UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
Austin, TX (2017–2019)
Completed in 2019, the Waller Creek Framework Plan for the University of Texas at Austin (UT) provides an integrated plan for transforming a neglected urban creek into a physically and symbolically important campus landscape. MVVA was initially hired to address safety concerns, but we soon realized that the safety of the creek corridor was intrinsically tied to other critical issues. By defining those issues early on, the MVVA team was able to create a Framework Plan that offers a cohesive vision for improvements to creek health, sustainability, and connectivity.

The portion of Waller Creek that passes through the campus had been nearly invisible. To overcome a lack of knowledge about this important campus resource, MVVA led walks along the creek corridor with members of the UT project team. Through this process, we discovered potential solutions that would have been missed by traditional planning analysis. The use of GPS technology made it possible to overlay ideas conceived during these “expeditions” with data about stormwater networks, soil conditions, solar penetration, and other site conditions, allowing initial concepts to become practical proposals.

Direct observation enabled the team to identify a forgotten landscape of bald cypress and weirs within the creek corridor; technical analysis allowed us to suggest environmentally sensitive ways to make this landscape more accessible. The planning process, which included extensive outreach to stakeholders, enabled the University community to come together in support of a new set of priorities related to circulation and wayfinding in the creek corridor (with approaches to utility connections, creek bank stability, and habitat resilience built into the plan). This laid the groundwork for Waller Creek to become both central to the everyday experience of students, faculty, and staff, as well as a unique landscape that enhances the identity of the University.
back to top ^