Heritage District.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is leading Water Works design in cooperation with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. Project details can be found online at and

Design Collaboration
Water Works is a RiverFirst Priority Project and the district’s schematic design process will unfold in conjunction with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s concurrent revision of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan. SRF Consulting, was recently selected by the Park Board to complete the regional park master plan and will also be integral to the Water Works effort.

“Over 130 years ago, the now world-class Minneapolis park system took root around bold vision and a strong sense of the critical importance parks play in the life of a city,” says Jayne Miller, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Superintendent. “Our partnership with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation carries forward that tradition in efforts like Water Works that meaningfully engage the community engagement around park design, programming and financial support.”

The Central Riverfront Regional Park draws 1.6 million visitors a year to experience the waterfall and explore built features such as the elegant Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park, the Mill City Museum and St. Anthony Falls.

RiverFirst is a multi-agency initiative to transform the Minneapolis Riverfront through visionary parks and trails development. The initial phase includes several Priority Projects, including three “next generation” destination parks – Water Works, along with Scherer site and Northside Wetlands – interconnected via miles of riverfront trail loops and connecting to existing regional and national parks and trails. Learn more at

Team Selection
The Designer Selection Committee comprises experts in parks, urban design and city planning: Bruce Chamberlain and Andrew Caddock, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board; Laura Salveson, Mill City Museum & St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board; Kjersti Monson, City of Minneapolis; Matthew Tucker, Dept. of Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota College of Design; and Mary deLaittre, Minneapolis Parks Foundation. The committee shortlisted teams based on team composition and experience, philosophy and approach to planning and design, and proposed design process and fees.

“Our team is so thrilled to be selected for the Water works project” says Kate Orff, principal at SCAPE. “We’re looking forward to creating an authentic design that emerges from a collaborative process with community partners and a direct engagement with the layers of history, ecology, and public space that define this extraordinary site.”

Four firms make up the Water Works schematic design team. SCAPE is a New York City-based landscape architecture firm co-founded by Kate Orff, who is also Assistant Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and co-author of Petrochemical America (Aperture Foundation 2012). The firm has completed projects in Brooklyn, NY, Greenville, SC, and Dublin, Ireland. Rogers Marvel, also based in New York City, has extensive experience in the public realm, with contributions to significant public space projects in New York, Washington D.C., and Cody, WY. Rob Rogers and Jonathan Marvel are the firm’s principals. James Lima Planning + Design is a strategic planning and development advisory firm to both the public and private sectors. Minneapolis-based SRF Consulting is an engineering, planning and design firm.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is creating the Next Generation of Parks™. Through the generosity of our donors and grantmakers, we provide private-sector leadership and funding for RiverFirst and Water Works, innovative urban design projects that build on our 100-year legacy of visionary parks. We work collaboratively with multiple government and non-profit partners on these parks projects, as well as our education programs – SiteSeeing Urban Design Curriculum and Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series. The Minneapolis Park System enhances the quality of life in our city and creates social and economic environments that strengthen communities throughout the region. Learn more and donate at

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Water Works is Supported By:
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board | Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation
Pentair Foundation | Many Generous Donors

Additional Funding Provided By:
McKnight Foundation | George Family Foundation| Curtis L. Carlson Foundation

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.