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AIA Lubbock Completes Mercado Design l u b b o c k Originated as AIA Lubbock’s chapter gift to the city of Lubbock in commemoration of AIA150, the design of the North University Avenue Mercado is complete. This planned indoor/outdoor public plaza in North Lubbock will embrace the art, architecture, and culture of the local Hispanic community at an already identified site targeted for redevelopment. The mercado design is founded on the AIA’s “Blueprint for America,” a nationwide community service program that funds grants for collaborative initiatives between AIA architects and their communities. Collaboration and public participation was key to the mercado’s design, according to Brian Griggs, Assoc. AIA, who coordinated the charrettes. AIA Lubbock held two community charrettes with more than 100 attendees and garnered public feedback, including recommendations for performance areas, public artwork, and kiosk retail. As currently designed, the project will be located just over a mile from downtown at the northwest corner of 4th Street (the future Marsha Sharp Freeway), North University Avenue, and Santa Fe Drive. The 11.7-acre site has not yet been purchased, however. Nearby alternate sites have been identified. The design, incorporating an array of amenities, addresses the need for both business growth and cultural identity. The planned 124,000 square feet of traditional retail archi-




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University Avenue Mercado. A new pedestrian bridge will connect Texas Tech University to the development.

tecture will include a 25,000-sq. ft. anchor retail site, small boutique shops, indoor/outdoor cafes, and restaurants. The outdoor mercado to the north will consist of 20,000 square feet of kiosks where local residents and vendors can sell fresh produce, foods, artwork, and other items. In the center of the outdoor mercado a performance stage will accommodate outdoor concer ts and private events. Pedestrianfriendly common spaces intersperse between the built structures and several plazas where elements such as a sculpture garden, tower, waterscape park, and public artwork will greet visitors. A new pedestrian bridge currently under construction over the new Marsha Sharp Freeway connects Texas Tech UniMarsha Sharp freeway v er s i t y c a m p u s 1 2 2 w it h t he f ut u re mercado site and 2 2 will be punctuated 2 with a landscape/ hardscape entr y 3 6 landing into the 4 development. V e h i c u lar access into e iv t h e m e r c a do i s Dr Fe ta planned from the n Sa southeast corner site plan of the development 1 Pedestrian Bridge 2 retail space to a fou r-s tor y, 3 kiosks 4 outdoor stage 720-car parking 5 parking garage 6 waterscape park garage. An addi 7 ground parking 8 sculpture garden t i o n a l 4 0-p l u s Boston Avenue

north university avenue

rendering and site plan courtesy aia lubbock


The rendering depicts the view looking southeast from over the Arnett-Benson neighborhood at the future North

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ground parking spaces will be located on the north end of the site. In response to the site’s surroundings, larger, barrier-like facilities such as the parking garage are focused to the south, while a more inviting, pedestrian-friendly environment to the north will invite people from north Lubbock neighborhoods into the development. A perimeter streetscape will elegantly border the entire development and soften the transition to surrounding areas. Architectural elements within the mercado will be based around the rich, artistic influences of the Hispanic culture, whose presence is predominant in the north Lubbock neighborhoods. Vibrant color, playful rooflines, and intricately laid walkways invite visitors. The future mercado will be a catalyst spurring additional growth and economic development in the north Lubbock community while implementing cultural significance as place of pride for future generations. The design team, made up of AIA Lubbock members and Texas Tech University College of Architecture students, worked closely with the Steering Committee, the AIA150 Committee, volunteers from the AIA Lubbock chapter and other allied professionals. The team drew inspiration from case studies of similar successful developments, such as Market Square in San Antonio, Menlo Park Mercado and La Encantada developments in Tucson, Ariz., and Horton Plaza in San Diego, Calif. A n d r e a

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Andrea Exter is associate publisher of Texas Architect.

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Texas Architect July/Aug 2007: Luxury