AUSTIN (KXAN) - A team that envisions transforming up an unsightly urban channel into a parkland with trails and bridges was named the winner of the Waller Creek redesign competition by the Austin City Council on Thursday.
The entry from the MVVA Team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Thomas Phifer promises to "create an exciting and humane landscape that will be critical to great city life in Austin."
"The Waller Creek project presents designers with an urbanist's dream: a diverse and complex city fabric is the starting point for a process of discovering how to reach the peak of this city's potential for fostering a high quality of life," the teams says in its entry. "We begin with what is given to us by Waller Creek now – all its messy and difficult constraints. Utilizing no cookie-cutter ideas, we simply let the city, the citizens, and the creek itself implicitly suggest each intricate and site-specific design move while we designers listen closely."
The plans calls for "a lattice of six lightweight and easily deployable trail bridges" to span the mouth of the creek. Also planned are a grove of live oaks a rocked wall to give the area a parklike feel.
The city has already begun an extensive flood-control project that entails tunneling under the Waller Creek channel through Downtown to carry water to Lady Bird Lake. The resign project's next step is to raise money to implement the MVVA Team's vision.
The entire Waller Creek project represents approximately 11 percent of Downtown Austin and will transform 1.5 miles of Waller Creek, with a total area encompassing 28 acres.
The city conducted a worldwide competition to find a plan for the restoration that reached its peak Wednesday, with the final four architecture teams presenting their plans to a City Council jury panel.
The competition stemmed from the Waller Creek Conservancy, a local nonprofit organization whose aim is to create partnerships for the funding of this transformation.
Executive director Stephanie McDonald said the goal of the project is to regenerate a healthy eco-system for the creek and surrounding areas, increase the economy and to inspire a connection throughout the city.
"Today, we glimpse a transformation of Austin through a new community gathering place," said Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole. "This design team selection illustrates our city's desire for great civic space, unique culture and opportunity for interaction with nature. We look forward to each new milestone of this development."
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