Urban art in the making
Portfolios pour in from around the world for a shot at designing the new WallerCreek urban park
Dozens of design and engineering teams from Barcelona to Coppenhagen to Austin are vying for a chance to turn the blighted Waller Creek into the next world-renowned urban space, creek advocates told CultureMap on Tuesday.
Some 30 portolios poured into conservancy offices by the end of the last week, as teams from across the world are hoping to be chosen to help redesign and revitalize the creek.
Next month, the list gets pared down to 8 or 10. In April, the finalists will be chosen. The conservancy hopes to have a concept to show the public within a year.
Applicants have come from not only major cities across the U.S., but from all over the world, including Lisbon, Ankara, Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City, Montreal, Copenhagen, Oslo, Bejing.
"We are so excited," said Stephanie Lee McDonald, executive director of the Waller Creek Conservancy, which seeks to preserve and redesign the creek for public use. "We think there is going to be an international smackdown!"
A massive project is underway to turn the creek, which runs through downtown Austin, into a unique community space. The conservancy has been soliciting ideas inspired by the likes of the Manhattan High Line urban park.
Waller Creek has long been stalled in terms of development because it’s on a flood plain. The city is building a tunnel under the creek that is expected to divert floodwaters and “turn on,” if you will, Waller Creek for renewal.
Founded in 2010 by local philanthropists Tom Meredith, Melba Whatley and Melanie Barnes, the nonprofit conservancy seeks to fund and steward the comeback of Waller Creek.