26th Avenue Overlook

MN_Minneapolis_26thAvenueOverlook_byBarrettDoherty_2021_003_sig_001.jpg
Minneapolis, MN
United States
26th Avenue Overlook

Landscape Information

Sited 25 feet above the shoreline, this spoon-shaped overlook provides an intimate promontory to enjoy Mississippi River views. Completed in 2021, the site is on 26th Avenue North, proposed by H.W.S. Cleveland as part of a parkway system encircling the city. As the city’s boundaries expanded, so did plans for the parkway, and this connection to the river for North Minneapolis was not implemented. Construction of I-94 formed an additional barrier between neighborhoods to the west, now primarily African American, and the Mississippi.

The recent completion of the 26th Avenue North Greenway honors Cleveland’s vision, now affording critical missing river connectivity (via the Theodore Wirth Regional Trail) to the Jordan and Willard Hay Neighborhoods. The overlook functions not as a conclusion but as a choreographed loop leading visitors back into the neighborhood.

A tilted beacon rises through a hole in the platform, inviting visitors to explore. Blue netting around the cylindrical beacon suspends adventurers above the rocky slope below, while a curved bench around part of the opening offers a seated perspective. An industrial-inspired materials palette of aluminum, steel, concrete and wood references surrounding land uses historically and today. A team from 4RM+ULA architects, TEN x TEN landscape architects, the park board, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, and Juxtaposition Arts' Environmental Design Lab held numerous community meetings to plan and design the overlook. Working collaboratively, the team created a visitor experience that made visible the site’s industrial and ecological heritage. More than just a gathering space, the project also addressed shoreline restoration and slope stabilization with native plantings.