A spring full of architecural blooms.

Architecture in Bloom

Spring arrived on March 20, and ever since, developments on local architectural projects have been popping up like wildflowers.

  • The first blossom to sprout belonged to the Austin Museum of Art, specifically its new downtown facility. On March 30, AMOA's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the building's Schematic Design based on the most recent work of project architects Gluckman Mayner. The design makes good on the building's relationship to Republic Square on the north by putting its main entrance across from the park and even adding in fountains to echo those in Republic Square. It also makes good on the rep of lead architect Richard Gluckman for filling his buildings with light. On that north facade, the Museum Store and restaurant will boast large walls of translucent glass, with transparent glass fronting the entrance to the lobby. The interior of the building will include a courtyard with a multi-story light well, and a system of skylights will feed the galleries with controllable natural light. With this approval, the museum goes into the Design Development phase, with a final design expected by summer's end. Groundbreaking is set to begin in the fall.

  • AMOA produced a follow-up bloom a week later with its announcement of a multi-million-dollar renovation for its Laguna Gloria site. The museum plans to spend at least $10 million to expand the art school, re-landscape the gardens, and erect a 2,500-square-foot visitors' center and exhibit hall on the former Clara Driscoll estate. After the current exhibition closes next month, architects will conduct a historical study and site survey, after which the restoration process will be spread over three to four years. Lake/Flato Architects will lead the renovation. (That brings the number of Austin cultural projects on this hot San Antonio firm's plate to three -- after the new Austin Lyric Opera headquarters and community school and the Harry Ransom Center renovation at UT.)

  • This week, a new bloom appeared in Town Lake Park: that of the new community events center that will replace Palmer Auditorium. The $34 million facility's designs were released, revealing an unusually playful structure, with a huge metal roof that drips off the center at the corners nearly to the ground, suggesting a big tent or even metal bat wings (!). The new center is the brainchild of local award-winners Barnes Architects, in collaboration with Taniguchi & Associates and Connecticut's Centerbrook Architects. It features 70,000 square feet of exhibit space in the main hall, with support spaces ringing the hall on the ground level and meeting rooms on the upper level. Civic events held currently in Palmer are scheduled to make the jump to the new center in May 2002.

  • There was even a sprout last week from the Blanton Museum of Art. You may recall that following the ugly departure of project architect Herzog & De Meuron, the Board of Regents made some noise about moving the museum site -- sticking it over on the northeast corner of campus, by the Thompson Conference Center or where Simkins Dorm is. Well, it ain't happening. Cesar Pelli & Associates, authors of the Campus Master Plan, have reported to UT that they think the original site at Speedway and Martin Luther King Boulevard is still the best on campus, and the number-crunchers have added to that, saying it's the cheapest site in terms of gas, water, and sewer lines that would have to be rerouted. So by Jester the museum stays.

  • A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

    Support the Chronicle  

    More Articulations
    The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

    Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

    It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

    Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


    articulations, arts news, austin arts news, austin museum of art, amoa, richard gluckman, austin museum of art : laguna gloria, austin lyric opera, palmer auditorium, lake / flato architects, barnes architects, taniguchi &associates, centerbrook architect

    One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

    Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

    Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

    Austin's queerest news and events

    New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

    Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

    Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle