Waller Creek Conservatory Selects Design Finalists
published on September 21, 2012
The Waller Creek Conservatory has narrowed entrants down to four finalists in its design competition to transform Waller Creek, and those concepts now will be displayed at locations throughout Austin for the public to view. Waller Creek represents the largest urban creek in the nation to undergo the level of transformation the conservancy envisions. The impact area for the planned project spans 28 acres, from Lake Austin to Tarrytown, and the conservancy encouraged designers to pay special attention to key links and passages connecting people and the environment to the targeted redevelopment zone. The conceptual plan selected will accomplish all of the following:
1. Create a healthy ecosystem for the creek and surrounding areas. This includes the rehabilitation of two city parks as well as a variety of other open spaces.
2. Inspire diverse interests — from higher education to live music — to act cohesively.
3. Bridge two parts of a city now divided by an imposing interstate highway.
4. Create a riveting destination attracting citizens from throughout Austin and visitors from around the world.
The conservancy has unveiled the designs of the four finalists that would revitalize the stretch of Waller Creek from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake. The designs incorporate grand architectural flourishes and broad public spaces, all emphasizing a natural environment of water and trees. Any of the four designs, if built, would likely become instant Austin landmarks. “Austin is a city that recognizes the importance of preserving its natural beauty, while making it accessible for all residents and well preserved for decades to come,” said Austin REALTOR Brian Talley.
The Waller Creek Conservancy plans to contribute $60 million in private donations to help pay for the construction of the winning design. The city also plans to spend $60 million on refurbishing the creek, in addition to $146.5 million in city money for a flood-control tunnel under the creek that is expected to be completed in 2014.
The four finalists are CMG and Public Architecture; Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer & Partners; Turenscape and Lake/Flato Architects; and Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects and Rogers Marvel Architects. Each team consists of a landscape architecture firm and design architecture firm.
The design teams will make presentations to the Austin City Council on October 3rd. The conservancy will announce the winner on October 18th. This week and next, the designs will be displayed at several locations around Austin including the University of Texas School of Architecture, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, the HOPE Farmers Market, and the Blanton Museum of Art.
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