GGLO advances to Stage 2 of Sandpoint design competition

April 13, 2023 / The Reader

The city of Sandpoint hosted a public meet-and-greet April 12 of the three teams selected to advance into Stage 2 of its downtown waterfront design competition. “Literally people from all over the world…wanted to be a part of this competition,” said City Council President Kate McAlister, in her introductory remarks. “We are really excited. We can’t wait.”

The three teams selected for Stage 2 included First Forty Feet, with Greenworks, Fehr & Peers, Century West Engineering and North Root Architecture; GGLO + Bernardo Wills, with Welch Comer, Greg Moller, Erin Blue and Sarah Thompson Moore; and Skylab, with PLACE, KPFF, PAE & LUMA, Brightworks and ECONorthwest.

City Hall contracted with Portland-based architect and master planner Don Stastny to manage the competition, who presided over the presentations. He framed the contest—one of more than 70 he’s managed around the globe—as an effort to “see the potential of how this community could physically develop to support the culture, arts and community that is here.” He said, “what we bring to this is an understanding of how you build cities, how you build communities, how you build processes that are transparent”.

GGLO, contracted with the city on the Parks and Rec. Master Plan, leads the second team in Stage 2. The Seattle-based landscape architect firm GGLO, represented by Principal Mark Sindell, framed its presentation as representing the “realm of where cities and nature meet, which we think can be accomplished poetically, rather than as a collision, as often happens.”

If selected, its Boise office would be working closely on the Sandpoint waterfront project. “We see each project as an opportunity to transform an environment in ways that enhance its beauty and support the well-being of people and the planet,” Sindell said, later adding with respect to nature, “let’s respect it, let’s protect it and let’s restore it.” The company has worked in various capacities on projects in Caldwell, Idaho; Coeur d’Alene; Spokane; and other locations, specifically geared toward reclaiming waterfronts from past industrial uses and reconnecting communities to — at least in the case of Sandpoint — what Sindell described as their “lakefront living room.”

Teams broke out into discussion with members of the public following the April 12 presentation, and Thursday, April 13, would spend the day touring the downtown waterfront site between Bridge Street and the Panida Theater, getting to know one another and the community. Next steps in the design competition include a mid-course review in about three weeks with members of the technical advisory group — which includes city staff members — then design concepts due at the end of May. A series of evaluations will follow, which will include public exhibits and presentations.

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