City of New Albany


New Albany, IN


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Land Use Planning and Design, Site Development

Located in a former furniture warehouse that dates back to the late 19th century and sits on historic Main Street, the New Albany City Hall serves as home base for city government operations. When the City of New Albany sought to transform the building’s outdoor spaces, they turned to Gresham Smith to revitalize an idle alleyway that runs adjacent to the building and enhance the outdoor plaza space at the main entrance.

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New Albany City Hall Promenade and Plaza alleyway and ramp

An Alley for All

Previously an overlooked alleyway between the new City Hall building and a bakery café, the design created an accessible and inviting pedestrian promenade between New Albany’s historic Main Street and City Hall’s main entrance, located at the rear.

At 19 feet wide, with 14 feet of elevation change, the existing alley was inaccessible for many community members. The solution was to create a switchback pattern of ramps and steps to traverse the site. The resulting design creates a visually exciting experience, is the only ADA-accessible connection for nearly two city blocks and connects Main Street to the New Albany City Hall entrance plaza.

New Albany City Hall Promenade and Plaza alleyway, ramp and benches

Adding Life to the Alley

The new alleyway incorporates seating, native plantings and a rich user experience while keeping a small-town Indiana charm. To highlight the city’s culture, an art walk was designed to line the promenade and features a series of plaques highlighting prominent and famous New Albany natives.

Drone view of New Albany City Hall Promenade and Plaza alleyway, ramp and benches

A Place for Pedestrians

Although City Hall fronts Main Street, the main entrance is located at the rear of the building, taking advantage of a large public parking lot shared by the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater and local shops. The plaza provides a formal, monumental, yet pedestrian-scaled and modern entrance to the new City Hall.

The plaza comes alive with the introduction of trees, native plantings, seating and a material palette that provides a look and feel that brings the historic yet modern aesthetic of the building into the public space. The plaza creates a place for all to feel welcome and connected—a place for the citizens of New Albany.

Drone view of the entire New Albany City Hall Promenade and Plaza

Monumental Yet Modern

The City of New Albany’s vision was to create an economic catalyst that drives community engagement and business through the new City Hall. Straying from a conventional monumental city government building, the historic building feels modern and industrial, with brick and limestone on the exterior. To meet the building aesthetic, the limestone slab stairs bring an unexpected weighted element to the City Hall. A place for all to feel welcome and connected, the design plans match the historic look and feel that the city of New Albany has invested in itself over the years.