Winner: Jury Award Best Urban Design, Jury Award Best Bridge, People’s Choice Best Urban Design, People’s Choice Best Bridge.
Our idea is to connect the Downtown Mall with Belmont and views beyond of Jefferson’s Monticello Mountain and the Southwest Mountains. In order to do this we have created a civic plaza with broad terraces leading to a vibrant new farmers’ market located on the Belmont side of the railroad tracks. On the plaza is the 12th bosque of willow oak trees, extending Lawrence Halprin’s beautiful pedestrian mall groves, while completing his unrealized vision for an east end plaza. The new farmers’ market incorporates the iconic flourmill (Beck-Cohen) where local farmers historically brought their harvest.
We seek an optimistic act of urban place-making, gateway, connection, and recovery. The design drops the Belmont Bridge roadway to a narrower grade-level railroad crossing. It moves the Pavilion tent to a more historically and environmentally appropriate place. At the former Ix factory, where thousands of Charlottesville workers produced silk parachutes that helped win World War II, we propose a new billowing performance tent.
Located in a low-lying valley the tent is bounded by earthen protectors and Oakwood Cemetery to dampen concert noise. This location aligns on axis with the Downtown Mall’s Central Place and extends recent urban developments along South Second Street.
We do not need the proposed $14.5 million bridge; historically over 100 trains moved daily through this area. Now the number is often only 5 trains a day, taking less than 7 minutes to pass. We propose widening the nearby 4th Street underpass to two lanes. When trains approach downtown, signals can direct traffic to the underpass and west to the bridge at Ridge Street. Land recovered from the bridge right-of-way and approaches will provide excellent sites for new dwellings and businesses.
By unABRIDGING we will strengthen our neighborhoods and our city.