SWA Group's enlivening landscape architecture is the focus at new City Creek Center complex in Salt Lake City
In Salt Lake City, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, a failed enclosed shopping mall downtown had long been slated for redevelopment and was finally realised with the opening last month of City Creek Center, a 12-city-block community. At 23 acres, the new scheme is the largest retail/office/residential shopping centre to open in the United States in years.
Holding the development together is City Creek Center’s one-of-a-kind, 1km long creek: a man-made stream providing a pedestrian-oriented green space meandering in an ‘S’ shape through the entire property, and harkening to the city’s history by recreating the stream on which Salt Lake City was founded in 1847. Designed by SWA Group, it is the largest flowing watercourse built on-structure in the U.S., and features three waterfalls and a fountain with 50ft-high jets. The Regent Court waterfall, the largest of the features, includes a 17ft cascade of 2,500 gallons per minute over native local boulders of up to 14 tonnes, brought in from nearby sources.
With a creek as its central spine, City Creek Center’s dozens of retailers, office buildings and residential towers were afforded a destination-oriented amenity connecting each component for easy access, wayfinding - and entertainment.
From its inception, the 23-acre mixed-use City Creek Center was aimed to feature a creek to enliven the shops and promenades and provide a respite for the thousands of people expected to live, work and shop there annually. The project is a development of City Creek Reserve, Inc. and Taubman Centers Inc. In addition to SWA Group, the design team included ZGF Architects for the residential towers and Callison Architects (in partnership with Hobbs and Black) in designing the retail centre.
“City Creek is one of the most technical and dynamic projects undertaken by SWA in our 50-year history, and makes City Creek Center and downtown Salt Lake City a destination-community unlike any other in the U.S.,” said Rene Bihan, principal of SWA. “Residents, retailers and office tenants who are already populating City Creek Center have sought out proximity and access to this unique amenity, whether as a store-front overlooking the creek or to walk along the trickling waterway.”