Memphis International Airport Pedestrian Plaza

Memphis, Tennessee

Ritchie Smith Associates (RSA) was responsible for the overall design and site details of the 800 foot-long pedestrian plaza that connects the airport terminal to the new $90 million Ground Transportation Center. The design of the plaza transformed the core of the 1960s-era parking garage. The lush and unexpected green space welcomes visitors and residents and provides a break space for airport staff.

The design concept is a sequence of three landscape zones that symbolize those found in the region, transitioning from the natural, to the agrarian, and finally the urban landscape at the terminal entrance. For each zone RSA designed a distinctive planting pattern and thematic water feature. Continuity is provided through consistent materials and detailing of paving, curbs, and walls. Pavers set in a wave pattern represent the Mississippi River. Transverse bands of pavers mark pedestrian access points into the adjacent garage. The irrigation system was designed for cistern storage and reuse of rainwater captured on the people mover canopy.

Awards: Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Tennessee Chapter