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City of Austin’s Art in Public Places program awarded Thoughtbarn with a commission to design the first “artist-led community garden’ in Austin. Below The aesthetic qualities of the garden created considerable buzz in the neighborhood and resulted in ample community participation during constuction and after. Gardeners include elderly residents of nearby apartments, young families, chefs, girl scouts, and refugees.

Colors in the Garden

5/6 2015

the entry to the garden, and the colorful sculptural fence encloses the area dedicated to the member beds. The garden supports a sustainable ethos; members must adhere to organic practices and water for irrigation must be harvested from the 25,000-sf roof of the nearby YMCA. In the spring of 2014, when registration for the plots opened, all 50 were claimed within hours. An approved master plan includes a teaching pavilion, which will be constructed during the project’s second phase.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY THOUGHTBARN.

88 Texas Architect

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he new YMCA Community Garden in north Austin is a statement on sustainability and placemaking. Designed by Thoughtbarn, the 25,000-sf radial site plan has an Arizona ash at its center and is divided programmatically into distinct pies. The sections include 50 ADA-accessible beds for individual members, teaching and demonstration plots, an orchard, a composting area, and a playground. A shade structure and adjoining toolshed mark


Texas Architect May/June 2015: Color