Landmark Plaza, Articulating Planes

Status:  2012 St. Paul Prize Competition - Winning Entry - Mark Stankey

Location:  Landmark Plaza, St. Paul, Minnesota

Challenge: The proposal of this annual design competition is to focus on developing ideas for programming, designing and occupying public space. The competition seeks solutions that innovate the way we perceive and use space within the urban core.

This year's program focuses on the design of a multi-use pavilion for Landmark Plaza in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Landmark Plaza is an active space that hosts many outdoor events, such as the annual WinterSkate ice rink and the Ordway's International Children's Festival. These events often necessitate the rental, set-up and dismantling of stages, kiosks, ice rinks, tents, portable restrooms, table and chairs. The design challenge is to create a multi-use facility that supports outdoor events while also helping to minimze, albiet not completely eliminate, the amount of temporary structures required to support festivities.

The proposed solution uses passive and active ground plane articulation to alter Landmark Plaza, thereby addressing the diverse needs of Landmark Plaza.  This retains and improves the public experience of the plaza between events.  

Utilizing elevational shifts, passive articulation of the landscape plane creates permanent, inhabitable spatial opportunities in the interstitial space between an accessible, vegetated walking surface and the Plaza ground plane.  Hydraulically operated active planes located towards the center of the park can be positioned at different heights and angles, permitting the creation of function-specific venues within the Plaza.