Page 72

by the Dallas-based Meadows Foundation in a bold, now-legendary public/private partnership initiative to transform Roma into a heritage tourism experience. Beginning with the plaza, Kell Muñoz set to recapture a culturally hybrid space originally laid out as a broad, two-block-long avenue in an 1848 U.S. plat. That plan, however, transformed into a Hispanic plaza with the introduction of Our Lady of Refuge Church at one end and the construction of walled commercial establishments around its perimeter. Historically unpaved and open to views of the Rio Grande, the plaza was insensitively subdivided and landscaped in 1976 to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial. According to Tillotson, the greatest challenge of the project was the recovery of the plaza. That objective, he said, made him “juggle multiple visions” until the idea emerged for “a unified solution to

70

t e x a s

a r c h i t e c t

serve different contemporary uses that also maintains a historically compatible interpretation of the space.” After removing numerous obstructions and nonhistoric materials, the plaza was regraded to provide adequate drainage and an accessible slope through a complex interplay of grades. Tillotson, a 25-year practitioner, described that aspect of the project as “perhaps the most difficult grading problem I’ve ever encountered.” Vehicular traffic was reintroduced to the upper plaza by means of a one-way circular loop with diagonal parking along the center of the space, sheltered by curbed islands at each end. The diagonal motif is reinforced by mesquite wheel stops and the scoring of the concrete surface, which is topped with a rock salt finish to recall the texture and color of the caliche that originally covered the plaza. Serving a dual function,

9 / 1 0

2 0 0 7

Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...