Valparaiso Central Park Expansion
As Valparaiso Central Park and the Porter Health Amphitheater have become a popular destination in Valparaiso, the City of Valparaiso sought to keep enthusiasm levels high, and create more downtown space for citizens to use and appreciate. The goal was to expand Central Park by creating a dedicated area for families to enjoy year-round, offering four-season activity and recreation.
Shive-Hattery worked with the City to plan the expansion and make improvements to the existing park environment.
A feasibility study was conducted, including the development of a site master plan and building concepts, along with 3D renderings that were shared with community and potential benefactors. The result was a Central Park expansion anchored by a 135-foot-long by 85-foot-wide pavilion designed for activities in all four seasons: ice skating, farmers’ markets, festivals, concerts, exhibitions and civic gatherings. The Pavilion was designed with a refrigerated floor for ice-making, allowing skating all winter, even on above-freezing days.
Lafayette Street, which bisects the park expansion, became Lafayette Plaza, with the addition of pedestrian amenities such as attractive landscaping, ample seating, lighting, information kiosks, water features, and a dining plaza with umbrella tables.
On the west side of the Pavilion, the Indiana Beverage Activity Center building features a large window wall so users can watch Pavilion activities. The Center serves multiple purposes, offering skate rental, restrooms, public seating spaces with food service, meeting room, as well as space for storage and ice making equipment. A plaza west of the building provides an outdoor respite space and serves as a gateway to Central Park Plaza from the street.
Serving as a standalone space while complementing Central Park, the expansion was planned with similar materials as the existing Amphitheater, including clay masonry and stone. Arched forms continue the architectural vocabulary. New signage and identity features designed by Shive-Hattery provide wayfinding and seasonal information, and recognize donors which made the project possible.
Located in the heart of downtown Valparaiso, and connected to the urban fabric, the City of Valparaiso Central Park expansion has transformed this half city block into an extremely popular year-round, family-oriented space for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations.