$15,000 awarded for Warner Beach design contest

Partnerships aims to bring Greater Madison community “Back to the Beach”

MADISON, Wis. — Clean Lakes Alliance is pleased to announce the top three prize winners of the Reimagining Warner Beach design contest. Made possible with the support of a Madison Community Foundation 75th Anniversary Year of Giving grant, the contest asked amateur and professional designers to come up with plans for Warner Beach that focused on improving water quality, sustainability, community access, and placemaking to promote community health, happiness and wellbeing.

“We’re thrilled to see exciting new visions for Warner Beach—and for all our beaches—come to life as part of Madison Community Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Year of Giving,” said president Bob Sorge. “Our lakes are among Madison’s most unique natural and cultural assets, and the winning designs reflect our community’s passion and determination to ensure these precious resources are healthy and thriving for generations to come.”

“Many of the 26 design entries brought the energy and vision the community needs for ourbeaches to improve,” said Clean Lakes Alliance executive director James Tye. “We’re excited to see how these designs could help influence the City of Madison Parks Division as beaches are renovated in our community.”

The Winners

1st Place ($10,000 award) – MSR Design of Minneapolis, MN with “The Living Edge”

"The Living Edge"
“The Living Edge” – MSR Design Team

Members: Susan Olmsted, Patrick Lynch, Traci Lesneski and Paul Mellblom

Excerpt from the design statement:

“The Living Edge…tripling the effective shoreline area along the 1/4-mile stretch of Lake Mendota at Warner Beach, demonstrating a replicable approach to build resilience in the face of climate change, enhance biological diversity, and restore ecosystem function. In addition to amplifying ecological performance, the increase in lake edge multiplies the land-water interface to accommodate extraordinary experiences for people, nurture our affinity for the water’s edge, and promote well being and delight.”

2nd Place ($4,000 award) – Edgewood College Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Program with “The Great 58”

"The Great 58"
“The Great 58” – Edgewood College, BWZ Architects, and Danforth Illustrations

Members: Elizabeth Cwik (AIA, BWZ Architects), David Danforth (Danforth Illustrations), Johanna Golden, Halie Tenor, Nyra Jordan, Michael Weber, Jay White, Amanda Wilson, Carrie Sanders (instructor)

Excerpt from the design statement:

“We place the residents of the Warner Beach neighborhood at the center of our process so that their voice is tightly woven throughout our work…We believe the design approach we’ve taken accomplishes the following: celebrates the existing park and its assets, allows the community to envision what they want the park to be in the future, celebrates the open space in the park to inspire imagination of visitors to connect with nature and use areas based on their own desires, [and] promotes year-round use of the beach…”

3rd place ($1,000 award) – Saiki Design of Madison, WI with “Warner Beach – A Case Study in Urban Ecotones”

"Warner Beach - A Case Study in Urban Ecotones"
“Warner Beach – A Case Study in Urban Ecotones” – Saiki Design Team

Members: Joe Porter, Tom Martin

Excerpt from the design statement:

“Our inspiration for participating in this contest stems from our view of land and water as unifying elements within the urban fabric of our communities and the role they play in environmental, social and cultural sustainability…By undulating the shoreline, we were able to create pockets of protected habitat, control erosion, and provide bio-infiltration opportunities that help clean the lake while providing users with more diverse and immersive waterfront experiences and educational opportunities.”

The identities of designers were hidden during the judging process to ensure objectivity. According to the seven-member panel of judges, the selection of winning designs was not easy, with considerable discussion and debate during the deliberation process.

Next step: reviewing our public beaches and lakeshore

Clean Lakes Alliance’s work to spark community attention to and investment in our beacheswill continue with a “State of the Beaches” report and inventory. Along with community partners, Clean Lakes Alliance is conducting an evaluation of public beaches and lakeshore areas around all five lakes to inventory features like shoreline, vegetation, accessibility, stormwater management and water quality, and amenities. The result will be an actionable report assessing the overall health and conditions of our beaches.

Madison Parks will take all designs submitted and will gather community input starting this fall. The parks division hopes to gain approval for changes from the Board of Park Commissioners early next year with project implementation starting sometime in mid to late 2019.


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