RSP Architects - Wishbone, a public promenade as center of industry and spiritual place for the indigenous people of the Dakota
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Wishbone, a public promenade as center of industry and spiritual place for the indigenous people of the Dakota

RSP Architects

Public Space  /  Future
RSP Architects

Located in the heart of Minneapolis, the Wishbone is a public promenade over the Mississippi River's only waterfall. The Wishbone utilizes the obsolete lock and dam structure to create a public elevated walkway connecting the east and west sides of the river while providing new access to the water. The place is rich with history; once as the center of industry - first lumber, then flour and more recently, hydro-electric power - and perpetually as a spiritual place for the indigenous people of the Dakota. Today, the area is increasingly popular with residents and tourists. Millions walk, run and bike along the riverbanks and over bridges. As proposed, the ¾-mile walkway will bring the public closer to the river, creating an intimate connection to the majestic power and beauty of the Mississippi. The project is designed to utilize more than 80 percent of the defunct lock and dam structure, leveraging the industrial past for a public future. The project aligns with many of the municipal long-term planning efforts by creating a destination that is thriving, connected, exciting and welcoming. The landscaped walkway will be free to the public, open year-round and feature a range of programming possibilities. Leaders from Minnesota’s Native American tribes are involved and collaborating with the design team. Several city and county officials are in support of the project moving forward. Initial studies of existing structure, river and site suggest the walkway is possible to construct but further study is necessary. Design and engineering was conceptualized by obsolete structures abandoned in the river. The designs shape takes form by connecting the river moorings and lock/dam structure. The walkway lightly touches the structure almost appearing to hover above the concrete structure. Precast concrete planks span to create the walkway. An exterior stair along the outside of the lock and dam connects the upper level of the walkway to the lower. The precast concrete stair is cantilevered off the north side of the wall creating breathtaking views of St. Anthony Falls. The walking surface is made up of precast concrete plank with benches, recreational areas, greenspace and gardens. Public infrastructure and access to green space in cities is more important than ever. This linear park creates equitable access to the river for Minneapolis residents and visitors. It gives everyone the opportunity to experience the falls in a way that wasn’t possible before.


 Minneapolis, MN
 United States
 12000 mq
 RSP Architects
 David Norback, Scott Aspenson
 Damon Farber Landscape Architects
 RSP Architects


RSP Architects was founded in 1978 in Minneapolis, MN, USA. With over 375 employees, RSP maintains offices in Minneapolis, MN; Baltimore, MD; Fort Worth, TX; Miami, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Rochester, MN; and Bangalore, India. RSP offers services for architecture, interior design, engineering, master planning, strategic branding and environmental graphic design. Our key markets are corporate workplace, mixed-use retail and hospitality, healthcare, science and technology, public sector and distribution / manufacturing.

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