The master plan for revitalizing Minneapolis’ Mississippi Riverfront provides a new model for urban living on the waterfront. Focused on five miles of riverfront land north of downtown, the design defines new connections with the river and river life, weaving these rich experiences back into the city. By developing a network of bridges, pavilions, parks, infrastructure, and natural ecologies, the project cleans and re-constitutes this working riverfront and guides a longer-term transformation for the city.


During his time as Senior Designer at MMA, Wil Carson designed a family of bridges that links the river’s banks as places to cross and destinations with flexible platforms for events and recreation. Each river crossing is distinct and individual bridges are designed to take full advantage of the unique characteristics of their sites. The Bridges are linked to one another via the revitalized Riverwalk and area parks that also connect commuters from Northeast Minneapolis via a proposed light rail corridor on the western edge of the site. Integrated photovoltaic panels and fish-safe turbines at each structural pier allow the bridges to function as zero-energy structures, providing energy for lighting and conditioning.

Through the adaptive reuse of existing barges for recreation and performance, the project engages the Mississippi’s rich history as a working river yet transforms the river from an industrial conduit into a source of recreation. A Swimming Barge inserts a series of pools, a diving platform, an outdoor terrace, and a cafe on an existing barge. A second barge provides a platform for performance on the water. This Amphitheater Barge’s twinned shape creates a seating bowl above the barge deck below, providing an intimate space for performance.