Austin, TX (2012–ongoing)
In 2011, construction began on a mile-long tunnel to carry all of Waller Creek’s flow, protecting 28-acres of downtown Austin from flooding while maintaining the idea of Waller Creek in a dramatically reduced above ground flow. The 2015 Waller Creek Corridor Framework Plan team was tasked with restructuring this spatially complex corridor, and its constructed nature, as the backbone for a series of new parks and neighborhood connections.
The existing Waller Creek landscape comprises a mix of odd bits of abandoned utilities, new super-scaled infrastructure, moments of fragile natural beauty, and eroded earthen banks. The Waller Creek corridor is also a series of intensely urban spaces punctuated by municipal street crossings and unique infrastructural and landscape circumstances at every block. At the time of the Framework Plan, the study area of the creek also intersected two existing, albeit underutilized, parks: Waterloo Park to the north and Palm Park downstream. The presence of these existing nodes, along with the potential of activating underutilized areas around the creek, informed the central propositions of the Framework Plan.
This integrated nature-machine system reflects an evolving global narrative of how development of cities and promotion of natural systems are necessarily intertwined. The Waller Creek project recognizes the critical role of landscape architecture as a nexus for spatial, ecological, and cultural planning.