Montpelier 2030 Design Challenge Submission

Wiemann Lamphere Architects have recently submitted a series of designs and information to the Montpelier 2030 design challenge. The original round of judging was completed through a combination of public vote and comment and the award committees deliberation. Of 28 contributors, our designs were chosen as one of the top 5 finalists to be submitted for the final round of judging. Below are the materials that we submitted for this competition.

 

THE CHALLENGE:

To craft a solution for Montpelier, and beyond, that is inspired and forward thinking, while still being relevant and viable. To define a template of solutions that are expandable, flexible, and able to unfold as the future allows. To build up from existing infrastructure – railways, roadways, mass transit routes, district heating plant. To celebrate the patterns of live, work, learn and play that are working, while improving the ones that need improvement. To expand an urban platform while broadening its focus on the natural environment.

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THE CONCEPTS:

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY – Transportation, buildings, & energy:

Our solution looks to address environmental sustainability with a holistic approach. For transportation, we look to reduce the use of personal automobiles by developing a public transportation and pedestrian network that can support the City of Montpelier. At the larger local and regional scales, we are looking to integrate a public transit trolley system serving major business, civic, community and residential areas along the Main and State Street corridors. We envision the creation of dedicated alternative transportation hubs at the East and West city entrances that would house car share, bike share, regional commuters, and trolley cars. We are utilizing the proposed bus facility and existing railways to create a central node of regional transportation. Connecting all transportation hubs and major points of interest is a new dynamic spine of pedestrian circulation. This spine features an indoor pedestrian link that will connect people throughout the downtown district and places them at the heart of a vibrant new development of public parks, housing, cultural, & community space that front the Winooski River & the North Branch. This protected pedestrian circulation along with a convenient trolley system will become the prime method of circulating throughout the downtown. Along with the removal of street parking on a large portion of State Street, our plan is to encourage a more pedestrian friendly environment at all times of the year.

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For buildings, this plan is meant to guide development in a way that balances and improves existing city use patterns. We look to infill areas along Main & State Streets with mixed use development that enhances the street wall and strengthens the already vibrant business district. New housing is placed along the pedestrian spine and riverfront, allowing thousands of residents to enjoy all the amenities of Montpelier within a short walk. As an anchor to the city, we have placed a Convention Center & Hotel at the Main Street Gateway. This placement allows for connection to the commuter hub, and aims to keep visitor vehicle traffic from entering the downtown district by connecting all visitors to the businesses, parks and cultural centers by way of the pedestrian link, enhancing the visitor experience.

To reduce energy use, new buildings will be high performance structures that take advantage of prime solar orientation, onsite renewable energy, and contain thermal energy storage chambers to store excess heat for use when demand is higher. The use of high performance buildings coupled with thermal storage will allow the district heating plant to connect to more facilities or reduce the output of new energy required at a given time.

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SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY – Community, Culture & Education:

Our goal is to reinforce and educate sustainability at every turn, beginning at the major access points to the City: Our plan strengthens the Taylor Street entrance and embodies the character of a sustainable future.  It is our intent to provide educational opportunities within the indoor pedestrian spine to bring the concepts of a sustainable future to the forefront and make people aware of their individual impact and responsibility towards Montpelier’s carbon neutral goal.  We have added a cultural hub along Route 2 and connected it with pedestrian links to enhance the riverfront and provide community access and educational opportunities throughout, while providing event space and amenities to the City of Montpelier.

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DURABLE SUSTAINABILITY – Resiliency

We have addressed durability and longevity at a large scale by designing new structures on a raised plinth. This concept raises vulnerable uses above the flood plain, while providing space for covered parking and building thermal storage chambers.  On top of this plinth is the development of dynamic community green spaces and buildings, all of which are protected from future flooding.

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