North Split Aesthetics Design Guidelines Recognized by INASLA

The Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (INASLA) has announced the recipients of their 2020 Professional Awards, including a Merit Award in the Planning and Analysis category for the North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS, In. (August 12, 2020)- The Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (INASLA) has announced the recipients of their 2020 Professional Awards. Each year, INASLA recognizes outstanding works of landscape architecture in the State of Indiana. These awards recognize standards of excellence in the profession and seeks to raise the public awareness of the profession and the American Society of Landscape Architects. This year, INASLA recognized 14 projects across the state of Indiana, including a Merit Award in the Planning and Analysis category for the North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines in Indianapolis.


The North Split Project is an upgrade of the existing interchange where I-65 and I-70 meet on the northeast side of downtown Indianapolis. As part of this infrastructure project, the Indiana Department of Transportation facilitated a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process that created the Aesthetic Design Guidelines to be utilized as a resource tool during the interchange replacement project. The CSS process followed the guidelines of the FHWA that involved a collaborative, interdisciplinary decision making process and design approach that involved a wide range of stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting. Elements that were examined as part of the CSS process included: 1) landform elements, 2) local infrastructure elements, 3) interchange infrastructure elements, 4) vegetation elements and 5) community and public art components.


The CSS process engaged key neighborhoods and other stakeholders to examine connectivity, character and theme related to the North Split project. The Aesthetic Design Guidelines direct the overall appearance of new North Split infrastructure and other features within the project area, with special emphasis on integrating the interchange design into the urban setting of adjacent neighborhoods and downtown Indianapolis. The document provides specific guidance to the North Split design-build team on key enhancements to improve connectivity, create an enhanced pedestrian environment, and integrate the aesthetic character of the project into the surrounding area.


The design guidelines outline the treatment for a variety of aesthetic structural treatments, such as bridge abutments, piers, columns, retaining walls, sound walls and fencing. In addition, they outline a series of landscape typologies for the various planting applications. These typologies included treatments for slope areas, interchange plantings as well as detention areas. Finally, a series of additional community features, such as the creation of the new Monon Loop trail, were identified that enhances the overall connectivity between the local neighborhoods and the existing Monon Trail.


The North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines provides a significant tool for the reconstruction of the I-65/I-70 Interchange in downtown Indianapolis. The final document provides the contractor and design build team with key guidance related to the amenities and design features of this multi-million-dollar investment. The end result provides a tangible solution that documents community concerns and translates the top priorities related to safety, connectivity and design standards into a user-friendly plan that can be utilized during the final design for the interchange.


The INASLA Awards were presented during a virtual presentation on August 12, 2020 as part of INASLA’s 2020 Annual Meeting.


Client: Indiana Department of Transportation


Consultants: HNTB Corporation- Indianapolis, IN (Project Management, Engineering);

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group- Indianapolis, IN (Landscape Architecture)

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