Point Defiance Waterfront

Project Title: Point Defiance Waterfront
Landscape Architect: Site Workshop
Category: General Design - Public Ownership
Location: Tacoma, WA
A landscape architecture firm led the design for a decades-long endeavor to transform a Superfund site on Tacoma’s waterfront into a multi-layered recreational space that celebrates both its industrial past and the region’s natural history. The ambitious 46-acre waterfront redevelopment is a major expansion of the historic, 760-acre Point Defiance Park on the footprint of a former ASARCO smelter, and includes a pedestrian bridge that provides a long-missing link to the Downtown-to-Defiance multi-modal trail. The heart of the project is an 11-acre park built over the man-made peninsula that was formed by the gradual accretion of arsenic- and lead-laden slag that was routinely dumped into Puget Sound day after day over 70 years. The project highlights the tension between the site’s productive industrial past and its rich natural surroundings, reflecting the complex identity of Tacoma and its aspirations for the future.

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