Studio Gang and SCAPE selected to lead redesign of Tom Lee Park

Studio Gang, and landscape architecture and urban design studio SCAPE have been named to lead the redesign of the riverfront from Carolina to Beale Street and from top of the bluff to the riverbank, making Tom Lee Park a new civic signature for Memphis.

The new Tom Lee Park will reimagine what is currently a flat field without shade or amenities into a dynamic and vibrant civic space. The aim is to foster positive encounters and civic pride, restore natural conditions and native ecology and connect the riverfront with downtown. The new park will support diverse programming and active recreation and provide enhanced infrastructure for festivals, such as the annual Memphis in May International Festival.

“We are honored to have been selected to realize the first part of our Riverfront Concept, and we are excited to apply the lessons we have learned from the last two and a half years of listening to Memphians and studying the riverfront,” said Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang. “We look forward to working with SCAPE to design a vibrant and inclusive new Tom Lee Park with an architecture and landscape that will strengthen relationships between Memphians and the Mississippi River.”

“At the core of our work, we believe in a process of co-creation to translate complex visions into realizable actions alongside neighborhoods and stakeholders,” said founder and principal Kate Orff. “Tom Lee Park presents a tremendous opportunity to engage Memphians and visitors alike with the Mighty Mississippi.”

The Memphis River Parks Partnership’s building design committee, comprised of Jason Wexler, President of Business Operations at the Memphis Grizzlies, Alan Crone, Special Counsel to Mayor Strickland, Tyree Daniels, Managing Director at Duncan Williams, Terry Lynch, President of The Southland Companies, Steve Guinn, Vice-President at Highwoods Properties, Calvin Anderson, President of Clear Strategies Group and Teresa Sloyan, President of Hyde Family Foundation will guide the design teams throughout the process. Their first meeting with Studio Gang and SCAPE teams is Friday, November 2. Advancing the connection between Tom Lee Park and Downtown Memphis is one of the committee’s key goals.

Studio Gang was previously commissioned by the Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force, under the leadership of Special Counsel Alan Crone, to deliver the Memphis Riverfront Concept. Built on significant community engagement, including more than 4,000 surveys from every ZIP code in Shelby County, the concept presents a connected set of moves that combine to create outsized value. The concept was released in late 2017, and the Partnership is responsible for advancing the concept.

The Partnership has continued to survey Memphians about what they want to see in the new park and will introduce additional public engagement opportunities in the coming months, including student-led programming.

For more information on the Memphis River Parks Partnership, visit

Image | Courtesy of Studio Gang

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at