Waller Creek

Austin, TX

The creek and surrounding urban context are translated into distinct experiences that draw on attraction to water and are expressed in a contemporary merging of culture and ecology.

The creekbed traverses several of Austin’s most notable districts and offers a variety of immersive experiences, yet today its accessible points are in disrepair. A new tunnel to regulate flooding provides significant new developable area and the opportunity to redesign 11 miles of this incredible resource that stretches from University of Austin to Lady Bird Lake.

The Waller Creek project provides new play areas, night gardens, business incubator spaces, homes for cultural and community institutions, iconic structures, a swimming hole, canopy walk, immersive gardens, art installations, and large-scale event venues. Living systems are maximized and synthesized with public access, and integration of the new tunnel.

Five major public spaces along the creek activate the district, each with an individual character and mix of programs. The activity on the creek is supported by the broader district, ensuring 24-hour uses. A continuous creekside multi-use trail is linked to cityside promenades by accessible ramps and stairs at each street intersection.

The proposed result of this regeneration and curation is a Living Cultural Institution. This new paradigm of a dynamic open space joins capital improvements with cultural programs, public-private partnerships, district level economic development, and innovative sustainability planning.