When you think of Green Bay, Wisconsin, what images come mind?
Green and gold. Lambeau Field. The Packers.
More than almost any other city in the United States, Green Bay has become synonymous with the major league football team it hosts. So when Cuningham Group sat down with city officials to create a design for an underutilized waterfront area on the Fox River, they came face-to-face with this question: How do you create a unique attraction for a city that is already heavily branded?
In order to create a strong image capable of standing on its own, Cuningham Group purposefully distanced itself from Green Bay’s other main attraction: Lambeau Field. This meant that designers stayed away from both the Packer’s green and gold colors and the iconic brown brick stadium. Instead, they found inspiration in shipyard imagery, incorporating an industrial aesthetic of steel trusses, gantries and containers.
A Flexible Design
Cuningham Group knew that in order to establish the “Shipyard” brand, the space would need to be flexible, adaptable and ever-changing. Like the city itself, change and evolution are incorporated into the master plan. For example, the container park can transition to a new area and formation; the floating bridge allows for the potential development of a larger urban beach; the parking lot can be turned into a through-road; the soccer field’s footprint allows for an easy stadium bleacher expansion and a venue for concerts and festivals. In a strongly branded location like Green Bay, this kind of fluid concept plan is essential in staying relevant.
Ultimately, what makes the space unique is that it is designed directly for the people of Green Bay, not a pre-existing organization. Rather than relying on the draw of a single tenant or event, the success of the Shipyard will be in its ability to attract a broad cross-section of the population, to provide entrepreneurial opportunities, and to showcase the playful and creative energies of the city. The design invests in the enrichment of the city’s citizens, effectively making them both the client and the brand.
Last month, Green Bay city officials approved the plan for initial development phases and are now in the process of seeking construction bids. Although there is no set deadline, portions of the plan will hopefully open summer 2019.