Three teams present visions for Lake Monona Waterfront

Lake Monona Waterfront
REVIVING LAKE MONONA by Agency Landscape Architecture + Planning (left)
The Wild Lakeshore by JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS (middle)
Voices of the Lake by Sasaki (right)

Three teams recently presented their master plan visions to the Lake Monona Waterfront Ad-hoc Committee and the residents of Madison. The shortlisted landscape architecture led teams were announced in October 2002 and include Agency Landscape + Planning, James Corner Field Operations and Sasaki.

The City of Madison Parks Division launched the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge in early 2022. The Design Challenge is a competition to create a visionary, inclusive, and environmentally focused master plan for 1.7 miles of shoreline and 17 acres of Madison’s foremost public lakefront.

The primary goals of the Design Challenge were to create a welcoming destination for all Madison residents and visitors, connect Downtown Madison to Lake Monona, enhance community connections, increase physical and visual access to the lake, improve Lake Monona’s water quality and aquatic habitat, celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural legacy in Madison, and preserve Lake Monona’s cultural history from the Ho-Chunk nation to the present day.

Each firm submission included a two-minute introductory video, presentation plans and design report.

REVIVING LAKE MONONA by Agency Landscape Architecture + Planning included a video from the future in 2122 reporting on the implementation of their vision and the “guiding principles for a 21st century Lake Monona Waterfront Vision are (1) to be bold and visionary, (2) to restore Lake Monona as an ecological resource, (3) to create safe paths for all, and (4) to embrace seasonality and climate change resilience.”

Lake Monona
REVIVING LAKE MONONA by Agency Landscape Architecture + Planning
Lake Monona
REVIVING LAKE MONONA by Agency Landscape Architecture + Planning

The Wild Lakeshore by JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS “offers an unprecedented opportunity
for Madison to redefine its relationship to Lake Monona, and more broadly, nature in the city. By connecting the lakefront to the city with connective green infrastructure, expanding territories for parkland, and softening its shoreline, the scheme envisions a place where city and nature are inseparable.”

Lake Monona
The Wild Lakeshore by JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS
Lake Monona
The Wild Lakeshore by JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS

Voices of the Lake by Sasaki – “Our vision for Lake Monona’s Waterfront comes from the following themes that emerged from conversations with community members about the city’s and lake’s future:

  • Water Dialogue: Creating a Living Edge Along Lake Monona’s Shoreline
  • Nature Dialogue: Inspiring Generational Stewards
  • City Dialogue: A Place for All to Connect & Be Connected
  • Community Dialogue: Enhancing Equitable Access to Parks
  • Culture Dialogue: Starting with the Sacred Voices
  • Architecture Dialogue: A Balanced Perspective

Our proposal prioritizes the establishment of an ecologically vibrant living edge along Lake Monona’s Waterfront.”

Lake Monona
Voices of the Lake by Sasaki
Lake Monona
Voices of the Lake by Sasaki

Next Steps

After an eight-week public consultation, the Lake Monona Waterfront Ad-hoc Committee will consider the gathered community input during their master plan evaluations, which are scheduled to occur in April. After selecting a preferred plan, the Committee will work with the respective design team to refine the option before submittal to the Common Council. The Council submittal is anticipated in August, and the plan will be referred to various City committees for further review. Parks will post periodic updates on the selection and refinement process.

The presentation materials can be reviewed at the Lake Monona Design Challenge website

Images: Courtesy of City of Madison – Lake Monona Waterfront Ad-hoc Committee

About Damian Holmes 3267 Articles
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 https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/