Although the Design Workshop’s name may not be familiar, its work may ultimately affect more people than most other companies doing business in Asheville. Simply put, Design Workshop is in the business of reinventing our world.
This week, the company is bringing 16 of the best landscape-design students in the world to the banks of the French Broad River to meet with stakeholders, study the brownfields and green spaces, examine past planning efforts and evaluate economic alternatives with the goal of imagining new possibilities for this, the second (or possibly third) oldest of rivers in the world. Chosen from a pool of 313 applicants, the interns arrived here May 29 armed with various combinations of postgraduate degrees, workplace experiences and publications in scholarly journals. Yikers, bikers, skiers, watercolorists and potters, they speak a handful of languages.
The idea is to bring fresh perspectives to bear on Asheville’s waterfront while getting an intensive lesson in how landscape architects pull together environmental, economic, community and artistic goals to fashion design solutions. The interns will display their first take on redevelopment of the River Arts District, the Norfolk Southern rail yard and Biltmore Village. The public is invited to view the plans and hear about the ideas from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 8, at the Curve studios (6 Riverside Drive).
More comprehensive suggestions will be hammered out via e-mail over the course of the summer while the interns fan out to study in Design Workshop offices across the country. The complete plan will be delivered to the Asheville office of Design Workshop in the fall.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer