THE OASIS: DESIGN WALLER CREEK | AUSTIN, TX
Client: Waller Creek Conservancy
SvR Role: Project Management and Supporting Landscape Architecture
Start Date: 2011
End Date: 2012
Waller Creek is a degraded, urban riparian corridor meandering for seven miles north to south, along the eastern edge of Austin’s downtown area before it meets Lady Bird Lake. The lower 1.5 miles formed the study area of an international design competition to restore the Creek and catalyze the creation of a Creek-based urban district.
SvR managed a finalist team of 25 firms under the design leadership of Turenscape (Beijing) and Lake|Flato Architects (San Antonio). The team’s strategy for transforming Waller Creek into an oasis for Austin involved applying modest interventions to speed up and slow down the processes of nature. These simple tactics for harvesting ecosystem services and creating a comfortable microclimate were assembled as a Farmer’s Toolbox. These opportunistic restoration and activation efforts would be linked experientially by a “Cypress Walk” along the bottomlands of the Creek. At an urban design scale, the Cypress Walk, the Farmer’s Toolbox and a series of water experience parks would cultivate creekshed communities with a stake in caring for the Creek corridor.