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Shreveport Riverfront Festival Plaza

By Alva D. Logsdon and Richard M. Bodie

The city of Shreveport, Louisiana has a rich history of tradition and riverside events.  The newly constructed Shreveport Riverfront Festival Plaza will be the new home to multiple festivals and outdoor events. From the Mudbug Madness to the Red River Revel Arts Festival to the Jazz and Gumbo Festival, more than a million festival goers will converge upon the Shreveport Riverfront Festival Plaza annually. Cajun cuisine, zydeco blues and jazz create a party fair that is uniquely Louisiana.

In a state known for hosting some of the USA's most famous festival celebrations, it is only fitting that the City of Shreveport would build a plaza dedicated for the many events. Once an abandoned train depot near the riverfront that was in a run down condition, the often muddy site was frequently used to accommodate the overflow of local festivals' attendance. The project has been in planning for a decade waiting on community interest and funding.

Designating this site for renovation, a crew of several firms took "a three block blighted area in Downtown Shreveport and transformed it into the Gateway to Downtown," explained Kevin Bryan, Architect and Project Manager for Richard LeBlanc Architects.

"The project consisted of the creation of a festival plaza complete with gathering areas, full utilities for food booths, restrooms, lighting and focal structures," explained Desi Sprawls, Professional Engineer and VP, BBC Engineering, Inc. in Shreveport.

More than 200,000 square feet of Pavestone pavers were placed in a myriad of Santa Fe colors creating many mosaic designs that project focal points all along this Louisiana boardwalk.

"A field of gray pavers were used throughout the site with a red paver pathway connecting a series of multi-colored paver plazas that serve as a connection between blocks," Bryan said.

The overall aspect of the project design creates a festive mood through various paving patterns, landscape fixtures and softscape enhancements.  Concrete pavers are recognized by the design community for the ability to combine shape, colors and textures to actualize the project's design intent. A variety of mosaic designs and unique symbols were created using the pavers throughout the plaza. It is the culmination of visual impressions throughout the project that invokes excitement and celebration. Pavers and segmental retaining walls have a major contribution to the project's "experience" in that they provide environmental hues and tones not achievable in typical concrete hardscape. In addition to the city festivals which draw party revelers from several states, the plaza will also be used for outdoor concerts, farmer's market and all around community space.

While pavers were selected for this project primarily for the aesthetic effects, they also aided in combating time restraints. Previous success and curb appeal with concrete pave stones throughout the City of Shreveport's sidewalks and streets gave the city confidence in moving towards the use of concrete pavers for the project.  When the overall project faced the threat of running past the schedule of meeting the deadline for the first festival, the decision was made to utilize pavers for the entire project due to speed and efficiency in installation. Butch Bickford of the Pavestone Company explains "the project time limit was running out, the areas originally specified for poured in place concrete paving were not completed. In view of the time deadline approaching, the project designers elected to use pave stones due to the net savings of approximately three weeks of construction time due to accelerated installation time."  

12.000 face feet of Anchor Vertica Pro™ retaining wall product uniquely incorporated restrooms into a scenic overlook at the pllaza maximizing available space for festival activities.
"The paver color played a key role in creating the desired festive atmosphere," Bryan said. In fact, "it was as important as the selection of light fixtures and creation of festival arches and entry features."

Sprawls agrees. "It was imperative to have shape and color options in order to achieve the mosaic designs at the project focal points. The use of color helped to create an atmosphere that could not have been achieved otherwise."

More than 200,000 sq. ft. of paving material in a rainbow of colors including bright yellow, crystal blue, antique red, forest green and pewter were used throughout the plaza. The interlocking shapes specified included: Roman Cobble, Classico, Holland, and Uni-Anchor-Loc®.

An additional 12,000 face feet of Anchor Vertica Pro™ retaining wall product was used in the project. The wall design uniquely incorporated the restrooms into the base of a scenic overlook at the plaza. This incorporation of the restroom areas saved scarce place for the festival attendees.  Buff retaining wall products with a River Red accent band complement the overall multiple level plaza design.

 

Project Team:

Owner: City of Shreveport

Engineering Department

Applications: Walkways, plaza, scenic overlook, loading

area pavements

Engineering: BBC Engineering, Inc.

Shreveport, Louisiana

Architectural Design:

Richard LeBlanc Architects

Shreveport, Louisiana

General Contractor: Blount Brothers Construction

Shreveport, Louisiana 318/687.0359

Pave stone & Segmental Retaining Wall Manufacturer:

Pavestone Company Lacombe, Louisiana


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June 18, 2019, 6:43 pm PDT

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