Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]

Categories: Minneapolis
Three visions for the new Nicollet.
The renderings released a week ago offered a sneak peek, but last night, the three design teams selected to pitch the future of Nicollet Mall got to deliver their full visions in a two-hour event at the Guthrie Theater.

All three proposals plan to resurface the streets, connect the pedestrian mall to the Mississippi and to Loring Park, and add plenty of lights. But each also includes its own distinct quirks. We sifted through the 125-slide presentation and pulled the highlights.

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First up, Montreal-based firm Daoust Lestage presented a vision of fountains, furniture, 375 new trees, and practical innovations like linear drainage troughs to solve the mall's current structural problems.

More public art and stuff to do:
Daoust Lestage
Giant overhead lights, fountains, and uniform-looking benches:
Daoust Lestage
And an option to transform for "market mode":
Daoust Lestage
Next was James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind projects like New York City's the High Line and Chicago's Navy Pier. The pitch presented Nicollet as a green link with three distinct zones -- live, work, and play -- complete with a cycle track, fire pit, and tents for the farmers market.

Better skyway connections:
James Corner Field Operations
Tree groves with seating (and an option for the possible streetcar in the background):
James Corner Field Operations
Light fixtures like the "glow worm":
James Corner Field Operations
Last to present was Berkeley-based Tom Leader Studio/!melk, which described a Nicollet with 18 percent more green space, better bike access, and three new plazas -- Market Plaza, Loring Plaza, and Gateway Park.

The vision for a plaza at 12th and 13th Streets:
Tom Leader Studio/!melk
The overhead view of Market Plaza:
Tom Leader Studio/!melk
The new Market Plaza, with a designated event building featuring a retractable roof:
Tom Leader Studio/!melk
A panel of 13 judges is reviewing the three pitches, and will announce a decision on Thursday. That choice, the Nicollet Mall Project clarifies, isn't of a specific plan, but rather of a team the city will work with to shape the final design.

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