Nine Semifinalists Named in Waller Creek Design Competition

Nine teams were chosen Monday as semifinalists for the Waller Creek Conservancy design competition, from a pool of 31 entries.The competition calls for a redesign of a 1.5-mile stretch of city parkland and urban space along Waller Creek in downtown Austin.

: wallercreek.org
Waller Creek represents the largest urban creek in the nation to undergo the level of transformation the conservancy envisions. The scope and intent of this project is to completely transform the way a variety of disconnected entities and interests relate and interact with each other.

Among firms chosen by a panel of landscape architects and urban designers are Austin's Miró Rivera Architects, PageSoutherlandPage and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, as well as San Antonio's Lake/Flato Architects. Each team consists of a landscape architecture firm and design architecture firm.

The Waller Creek Conservancy is a nonprofit organization founded last year by local philanthropists Tom Meredith, Melba Whatley and Melanie Barnes. The City of Austin has paid $400,000 for the competition, and the conservancy is funding the rest of the $1.2 million budget.

The effort ties into the construction of a $146.5 million tunnel to divert floodwaters from the creek, which will take 28 acres out of the city's flood plain — in effect, adding 1 million square feet of land that could be used for parks, public spaces and private development. The tunnel is expected to be complete in 2014.

The semifinalists will next be charged with further developing their teams, adding civil engineers and hydrologists, among others, to address all environmental and urban design issues. Four final teams will be chosen in April, and each will receive a $100,000 honorarium to create a conceptual design that will be presented to the public and to city officials in September.

The conservancy will select a winning design in October. According to a memorandum between the city and the conservancy, city planners will use the design as a guide.

"Waller Creek presents a unique landscape challenge and we will see some incredible teams formed to respond to this challenge in the next phase," said Stephanie Lee McDonald, executive director of the Waller Creek Conservancy.

Semi-finalists

Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos and Miró Rivera Architects

Civitas and BIG New York City

CMG and Public Architecture

James Corner Field Operations and SHoP

Melk and PageSoutherlandPage

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer & Partners

Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Saucier & Perrotte

Turenscape and Lake/Flato Architects

Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Ten Eyck

jvanryzin@statesman.com; 445-3699
Jan. 30, 2012



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