Architectural tragedy has struck downtown Sioux Falls. What started out with high hopes and ideals to be a vibrant new hi-rise(ish) development downtown has had a major hiccup… well, honestly… more like an amputation. The Village on the River project, which was a partnership between the City of Sioux Falls and developer Village River Group generally providing a parking ramp obscured and built over with mixed use development of offices, retail, and hotel (details in the linked article above) is now going to be left as an unfinished concrete parking ramp; one that was never designed to be just a stand-alone parking structure.
This is not good for downtown Sioux Falls (nor would it be good for any downtown). This ramp alone was never intended to provide a vibrant street presence and certainly doesn’t lend to a pedestrian atmosphere (other than providing a place for people to park and then walk from). The details are still unclear as to the next steps forward, but this can’t be left as is – something must be done.
From a design standpoint, it presents an interesting challenge – as I understand it, the ramp was designed to accommodate a building adjacent to and additional stories above, which provide an amazing set of constraints to start working with. Unfortunately, bad press will surely not encourage many – if any- to step forward and offer new development proposals and solutions. It will be interesting to watch how this moves forward, hoping that this isn’t where the story ends.
Share your thoughts in the comments below on the development, and maybe what you’d like to see done with/to/around this ramp to help integrate it better into the downtown fabric.
Chase Kramer, AIA, is an architect and Director of Design with TSP Inc. in Sioux Falls. He received his M.Arch from ISU where he focused on urban design and sustainability. Before that, he received a degree in Art from Augustana University. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and three children. Beyond Architecture, he is a musician, art lover, and fan of cheese and beer.