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Sasaki Shortlisted in Competition to Reimagine Madison, WI Waterfront

Sasaki has been selected as one of three finalists in the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge. This competition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of Madison, WI’s urban waterfront. If selected, Sasaki’s master plan will transform Madison’s foremost public lakefront into a beautiful, activity-rich signature park.

To learn more about Sasaki’s vision, watch the team’s presentation to the Madison community. Jump to 1 hour and 15 minutes into the video to see Sasaki’s presentation

Enhance the Built and Natural Environment

Throughout its history Madison has always been deeply connected to its waterfront because of its unique position as an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. Sasaki’s vision for the waterfront is a park that will embody the character and values of the city and foster a sense of civic pride. It would incorporate innovative and iconic features that are regional attractions, creating a “must-see” destination. The plan will capitalize on the natural beauty of Lake Monona and aim to inspire a deep spiritual connection with nature, history, and place. It will also create opportunities to educate visitors on the site’s natural, environmental, and cultural history.

A Place for All to Connect and Be Connected

The Lake Monona Waterfront is the central, physical link between Madison’s South, Downtown, East, and West neighborhoods. Sasaki’s plan will enhance and build upon existing connections, seamlessly integrating the park into the fabric of the city. Sasaki will make improvements to the site’s connectivity features like bike lanes and trails. The team is excited to tackle the unique design challenges the site presents, like working with complex street and rail barriers and complicated intersections. 

Equitable Access to Parks

The park will be a family-centered destination, and Sasaki will aim to create a place where people from diverse social, economic, and racial backgrounds feel comfortable coming together for recreation, entertainment, and connecting with nature. In turn, Sasaki’s master plan will be a fusion of environmental, social, and economic sustainability principles. Sasaki hopes that the park will become a catalyst for reinvestment in the community through job creation, development, new businesses, and tourism. 

Understanding Cultural, Ecological, and Hydrologic History

Lake Monona has a rich history. Thousands of years ago, Lake Monona was part of the larger Glacial Lake Yahara. As ice retreated, it left fertile ground and became the home of the HoChunk Nation. Our team understands the area’s long history and that 98% of the cultural timeline is prior to Western settlement. Now, this waterfront site is an integral part of the Four Lakes Area Watershed, and Sasaki’s master plan will improve upon and support existing ecosystems.

Other upcoming events to learn about the project include:

Design Challenge Check-In

Monday, November 7, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. CT

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Lecture Hall, 1 John Nolen Drive

Design teams will virtually present initial thoughts and concepts in developing a master plan vision for the Lake Monona Waterfront.

Design Challenge Master Plan Presentations

Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. CT

Olin Park Facility, 330 E. Lakeside Street

Design teams will present in person their proposed master plan for the Lake Monona Waterfront.

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