Come See the Future of Cumberland Avenue

Marleen Davis and UT StudentsCumberland Avenue’s potential future went on display at the Downtown Design Studio last night.

"Cumberland Avenue: 30 Projects in 30 years" is a collection of 30 hypothetical projects created by 15 UT College of Architecture and Design students who envision the street’s future based on the direction of the Metropolitan Planning Commission’s (MPC’s) Cumberland Avenue Corridor Plan.

Ranging from an ice hockey rink on one end of Cumberland Avenue to a research incubator at the other, the students’ projects incorporate the MPC’s guidelines for the plan by calling for three lanes of traffic instead of four, wider sidewalks, bus pullouts, decorative street fixtures and buried utilities. Many concepts also take into account current building codes as well as those likely to be in effect in the near future, while some students opted for more creative designs that rejected such limitations.

"The students were excited to re-imagine something they’re very familiar with," said Architecture Professor Marleen Davis. "They really enjoyed meeting with staff members of the city and the MPC. Although the designs are hypothetical, students like the fact that this is a ‘real-life’ project."

Cumberland Avenue ModelThe city’s goal for the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Plan is to create a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly stretch with a mix of retail, residential and business space. Most of the student projects feature amenities aimed at those traveling by foot.

"It is very exciting to see such a diversity of possibilities based on the adopted plan," said Anne Wallace, the city’s Cumberland Avenue Project Manager. "The student’s work modeling the proposed street conditions and possible building configurations brings a whole new perspective to the vision for Cumberland Avenue."

Davis’ class began gathering information from the city and the MPC in January.

"Cumberland Avenue: 30 Projects in 30 years" will be viewable at the Downtown Design Studio, located at 500 Gay Street, over the next two weeks.

For more information, visit the Cumberland Avenue study Web site.