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Follow the Light

On the subterranean beer garden’s creek-side deck, a picnic table is packed with a young professional bunch in rapt conversation, men with their backs to the water oblivious to the glowing presence creeping up the wall behind them. From Waller Creek below, looking up at them and the rest of the Austin skyline, the beast is visible in full: a ghostly creature emerging from the murky depths, its long legs, made of flexible LED Neon lights, frozen in mid-leap, looking as desperate as any other Austin-dweller for a good seat at a bar patio downtown. This is “Waller Phantasm,” University of Texas…

Michael Van Valkenburgh on Austin’s Waller Creek

The New York City landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh is playing a prominent role in redefining urban spaces throughout the country with active and engaging parks. He spoke about the winning proposal for Waller Creek that his firm developed in conjunction with Thomas Phifer and Partners. Austin is a city of many parks; the revitalization of Waller Creek will be a welcome contribution to a community that cherishes green space and water. What attracted your team to the Waller Creek competition? Several things, including the creative vibrancy of Austin as a city, the uniqueness of the assignment (especially the implications…

Team Selected for Linear Park in Downtown Austin

Image courtesy of the Waller Creek Conservancy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer & Partners Architectural Record Oct. 22, 2012 The competition jury’s selection, which was announced on October 18, hinged on the team’s elegant vision for the transformation of the blighted banks of Waller Creek into a chain of large outdoor gathering spaces.The urban park is expected to be the capstone for a massive public works project intended to spur dramatic redevelopment of 15 blocks in the central business district. MVVA and Phifer bested three other teams following public presentations to the five-person jury earlier this month at…