Olentangy River Corridor Columbus, Ohio
Project timeline: 2017
Client: Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
Scope: Waterfront & River Corridor Concept Vision
Size: 6 linear miles, 850 acres
With: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, p.c.
Claire Agre, Principal & Senior Landscape Architect
Consultants: REALM Collaborative
The Plan for the Olentangy River Corridor reframes the Olentangy as a nexus of the optimistic, creative, and diverse cultures of Columbus and strengthens transit connectivity across the city.
Meandering six miles from downtown Columbus to the Ohio State University, the Olentangy holds enormous unrealized potential. Commercial centers along the west bank have minimal connectivity to the residences they serve to the east. Regional public transport is ineffective and unpredictable. Existing vehicular passages are congested.
This proposal implements a ‘Mobility Loop’ that makes use of the city’s major thoroughfares to restructure disorganized roadways and integrate smart technologies that support increased public transit. Redundant vehicular streets are converted to pedestrian avenues. Surface parking along the river is transformed into 850 acres of green space and expanded riverfront trails that evoke the natural identity of Ohio. Olentangy Shale, native to the region, is used as an accent to highlight iconic moments, and cottonwood and sycamore trees enrich the riverbanks with native Ohio flora, brilliant colors, and tactile textures.
Three neighborhood amenities anchor the riverfront revitalization: new retail and cultural facilities among riverbank sandbar formations; an expansion of housing where University medical facilities meet the river; and a new public beach and iconic, redesigned bridge. With increased regional connectivity and centralized recreational spaces along the river, the Olentangy River Corridor realizes its potential as a functional and scenic spine of the city.