Texas Architect July/August 2013: Light
Sketches that bring sunlight and moonlight into spaces in creative, playful ways; otherworldly experiments in color centered on the early morning and evening skies; the construction of shade for people and plants; an oasis of densely planted, colorful cacti in the desert; and the benefits of daylight for work and study — this issue is about natural light and design. The projects featured illustrate a range of artistic and functional expressions where light is essential to the experience of each space.
Of Note This page “Flow,” by Austin-based landscape architects Design Workshop, is an installation of illuminated tapestries that aims to emulate wind patterns along Waller Creek. Opposite page Baldridge Architects’ concept will light up the creek with tethered balloons, while Legge Lewis Legge has developed a suspended bridge composed of electroluminescent wire. Thoughtbarn proposes installing the same wire under the existing 7th Street Bridge to mark the 100-year floodplain. Waller Creek’s Creek Show by Octavia Hayes On the heels of the Waller Creek Pop-up Adventure Picnic, when the typically deserted Palm Park hosted five hundred Austinites with an evening of food and live music, there may soon be several other reasons to visit Waller Creek before its upcoming metamorphosis from derelict and forgotten waterway into a vibrant downtown destination. If funding prevails, Creek Show, a series of temporary installations, will appear along the 1.5-mile Waller Creek site in an attempt to surprise and delight the community while also creating awareness about the importance of Waller Creek’s transformation for Austin’s connectivity. “Illumination is the theme,” says Ingrid Spencer, co-director of the project. “Our team has at least six Creek Show projects currently being prototyped, each involving lighting and each designed by local architects and landscape architects. If the funding can be secured, we’re ready to start making Waller Creek an active venue for art, architecture, and landscape architecture.” Waller Creek Conservancy Board President Melba Whatley envisioned Creek Show as a way to engage the public in Waller Creek’s ongoing transformation during the two years that the massive tunnel infrastructure project is underway. It also aims to get the community excited about the possibilities and significance of the Michael Van Valkenburgh and Thomas Phifer-designed park. The tunnel, scheduled to be completed in early 2015, will remove 28 acres from the floodplain, protect the creek bed from If the funding can be secured, we’re ready to start making Waller Creek an active venue for art, architecture, and landscape architecture. erosion, and help keep the creek’s water clean. “The great challenge for us is to encourage people to think about Waller Creek as a place to go, when there is really nothing for them to visit yet,” said Whatley. The first iteration of this effort was the Palm Picnic, and Creek Show will continue to activate Waller Creek in anticipation of its integration into the urban fabric and its evolution into a destination in its own right. Waller Creek at its heart is a landscape architecture project that banks on the fact that green space has consistently proven to be hugely effective in terms of transforming cities. Creek Show is a landscape architecture-led endeavor; co-directing with Spencer is Hope Hasbrouck, landscape architect and UT Austin professor. Along with Hasbrouck and Spencer, the Creek Show team consists of two other landscape architects, Jason Sowell and the firm Design Workshop, as well as three architecture firms, Baldridge Architects, Thoughtbarn, and Legge Lewis Legge. “We have assembled a team composed of some of the most creative minds in the city for this effort,” said Whatley. “The Waller Creek Conservancy has gone to great lengths to reach out to and engage the broader community in original and unexpected ways. The jury presentations and selection process for the design team was a public event,” said Murray Legge, FAIA. “The Creek Show is another great example of this kind of ingenious outreach.” The installations will occur in and around the creek and will be visible from the nearby streets. The logo for the series, designed by Pentagram Austin, plays on the idea of the creek’s current condition, with a beauty-and-the-beast themed artwork featuring a creek monster illustration by award-winning artist Marc Burckhardt. “Waller Creek is a freak now,” says Spencer, “and the logo plays on that ‘creature from the Black Lagoon’ idea. But the creek is coming to life, and we are eagerly anticipating the change from ugly to beautiful. Still, there’s a 8 Texas Architect 7/8 2013