Riverfront Terraced Plaza


Columbus Blvd., Hartford, CT


Blakeslee Prestress, Inc.


Riverfront Recapture Inc., Hartford, CT


Carol R. Johnson Associates, Cambridge, MA
Goddes Brecher Qualls & Cunningham Inc.,
Philadelphia, PA

General Contractor:

O&G Industries Inc., Torrington, CT

Project Manager:

Connecticut Department of Transportation


Brecher Associates P.C., Philadelphia, PA

Consultant Engineer:

Brecher Associates


Blakeslee Prestress, Inc., Branford, CT
Riverfront Terraced Plaza
Riverfront Terraced Plaza
Riverfront Terraced Plaza

Nearly 70 years after the Hartford, Conn., riverfront had been devastated by two enormous storms, the city reclaimed the landscape and unveiled a distinctive $26-million park and plaza. To ultimately provide citizens with this civic treasure, the structures took full advantage of the design and aesthetic benefits offered by precast concrete structural and architectural components.

In the late 1930s, two years of severe storms (with a statistical chance of occurring less than once in 500 years) caused extensive flooding in the city. As a result, communities along the Connecticut River began work on flood-control projects. In 1943, Hartford built a 44-foot-high concrete floodwall at the foot of State Street where wharves stood for centuries. Although better protected from flooding, citizens no longer could see the river from the lawn of the Old State House, let alone walk to its bank. Then in the 1950s, Interstate 91 was built on top of the dike and for the next 30 years, neighbors saw only cars and trucks passing by instead of the 400-mile-long river.

Riverfront Reclaimed
To reclaim the recreational potential of the river, the nonprofit group Riverfront Recapture was formed in 1980. That year the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) also coincidentally inaugurated a 10-year, $1-billion program of statewide highway reconstruction. The two groups decided to work together. Architectural firm Geddes Brecher Qualls & Cunningham Inc. (GBQC) in Philadelphia drew up the schematics and began working in 1988 with landscape architects Carol R. Johnson Associates (CRJA) in Cambridge, Mass., to design a network of plazas, elevators, ramps and stairs to reunite Hartford with its river.

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