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Alumni Park at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

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Alumni Park is a spectacular new lakefront destination that honors and celebrates the Alumni of the University of Wisconsin and invokes future generations to live “the Wisconsin Idea”—that one’s education should influence and benefit other community members’ lives.

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Alumni Park at University of Wisconsin-Madison_10

For this 24/7, four-season park, RAA created the interpretive “boardwalk” called Alumni Way, a series of “Story Waves” with selected quotes from distinguished alumni, a variety of whimsical sculptures, art installations, gathering spaces and gardens with native plantings—all seamlessly integrated into the landscape design.

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Alumni Park at University of Wisconsin-Madison_4

Alumni Way is the park’s main organizing feature. It begins with a 30,000-pound granite fountain, whose ripple effect design feature is a metaphor for UW-Madison alumni’s positive impacts spreading out worldwide. The main storytelling exhibits are five 18-foot long stone and enamel panels that focus visitors’ attention along Alumni Way. The walkway bisects an elliptical events lawn and terminates at the elevated lakefront “Progress Point.” Arrayed around these elements are the “Picnic Knoll” and “Outdoor Classroom.”

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Beautifully lit after sunset, the park offers a robust schedule of seasonal festivals, special events, and workshops, making it a platform for lifelong learning. Alumni Park is the centerpiece of a new lakefront redevelopment project that connects the campus to the lakefront, joining Memorial Terrace—the second oldest student union in the country—and the newly renovated One Alumni Place, the home of The Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Year 2017

Size 1.3 acres

Architect Uihlein Wilson Architects Smithgroup JJR

AwardsApplied Arts Award: Winner, Environmental/SignageGraphis Design Annual: SilverIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Finalist, EnvironmentsThe Society for Enviromental Graphic Design (SEGD) Global Design Award: FinalistGOOD DESIGN® Award: Winner, Environments

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Photography Courtesy Alumni Park, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association