Local Architecture Firm Creates Fantastical Vision for Connecting Downtown to the Waterfront

by Jessica Rine

In his State of Downtown address back in January, Mayor Darrell Steinberg voiced his desire to help transform the city’s waterfront into the destination that we've always wanted it to be. “It’s time to stop imagining and to start doing,” he said. That notion resonated with the creative team at the local office of architecture firm LPA which had already been mulling over such questions, and the firm has answered with some big, creative ideas—including bold (and they say entirely doable) plans for an amphitheater and a pedestrian bridge that could alter downtown’s landscape, extending the energy of the central city’s renaissance to the Old Sacramento Waterfront.

LPA turned loose its team in a purely speculative interoffice exercise in which designers at the firm (based in Irvine) examined the question: “How do we reengage the city to downtown and the riverfront?” Ideas were floated, drawings were made, and the team conjured some extraordinary renderings that show potential paths to a more vibrant downtown.

Then, in October, the City of Sacramento’s Economic Development Department announced the Waterfront Ideas Makers Program—“an initiative to develop original design concepts that boldly reimagine the historic district and its riverfront location"—and released a request for qualifications (or RFQ) from design firms. From those that applied, the city will select up to five firms to create concepts “that enhance the area’s historic ambiance, aesthetic appeal, visitor experience and connectivity to the City.”


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