March 30, 2007 -- For more than 20 years, urban designer and landscape architect Bill Wenk has designed nationally influential projects to restore and redevelop urban river and stream corridors, transform derelict urban land, and create public parks and open spaces. On April 5 at 5:30 p.m., Wenk will speak at the University of Virginia School of Architecture about the design of green infrastructure. His lecture, titled "Designing the Natural City: Vision, Design, Improvisation," is free and open to the public and geared toward a general audience.
Wenk is founder and president of Wenk Associates, Inc., a Denver-based landscape architectural firm. Nationally recognized for utilizing stormwater as a resource, Wenk's water-quality facility projects have created uncommon recreation, habitat and aesthetic benefits in a variety of urban settings across the country.
In addition to his public lecture, Wenk will be a visiting critic in the class, "Green City/Green Sites," a workshop course where students are designing stormwater retrofit projects to improve the environmental impact of three city sites: Charlottesville High School, Jordan Park and Burnley-Moran Elementary School, coordinated with the city's current retrofit initiative. The course is taught jointly by Elissa Rosenberg, associate professor of landscape architecture, and Karen Firehock, senior associate at U.Va.'s Institute for Environmental Negotiation.
Bill Wenk Background:
Among Wenk's notable designs is his award-winning restoration of Shop Creek in Cherry Creek State Park, outside of Denver. The radical departure from standard approaches to channel stabilization involved crescent-shaped soil cement drop structures (wrapped around wetland plantings) that were both strikingly beautiful and highly effective in reducing phosphorous levels, creating new habitat and reducing erosion.
Wenk was the principal urban designer for an award-winning “green infrastructure” redevelopment in Milwaukee's Menomonee River Valley that integrates a network of parks and open spaces through stormwater infrastructure, regional and local trails, and a restored river corridor into a proposed 130-acre, mixed-use and light industrial development. He is also serving as the principal river planner for the restoration of the 32-mile Los Angeles River corridor and for a mixed-use development and stream restoration for Bubbly Creek, a branch of the Chicago River in Chicago. Wenk sits on the National Science Foundation’s panel for the revision of stormwater regulations and was an adjunct associate professor of landscape architecture at University of Colorado in Denver for several years.