While the Memorial Union’s lakefront Terrace has long served as Madison’s most popular and iconic public waterfront space, the shoreline infrastructure was showing its age, and physical and visual connection to the water were interrupted by parking and delivery logistics. Alumni Park helped fulfill the promise of UW’s lakefront gateway, connecting campus and community along a seven-block East Campus corridor flowing directly to the water. The distinctive architectural character of the Red Gym, the visitor experience of the Memorial Union, and views to and from the lake have been greatly enhanced.
The park’s design and construction needed to be fully integrated with improvements to the adjacent Memorial Union, Terrace, and shoreline. To facilitate close coordination between these concurrent projects, the planning team adopted a shared Building Information Modeling program. This comprehensive 3D model provided a seamless transition to construction documentation, along with invaluable virtual-reality review sessions that immersed decision-makers and funders in the overall design.
Embodying the university’s mission of social impact and service was a core principal of the design program. The park’s design reflects this mission throughout, literally and symbolically. Starting with the ripple-like waves emanating from the entrance fountain, the design expresses the ripple effect that UW alumni achievements have had on the world. The updatable panel design allows for new ripples of the Wisconsin Idea to be added moving forward. Alumni Park is a campus space of unique intent and transformative impact. Its design realized a century-long vision for UW-Madison, creating a signature destination commemorating 170 years of alumni accomplishments.
SmithGroup; also FRS Design Group, LLC; Arnold and O’Sheridan, Inc.; Fountain Technologies LTD; Uihlein Wilson Ramlow Stein; Mead and Hunt; Ralph Applebaum Associates; Graef