A whole new way to look at downtown Austin has been unveiled. Renderings of the Red River Street Canopy Walk, released this week, give us a first look at the 33-foot high pedestrian bridge that will connect the Austin Convention Center and the in-progress Fairmont Austin hotel.
The $6 million Canopy Walk will be accessible to the public from a trail below, as well as hotel guests. It will offer spectacular views of Waller Creek and making it easier to cross Red River Street.
"This bridge over Austin's Waller Creek gives us all the unique experience of walking within the branches of these remarkable heritage trees — weaving through the trees at every turn and marking a journey that is as poetic as the trees themselves," said Thomas Phifer, whose New York firm is responsible for the design.
Fairmont Austin developer Manchester Texas Financial Group is working with the Waller Creek Conservancy to make sure Canopy Walk fits into a larger effort to revitalize the downtown stretch of the creek. Plans include restoring the creek banks and incorporating more native plants.
"This Canopy Walk reinforces the role and importance of landscape as infrastructure and as art, and this bridge will be an integral part of the vision of the Waller Creek master plan," said Daniele Woodroffe, president and founder of dwg, the landscaping firm for the project. "The ultimate goal is to celebrate what's unique about a critical ecosystem that runs through the heart of downtown Austin."
Canopy Walk is expected to be complete in May 2017. The massive 1,048-room Fairmont Austin will be completed in summer 2017.