Water Works Park Tampa, Florida

Event Pavilion

Master Plan

Aerial View

Main Entry to Park

Historic Image of Springs

The restored springs today

View of Pavilions at Playground Area

Event Pavilion with City of Tampa Downtown beyond

Splash Pad


Dog Park Pavilion

Period Gazebo

Picnic Pavilions

Picnic Pavilions at night

Client: City of Tampa, Parks and Recreation Department

Location: 3002 North 15th Street

Site: The project encompasses approximately four acres along a particularly picturesque section of the Hillsborough River at the current terminus of Tampa’s Riverwalk, just north of the city’s downtown core.

Program Challenge:   Rehabilitate an existing park that had seen better days, rehabilitate and restore the natural environments including one of the City’s first drinking water supply sources, a natural spring at the northern end of the park.

Solution: The park is unique in that it functions as much as an urban commons as it does a neighborhood park:  it is an event venue destination as well as a delightful green space for spontaneous evening strolls.  If ever an urban park sought to offer something for everyone, Water Works Park does not disappoint. Visitors of all ages will discover a broad range of elements within the park landscape from which to observe and engage the built environment.

From a distance, Water Works Park is impressive in both scale and material and the visual contrast of angular architectural forms and curvilinear landscape elements is both immediate and stunning.  Water Works Park is notable in location, history and purpose, with an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities seldom assembled within a single, urban park. A truly multi-functional public space, the park contains a playground for both wet and dry play, an events lawn with a Special Event Pavilion for performances; as well as a dog park, a period gazebo, and a healing garden.

The park’s buildings and pavilions are all inspired by the existing 7:12 roof slope of the adjacent historic Water Works Building. Together they are related to one another as in the simple, pure, repetitive forms of Japanese origami to create a consistent architectural vocabulary that weaves its way throughout the park.  Once inside the park, it becomes quickly apparent that there is an array of discoveries for the senses to explore. The Florida-friendly plant palette with an emphasis on native plant species refers to the site’s historical value and also supports the City’s desire to provide inspiring and sustainable landscapes in public spaces.  Extra care was taken by the Design-Build team to preserve as many viable existing trees as possible and other elements within the irreplaceable, natural landscape for future generations.

The restoration of the existing natural spring, which had for years been diverted from its natural flow pattern into the Hillsborough River, was central to the development and success of the park.   The entire spring basin was rehabilitated, and the natural flow and native plant materials restored.  Once restored, wildlife responded immediately by taking up residence in the spring and its shorelines.  Today, the spring is clean and clear, bustling with fish, birds, lily pads, and even manatees.

2015, Merit Award for Architecture, Small Project Category, AIA Tampa Bay

2014 Outstanding Contribution to the Community, The Planning Commission, Planning and Design Award

2014 Exterior Architecture Excellence Award, CREW Excellence Awards

2014 Urban Excellence Award Winner : Public Sector Person, Project or Program Award