February 2, 2012 :: Posted by Julie Blakeslee
Hello. January. was it good for you? Because like I don't really remember. Our clients have been fantastic. Just like we all wish it would go people started calling in November to begin planning for spring work. So like a good little firm we've been designing like fiends- right on schedule.
We have been sojourning to Johnson City for a project. It's only an hour and a half away but it makes me feel all city folk.
Justin and I popped out of the truck to open the fence to the property and felt like we needed safety orange. Justin just giggled- don't be ridiculous. It's important to round out any trip to the Hill Country with BBQ- and we deemed Ronnie's appropriate after seeing his parking lot.
But at the table I looked to my right and saw the christmas raffle and I reassessed my safety orange needs. planting begins in the spring- should be safer.
anyhoo- a little of January went to my time on the Waller Creek Conservancy board.
It's a public private conservancy a la the Central Park Conservancy that is helping to fund a juried competition to design the newly available land along Waller Creek here in Austin. The CoA got bond money to make a tunnel that will control the creek's flooding. This opens up 28 acres of new land- along the 1.5 mile of creek. It's 11% of downtown- including palm park on Cesar Chavez and 1-35 and Waterloo park. They are building the giant tunnel thing at Waterloo park. Incredible opportunity to design right in the middle of Austin. The Jury was in town 2 weeks or so ago to narrow the submissions to 9 teams. Check it:
Stage II Teams
Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos and Miró Rivera Architects
Civitas and BIG New York City
CMG and Public Architecture
James Corner Field Operations and SHoP
!melk and Page Southerland Page
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer & Partners
Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Saucier & Perrotte
Turenscape and Lake | Flato Architects
Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects and Rogers Marvel Architects
The jury dinner was held at a friend and client's house downtown. I was looking forward to the dinner because the jury of course is populated with superstars in the garden design world. But the afternoon before the dinner, the host called, bless her heart- she was at the end of 3 huge dinners in 3 days in a row- and asked ever so sweetly if we had anything hanging around the office that would suffice as table decor for the dinner for 50. I had to turn to Justin and say, well ah, can we just whip up something well freaking extraordinary for some of the top garden design people in the country ah by tomorrow @ 4pm? ever resourceful Justin dug around in our valentine's day stash and came up with this last minute effort:
I was lucky enough to sit by juror Darrel Morrison. He's famous around here for designing the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center. But he's Mr. Native incarnate- hails from NYC. We had a great discussion about the Johnson City project which is several acres that will not be irrigated. And no latin was spoken well until my second glass of wine where you know those plant names just roll off your tongue and onto the table. I tease, but you know it's nice to sit next to a landscape architect who's into plants. A lot of times they like to leave the touchy feely plant parts to the garden design team. Which of course is good by us right?!
Next stage of the competition is for each of the firms to present concepts and the field will be narrowed to four teams who will receive 100k stipend to fully develop their plans. They will be presented in the fall (smart to have all these people here in the blistering summer thinking about our parks) and the jury will choose the team who will receive the commission. It's pretty fascinating to think about and an honor to be involved in such an historic undertaking. just that. more later. xoxojb