Snøhetta Wins Wilamette Falls Design Competition


Snøhetta have been announced the winners of a national competition to design the new Willamette Falls Riverwalk along Oregon’s historic Willamette River. The winning proposal — produced in cooperation with Mayer/Reed and DIALOG — for Willamette Falls seeks to redefine the second largest waterfall in the U.S, incorporating the collective history of the site. The riverwalk project is the next step in a major redevelopment that aims to create public access to the landmark Falls and its adjacent industrial site for the first time in over a century. This summer, the winning team will start further development on their scheme.

The project description is as follows: “We envision an experientially rich riverwalk that not only  accesses and amplifies the magnetic power of the Willamette,  but also courses through time, stitching together the natural and cultural histories embedded within the Blue Heron site. The falls and the complex material layers of the site serve as a portal to the Northwest’s collective history.”

“The site’s strata tells the story of deep geology, dynamic hydrology, and vibrant  ecology, together forming the spirit of place. It tells the story  of Native Americans who first understood the site’s promise, fishing its waters and building deep tradition.”

“It tells the story of European immigrants who claimed Oregon City, carving out a grid and building settlements. It tells the story of workers and industrialists who ground flour, drove timber, spun wool, milled paper, and generated electricity.”

“It will tell the story of you, who will help lay down the next historic layer – an experiential riverwalk, foretelling a story of renewed economy,  environmental sensitivity, and historic importance.  We consider the site and the history it holds to be a sublime, one-of-a-kind landscape that should not be upstaged by the hand of any designer.”

 — Anna Kats (@coldwarcasual)

Image courtesy the design team.