WMWA Landscape Architect’s Market + Georgia Public Space Project Wins National Award

  • Monday, October 4, 2021

The American Society of Landscape Architects has awarded WMWA Landscape Architects and Genesis the Greykid with an Honor Award in Urban Design for their Market + Georgia Public Space project in downtown Chattanooga. The ASLA annually recognizes projects throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in analysis, design, or research. With over 480 projects submitted to the ASLA this year, the Market + Georgia Public Space project was one of 40 selected for a national award, and this year’s designation marks the first national award of a public space for the city of Chattanooga.

“Residents of Patten Towers—the building with the highest residential density in Chattanooga, —might have been skeptical about plans to improve the streetscape outside their building at the corner of Market and Georgia. But thanks to a concerted series of community engagement meetings, they were able to feel heard and included in the process, with their suggestions informing the plans enacted before them. Starting with the humble medium of paint, the team began to re-envision Patten Towers’ immediate environs using shapes its residents had sketched, with their building as the focal point for the improvements.” - 2021 Awards Jury

The Market + Georgia Public Space project focused on the engagement, design, and implementation of a community-first design process for the plaza and sidewalks surrounding the intersections of Market Street and Georgia Avenue. As the most densely populated residential area in downtown, this block is home to The Patten, an affordable apartment community for some of Chattanooga’s most vulnerable citizens.

The design team was especially cognizant of the misapprehensions that existed among the many stakeholder groups, and thus developed an adaptable, inclusive, and transparent design process that prioritized community participation through a transparent communication. An open and honest engagement process designed by Genesis allowed the design team and the Patten Towers community to work together to overcome these constraints and forge a relationship founded in mutual trust and respect, said officials. The resulting design is a physical expression of the community imprinted upon the space and serves as an example of a community asserting their right of civic ownership over beautiful and hospitable public spaces.

The Market + Georgia Public Space project was made possible by funding from the city of Chattanooga and the Degree Deodorant Blue Zones “Made to Move” Grant. Additional leadership and participation were provided from the Chattanooga Design Studio, YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, Chattanooga Department of Transportation, Chattanooga Public Library, Enterprise Center, and Patten Towers. 

This process was a true community effort with a long list of local Chattanooga craftspeople collaborating to build the project. Tucker Build led the construction phase as the general contractor. Range Projects fabricated and installed the swings, leaning rails, and telephone stand. Set in Stone fabricated and installed the concrete benches and planters. Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center provided planter soil and installed native plants. EPB provided local payphone service and Wi-Fi. Traffic Calming USA installed the painted crosswalks. Artists Andrew Travis, Charity Faith, 2Son, and Dannita Noble painted sidewalks and the first block of Georgia Avenue.

For more information see ASLA Website: https://www.asla.org/2021awards/2428.html

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