Texas Architect January/February 2014: Ecologies
This issue on “Ecologies” explores urban design across Texas and focuses on the increasing importance of green infrastructure for our cities. With the rehabilitation of the San Antonio River, the state now has the longest linear park in the nation. Dallas is also leading urban design trends with its progressive parks plan — Klyde Warren Park is just one example of the good work being done. Houston and Austin are also both relying on green infrastructure to create valuable public spaces. Other important urban design initiatives featured include mixed-use development in downtown Austin, El Paso’s first net-zero senior housing project, and the push for San Antonio’s missions to be added to the World Heritage List.
Paperwork Fosu Marina and Master Plan OTA+ Austin-based OTA+ was approached by nonprofit Take Back Our Routes to design a new master plan and marina for the Fosu Lagoon area of Cape Coast, Ghana. Take Back Our Routes was created to empower Africa by partnering with Ghana Ocean Racing to develop a new marina and ocean racing center at the location, which was once used in the slave trade. The site, currently desolate and requiring extensive environmental remediation, carries tremendous symbolism. By re-appropriating the area with a new program, Take Back Our Routes hopes to affect the future of the region. included the design of multiple mixed-use high-rises, Africaâ€™s tallest building, a hotel district, new residential towers, performing arts and other cultural buildings, and a community market. To tackle the broad scope of the project in a limited amount of time, OTA+ enlisted the design help of award-winning international architectural firms, including IwamotoScott Architecture, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, Khoury Levit Fong, Veev Design, Maxi Spina Architects, and Murmur. The marina was designed to house a number of different programs, including the Volvo Ocean Racing Village and the Ghana Ocean Racing Headquarters, as well as a training museum, a hotel, shopping areas, an outdoor auditorium, a public plaza, and an urban park. The OTA+ master plan 24 Texas Architect 1/2 2014 The public plaza is completely open on the ground floor and folds into a canopy structure at two locations. The canopy is lifted above the piers below and binds the multiple programs with a network of walkways that extend toward the ocean, symbolically connecting the city and people to the ocean routes. Between the walkways, a series of louvers shield the piers and public plaza below from intense summer sun. The pattern evokes the traditional multicolored Kente cloths popular in the region.