Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center Vision Plan

The new Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center Vision Plan capitalizes on linking together the historical and scientific narratives unique to Memphis. 

The Cultural Center will showcase the City’s rich heritage and the Aquarium Museum, a best-in-class 21st-century experience, will fuel economic downtown development, rivaling other nationally known aquarium-focused waterfront developments.

The proposed Vision Plan connects river, island, harbor, and bluff as one park experience. This proposal is informed by the Memphis Riverfront Concept (i.e. to Foster/Restore/Connect), as developed by Studio Gang Architects. 

The Vision Plan capitalizes on the built assets created in the 20th century, enhancing them with a pedestrian-oriented public park and engaging amenities. It links these to a Cultural Center, where the Fourth Bluff Civic Commons will begin.

The Vision Plan utilizes and celebrates the dynamic relationship and elevation changes that exists between the river and land. A sequence of spaces along the length of the Aquarium Museum and the corresponding Mississippi River Model (destined to become a National Historic Landmark) will tell a story that is only possible in Memphis. The journey is populated by interactive exhibits and educational opportunities, oriented around water studies.

The Vision Plan will establish a seamless experience along the river and harbor edges, which has yet to occur. The landscape, materials, amenities, and enhanced features will reflect the heritage of the site and will create a unique sense of place. This Plan connects civic spaces on both sides of the river and harbor, elevating the economic potential and public well-being of Memphis.

This Vision Plan was created by archimania with Peter Chermayeff LLC and BWS&C. 

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book—a book that... told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.
— Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi