The master plan for Riverview Park envisions a new 70-acre recreational venue for southwest Louisville that celebrates a diverse landscape along the Ohio River. Comprised of four distinct park zone characteristics (active, civic, natural, and playful), a series of environments will offer opportunities to engage both river & land through site-specific interactive elements.
An initial phase of construction offers dry & wet children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, and a boat ramp. In proximity to the new play areas, this first of several visitor service buildings provides public restrooms, drinking fountains, and mechanical rooms for park-wide utilities that include irrigation & lighting controls.
Referencing the agrarian & river transportation history of the site, the design concept for the park building originates from the recognizable imagery of regional tobacco barns and the river barges that are frequently visible from the park. Merging the volumetric ‘container’ attributes of barn & barge precedents, the project presents a playful park structure that is both familiar & new. In concert with a family of future buildings that will share similar characteristics, the structure will reinforce a cohesive visitor experience between the diverse activity zones of the park through variations in orientation, geometry, and detailing.
Key project challenges include the following: 1) a building location within the 100-year river flood plain, 2) a highly public project site prone to vandalism & graffiti, 3) importance of visitor safety & security monitoring, and 4) ease of building maintenance. A simple material palette of naturally rusting Cor-ten steel (in corrugated panel & louver applications), galvanized metal plank grating, and poured-in-place concrete provides a durable kit-of-parts that is easily cleaned through power-washing (specific to the Cor-ten steel finish, graffiti can simply be sanded off with steel wool and the rusted patina naturally returns). A raised wall detail at the building base facilitates the hosing down of all interior spaces. Perforated & louvered wall surfaces provide visual & acoustical porosity in certain building areas for public safety. The integration of modular metal plank grating (typically used for industrial stair treads) facilitates replacement of wall panels as needed. Stainless steel ‘prison-grade’ fixtures & accessories are utilized in all restroom compartments.
The building has no mechanical heating or cooling and relies on natural cross-ventilation. Daylight filters into all interior spaces and eliminates the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. By night, the building transforms into a colorful ‘park lantern’ to light surrounding paths.