Smithsonian Magazine – The Smithsonian Magazine recently featured the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library as the nation’s most innovative public library. While many cities have reduced library budgets as digital technology has become more dominant, Memphis has chosen instead to invest in their libraries and attendance in library programs has quadrupled in the last six years. Successful libraries across the country are embracing libraries as community centers. LRK designed Cloud901, prominently featured in the article, and provided architectural and interior design services for the overall Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.
Public Square – The LRK-designed Meadowbrook Park was recently featured in CNU’s journal, Public Square for it’s practical approach to landscape urbanism.
“Meadowbrook Park doesn’t look a lot like typical New Urbanism, yet it provides usable parkland and diversity of living spaces to Prairie Village, Kansas,” the article states. “The surrounding neighborhoods of single-family houses, built in the 1940s and 1950s, are better for it because they previously lacked access to parks. Residents were given the option of supporting the redevelopment of a 135-acre golf course, on the condition that most of it become public open space. With that trade-off, the City of 22,000 more than doubled its usable park space.”
Urban Land - While working together at Meadowbrook Park, LRK and VanTrust made a conscious effort to preserve more than 80 acres for public use. The open space includes destination playgrounds, an early childhood development center, paved trails, event space for up to 200 people, fishing ponds, pickleball courts, and more.
“Parks have been reintroduced into many people’s day-to-day recreation, driven by the pandemic,” said Justin Duff, Senior Director of Development at VanTrust Real Estate. “One of the strongest emerging trends this year is the focus on health and health equity. I’m hopeful that the movement toward health as well as mental and physical well-being will continue beyond the pandemic and will bring greater focus on meeting the social needs of communities.”
Caledon Citizen - Last month, the Caledon Citizen featured an article about Caledon Station, a planned transit hub located in Caledon, Ontario Canada. Caledon Station is set to be the first transit-oriented community in the area, located near the planned Caledon GO station. This project will be a master plan with a mix of uses, including green spaces, neighborhoods with a variety of housing, and a hub with shops, restaurants, and workplaces. Part of the plan is for Caledon to offer diverse residential settings, from single-family detached homes to townhomes designed for empty nesters, all connected by walkable streets and surrounded by green spaces. The project places an emphasis on walking, biking, and hiking, as well as using public transportation, diminishing car reliance and contributing to sustainability. LRK provided master planning and urban design services for Caledon Station in association with NAK Design Strategies.
Tennessee Historic Commission - LRK is pleased to announce that both The Commonwealth and Central Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton have won awards from the Tennessee Historical Commission. The awards, which were presented in May in honor of Preservation Month, recognize exemplary work done to promote historical preservation or the study of history in Tennessee. The Commonwealth, which was first built in 1924 as a Medical Arts building, received a Merit Award. LRK helped renovate and rehabilitate the space to house both office spaces and apartments, as well as retail space on the bottom floor. Central Station Hotel also received a Merit Award. Bounds & Gillespie Architects, in association with LRK, used Historic Tax Credits to rehabilitate the 1914 railroad station into the space that it is today, complete with a restaurant and gathering spaces.
Commercial Appeal – The Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board has approved a special use permit for the Downtown Memphis Commission’s planned Downtown Mobility Center. The $40 million project will be located on the corner of Beale Street and Main Street, where a 1.3- acre city-owned surface lot currently sits. The mobility center, which will replace the current lot, will include a 960-stall parking garage. Along with the parking garage, the property will also have space for bike storage, showers, lockers, electric scooter stalls, and ground-floor retail space. LRK is providing architectural design services for the project.
After 14 years of planning, Memphis city leaders have officially broken ground on the Liberty Park development. Liberty Park, which is named in honor of the Libertyland amusement park that once stood at the Fairgrounds, has been in the works for three mayoral administrations. First introduced by Mayor Herenton in 2007, this project is the “intersection of so many elements.” The project, which is a $126 million conversion of the Fairgrounds into Liberty Park, will revamp and revitalize the area surrounding the Liberty Bowl.
LRK is assisting with the mixed-use component of the property. This will include hotels on the Central Avenue section of the project as well as parking, retail, and other commercial development. In addition to these mixed-use properties designed by LRK, a sports complex that will host regional and national youth sports tournaments is also being built on-site.
Pecan Square, a new mixed-use community in Dallas, Texas, won two awards at the 2021 Golden Nugget Awards. The awards, which were announced in June, recognize the best in architecture and showcase the most exciting trends in design, planning, and building.
Jackson Hall at Pecan Square received the Grand Award for Best Recreational Use Facility. Jackson Hall, which was designed to be the main amenity structure of the 2,000-acre masterplan, was created with architectural and interior features reflecting the Texas roots of the project. The property is versatile, offering rentable space for everything from casual daytime gatherings to formal events. In addition to this award, the Pecan Square Greeting House received a Merit Award for Best Special Use Project. The Greeting House is multi-use, complete with a full-time hospitality host, a co-working space, a craft and community room, and HOA offices. LRK is proud to have provided architectural design services for both projects.
Daily Memphian – Construction at Renasant Bank’s new headquarters is nearing completion. The new building was designed to reflect the company’s transparency with customers and create comfortable spaces for the next generation of leaders.
“Retail banking has changed a lot over the years,” said LRK’s Jason Weeks. “In the old days it was ‘Your money is safe inside a fortress, a really heavy box that makes you feel safe.’ Well, now retail banking is open, and we want to highlight that. We want to allow the glass to open that up and invite people in more. Your money is still just as safe. But it’s an opportunity to really reach out to the community.”
DDC Journal — The Boardwalk at Allen Ridge was recently featured in the spring issue of DDC Journal. The development, located on nearly 100 acres, is meant to kickstart growth in the community surrounding Abilene Christian University. The development features high-quality amenities, restaurants, a yoga studio, a community playground, murals, retail, and recreational spaces—including a planned system of trails that wind throughout 35 acres. Overlooking a lake, the design strived to create an urban feel while preserving waterfront views and remaining accessible to both ACU students and others in Abilene. Principal Craig Henry said that splitting the 30,000-square-foot space into five different buildings helped to accomplish this. Henry stated that the intention was to design “varied spaces that feel good regardless of the number of people present.” Every part of the development was “intended to spark intrigue,” and is aided by murals strategically sprinkled throughout the project. As the project’s master architect, LRK will continue working on this development as it grows over time. Currently, four retail building are completed, and plans are in the works for a multifamily residential community, a hotel, an urgent care center, and a bank.