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Xtreme LA - Bison Bridge

Iowa State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

An Xtreme LA Challenge

On October 11 - 13, 2022, Landscape Forms, North America’s leading designer and manufacturer of premium site furniture, structure, and LED lighting, sponsored its 11th Xtreme LA challenge at The Figge Art Museum exhibition and education facility in Davenport, Iowa.

As in previous Xtreme LA events, the challenge for this fast-paced charrette focused on an issue in landscape and the built environment critical to the local community. Xtreme LA was presented in partnership between Landscape Forms and the Landscape Architecture Foundation and co-hosted by Kirt Martin, Chief Innovation Officer at Landscape Forms; Lance McOlgan, Principal at Lamar Johnson Collaborative; Matt Maranzana, Principal at Lamar Johnson Collaborative; and Barbara Deutsch, Chief Executive Officer of the Landscape Architecture Foundation.

The Challenge

Propose ideas and solutions surrounding the Bison Bridge project – the prospective transformation of the I-80 bridge between LeClaire, Iowa and Rapids City, Illinois into a wildlife crossing, outdoor recreation destination, and potential new national park. For each state’s site area and the bridge that joins them together, use the language of the landscape to design an exciting and memorable visitor experience that speaks to the Bison Bridge project’s four central development strategies: The location's desired status as a national park, the river, the native habitats and landscapes, and the connections with the communities the overall development will embrace and enhance.

Team One - Presentation

Team Two - Presentation

We asked participants to propose solutions that incorporate innovative concepts in programming, landscaping, site furnishing, and sustainable design to help achieve these overarching goals:

  • Rehabilitate habitat
  • Celebrate an iconic species
  • Provide new value for the local area and nearby communities
  • Attract visitors regionally and beyond to the site
  • Promote local economies
  • Educate visitors about native ecosystems
  • Connect communities on either side of the bridge to one another

The 36-hour event, designed to foster creative thinking, team building and facility of expression, worked to bring fresh thinking to an innovative project with meaningful potential for a region’s community and ecosystems, as well as to inspire continued discussion about a more sustainable and more equitable future for infrastructure policy overall. Nine young design professionals identified by their firms as potential leaders and twelve exceptional students from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Iowa State University landscape architecture programs worked in two teams under the mentorship of two distinguished landscape architects: Chad Brintnall, Principal at SmithGroup, and Khyati Saraf, Senior Associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

More Xtreme LA Challenges

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Xtreme LA: A New Vision

Xtreme LA: Teamwork in Tucson

Xtreme LA: Envisioning Life on the Edge ​

Xtreme LA: The Art Coast of Michigan

Xtreme LA: A University. A Town. A Place to Call Home.

Xtreme LA: Sea Level Rise in San Francisco Bay

Xtreme LA: Towers and Trails...Bridges and Bats