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2022 BSA Design Awards: Rochester Riverfront Area Wide Plan

Boston Society for Architecture

Mar 22, 2023

A Win in Rochester


2022 Campus and Urban Planning Design Awards

Project name: Rochester Riverfront Area Wide Plan

Project narrative: The Riverfront Plan physically and socially connects the community to the Zumbro River in ways that enable year-round use with easy access defined by vibrant public spaces and state-of-the-art green infrastructure. By removing impervious surfaces and integrating local ecologies, the transformation represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acknowledge Rochester’s past, catalyze new development and be a welcoming place with diverse community appeal. The city has turned itself away from the river, but there is potential to once again be a point of entry for residents, employees and visitors who travel great distances to Rochester for medical care, health and wellness.

Project location: Rochester, Minnesota

Firm name: Gamble Associates

Completion: 2021

Project type: Urban Master Plan Development

Project information: New construction, Addition, Adaptive reuse, Renovation/restoration

Size: 500,000 – 700,000 sf of development pending

Client: City of Rochester, Minnesota and Destination Medical Center

Jury comments: The Rochester Riverfront Plan represents a new and excellent example of a holistic planning approach for urban areas with complex industrial and development histories in our era of climate change and carbon crisis. Rochester’s existing dense urban city will be improved with the newly formed connection and accessibility to the riverfront. It prioritizes preservation and adaptation of existing building and infrastructure fabric, and uses crafty conversion maneuvers to great ends. The resulting spaces are highly functional and accessible, yet loose and fluid, rather than over-designed. Restored ecology and revitalized urban use reach a poetic synthesis against the backdrop of the remnants of historic layers. The project will lead to an enhanced human experience and will promote economic development.

Images/Photographer(s): Gamble Associates; Shawn Fagan (drone images)

Landscape architect: SWA Group

Planning: NEOO Partners, Inc.

Consultants: Economic Development and Community Outreach: NEOO Partners; Signage and Branding: omloop

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