ULI Cincinnati recently mentored a University of Cincinnati graduate team entry in the ULI Hines Competition, the Urban Land Institute’s national and highly competitive urban design/development challenge. Student teams comprising at least three disciplines are given two weeks to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submission consist of boards that include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data.
Four university teams, including two from Harvard University, one from the University of Maryland, and a joint team of students from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, have been selected as the finalists for the thirteenth annual Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines Competition.
The 2015 competition challenged multidisciplinary student teams with the task of devising a comprehensive design and development program for parts of the Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods in downtown New Orleans. This year’s competition is designed to simulate an actual urban design and development scenario, with certain details changed for the purposes of the competition. In April, a $50,000 prize will be awarded to the team with the winning proposal, with $5,000 of the total going to the school. Each of the remaining three finalist teams will receive $10,000. This year, 120 teams comprising 600 students from 60 universities participated in the first round of the competition.
The Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods, which make up a historically rich area in the city’s core, contain a mix of residential, industrial and commercial zoning that includes manufacturing plants and other small industrial complexes, many defunct, others still operational. The competition scenario is based on a hypothetical situation in which community stakeholders, including residents, land owners, local businesses, and others in the area bound by the upcoming Lafitte Greenway, the eastern edge of the new medical district, and crossed by the elevated I-10 highway, have come together to create the North Claiborne Neighborhood Improvement Association (NCNIA) – a fictional entity created for the purpose of the competition. NCNIA is seeking a master plan proposal that not only transforms the area into a thriving urban neighborhood, but also highlights its locational advantages, including its proximity to the French Quarter, adjacency to the medical district, and interaction with the Lafitte Greenway.
While based on a hypothetical situation, the 2015 Hines competition reflects many real-life concerns of New Orleans. The competition addresses the city’s continued effort to develop sustainable neighborhoods that represent New Orleans’s uniqueness with the promise of economic innovation and inclusion, as well as access to cultural, employment, transportation, and housing resources. As part of these efforts, the city recently completed the Livable Claiborne Communities (LCC) study.
The finalist teams and development schemes include:
- Harvard University: Inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of the project site and its adjacency to major city destinations and amenities, “Claiborne Grove” recalls the rich landscape that once characterized North Claiborne Avenue and prioritizes redevelopment of the street most critical to the growth and transformation of the neighborhood. The proposal’s central design element is “the Grove,” a linear multi-purpose park and urban landscape sited below elevated Interstate 10.
- Harvard University: The project “Tremé 2.0” lays at the southern tip of the old Tremé district, one of New Orleans’s first urbanized neighborhoods outside of the Vieux Carre Rampart. The proposed 23-acre development project anticipatesTremé continuing its great tradition of making innovative transformation to the Crescent City, as it did 200 years ago.
- University of Maryland: “The Crossing” development sows the seeds of resilience across the Bienville, Iberville, and Lafitte neighborhoods. By connecting tourist and native, greenway and park, neighborhood and city, The Crossing functions not only as a marketplace of goods, but of ideas and relationships. This commingling of people and place fosters diversity, neighborhood cohesion, and economic opportunity.
- University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and University of Wisconsin – Madison: “Quartier Vert” creates a vision of a community that operates as an intersection between communities, corridors of activity, and a variety of users. Intertwined within each of these strategies exists a neighborhood fabric that suggests the interaction between the site and its neighbors. Capitalizing on the existing locational and socioeconomic advantages of the area, Quartier Vert seeks to revive and enhance the surrounding community.
“All of the finalists make bold proposals for re-envisioning an area that is rich in potential,” said Jury Chairman J. Michael Pitchford, president and chief executive officer at CPDC in Silver Spring, Maryland. “This year’s submissions provide new approaches for how a combination of uses all work together to create an attractive destination that is financially realistic. These entries are all reflective of an up-and-coming generation that will provide fresh ideas worth exploring in the creation of sustainable urban landscapes.”
The competition jury consists of renowned experts from diverse backgrounds in real estate development. Jurors represent a strategic mix of land use experts, including developers, brokers, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, urban planners, and policy officials. In addition to Jury Chairman Pitchford, other jury members are: Tara Carter Hernandez, president, JCH Development, New Orleans, Louisiana; Dennis Dornan, senior associate and studio director, Perkins+Will, San Francisco, California; Kyrus L. Freeman, partner, Holland & Knight, Washington, D.C.; Jeff Hebert, executive director, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, New Orleans, Louisiana; Matthew Hopkins, director of architecture and sustainability, StreetSense, Bethesda, Maryland; Michael Horst, consultant, New York, New York; Stephen G. Leeper, president and chief executive officer, 3CDC, Cincinnati, Ohio; Maureen McAvey, senior fellow and Bucksbaum Family chair for retail, ULI, Washington, D.C.; Kathryn L. Reynolds, founder and chief executive officer, Vivelan Group, New Orleans, Louisiana; Halina Steiner, creative director, dlandstudio, Brooklyn, New York; and Byron Stigge, director, Level Infrastructure, New York, New York.
In addition to the four finalists, the jury selected eight team proposals for honorable mention. The jury commended the University of Pennsylvania with “The Zipper: The Lafitte Terminal” for its realistic graphics, stimulating neighborhood vision, and overall good sense of placement; the University of Michigan with “Rooted” for its clear and cogent schematic process along with a cohesive and thoughtful environment vision; Ball State University with “Carondelet Noveau” for its creative spaces along the highway blocks, stimulating visualization of the parkway, and the general treatment under I-10; the University of Oklahoma with “Pulse: The Beat Street District” for the proposed urban layout, general sense of connectivity, and the outline density near block J; a joint team fromKent State University, Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University with “Delta Commons” for its distinct neighborhoods nodes and treatment of space under the highway; the University of Texas at Austin with “Claiborne Quarter” for its outstanding pro forma, good optimization of space, sense of scale, and key organizing element; the Georgia Institute of Technologywith “Down the Line” for its phasing scheme, thoughtful relocation of the RV park, general space layout, and visual legibility; and theUniversity of Oregon with “Urban Groves” for the diagrammatic visualization, a good optimization of real estate in plan, as well as the outlined cross section, and general presentation board design.
The Hines competition is part of an ongoing ULI effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities, improving development patterns, and increasing awareness of the need for interdisciplinary solutions to development and design challenges. The competition is strategically structured to encourage cooperation and teamwork—necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities—among future land use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. The competition is designed as an exercise; there is no intention that the students’ plans will be implemented as part of any revitalization of the site.
In final phase of the competition, the student finalist teams will have the opportunity to expand their original schemes and respond in more detail. Next month, a member of each team will be brought to New Orleans to tour the site and revise their presentations. On April 9, finalist team members will present their schemes to the competition jury members during a public forum in New Orleans. The event will culminate with the announcement of the winning team.
For more information on the ULI Hines Competition, visit: http://uli.org/hines.