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City Creek Center, Salt Lake City, United States

Wednesday 29 Aug 2012

Lifting the lid

Photography by William Tatham, Tom Fox 
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Award Entry

A revolutionary landscape-centered approach to Salt Lake City’s downtown core 

City Creek Center challenges the paradigm of retail development by incorporating a bold landscape strategy to centre a dense mix of residential households, offices and retail spaces. When SWA arrived on the project, the clients wanted to redevelop an aging and failing retail centre into a mixed-use asset for all Salt Lake City to enjoy. City Creek Center is the initial project in a city-wide revitalisation effort known as Downtown Rising.

While many may have looked at the large 660 ft superblocks or the 120 ft street right of ways as large obstacles to overcome, the design team and the ownership believed the blocks held great opportunity. By bisecting the blocks and filling in with this urban landscape, there was a tremendous opportunity to insert a pedestrian layer to complement existing transit flows of automobiles, mass transit, and light rail.

The existing urban fabric did not have to completely change and go away but rather this new pedestrian layer could be inserted into the old and a new scale, a new texture, and a new urban design could come into Salt Lake City. Of utmost importance to the client and owner groups were the intended retail success and the inclusion of a creek which directly recreates characteristics of the real City Creek. The client quite literally suggested a hike through the creek to better understand their intentions.

SWA did just that and followed up with full-scale off-site mock-ups of the cascades which provided all stakeholders with the confidence that a naturalistic creek could be set on-structure atop seismic considerations 25% higher than those in San Francisco.

Since its opening on March 22, 2012, retailers here boast the highest sales out of any of their stores attributing the success to the overall revolutionary design moves featuring a landscape centered approach.

Project Team: Landscape Architect: SWA Group Retail Architect: Callison architects in partnership with Hobbs and Black Residential Architect: ZGF Architects Owner: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints / Taubman Centers, Inc. Project Developer: City Creek Reserve, Inc. and Taubman Centers Inc. Fountain Consultant: CMS Collaborative Irrigation Consultants: MGB+A Ecological Consultant: Applied Ecological Services Ichthyologist: Dave Hill

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