The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA) have announced Open Shore by Ecosistema Urbano as the winner of the Shore to Core waterfront design competition. The competition invited designers, planners, and architects to envision the future of the West Palm Beach waterfront for the next 20 to 30 years, with elements like changing population, economy, and environment, in mind. Selected from over 40 international teams and two finalists, the winning Open Shore proposal will serve as a “vision board” for the city’s future.
The competition additionally announced a design runner up bu Perkins + Will and a research winner by the team of Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax.
The Open Shore proposal includes “what could be the first public bioclimatic domes in the US adorned with hanging gardens.” These dome spaces remain climatically comfortable throughout the year, supporting a more socially cohesive city in changing conditions of population, economy, environment, and so forth.
The proposal also illustrates how the city’s Banyan Garage could be upcycled into a mixed-use building with both public- and private-sector roles featuring adaptive climates suitable for a range of activities, including a farmers market, coworking spaces, and skyline viewing platforms. Additional amenities include vibrant thematic alleyways—with such features as a rock climbing wall, interactive exhibition space, and immersive foliage—that harness the cultural values and experiences unique to West Palm Beach, while also providing shade and introducing new elevated programming spaces.
Ecosistema Urbano will present its proposal to the WPB CRA board in May so that priority projects can be contracted, and a community outreach system can be started.
Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax
The winning research team—Happier by Design—“focused on how specific types of public spaces may increase the wellbeing of people who use them and conducted a pilot study analyzing the health benefits of more complex and engaging urban landscapes.”
Through environmental psychology principles and tactical urban interventions, the team found that “public space designs that boost feelings of fascination foster wellbeing.” The team additionally recommended that designers focus on nature and creating spaces that are both interactive and comfortable.