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drawing the park
out of the parking lot

From derelict shopping mall to lively urban district with widespread appeal, the Highland District exemplifies grand vision and the power of purposeful adaptive reuse. Originally opened in 1971, Highland Mall was Austin’s first indoor shopping mall and remained open until April 2015, at which point the 80-acre site had succumbed to urban blight.

Widespread surface parking was converted to parks and a pedestrian-oriented public realm that, along with progressive urban design guidelines, paved the way to an active and inviting setting with tremendous redevelopment potential. The mall facility was repurposed as a new science and technology campus, while adjacent parcels will feature trendy residences, offices, retail and a hotel — all united by walkable urban fabric that is consistent, compact and connected.

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reshaping connections
for the future

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Long underserved and overlooked, east Austin is experiencing a full-fledged renaissance — and Plaza Saltillo’s pedestrian-oriented redesign focuses on reconnecting the site to the larger urban area, improving connectivity, activating the edges, promoting community interaction though immersive paseos, and providing exceptional parks and open space for the community.

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temporary park,
enduring change

This temporary park installation in Fort Worth’s Near Southside district demonstrated the tremendous value of small-scale neighborhood parks in urban settings — and led to enduring municipal policy change. Created by neighborhood stakeholders, Magnolia Micro-park converted a vacant property into an active neighborhood destination for 21 months, drawing significant local crowds. From donated lacebark elms and holly trees to shipping container art exhibits, the micro-park’s impact resulted in it being relocated to the SoMa development — and inspired the city to add an urban parks designation to its Parks Master Plan.

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modern city with
colonial roots

Essex Modern City is an ambitious urban infill endeavor inspired by historical patterns of San Antonio as a Spanish colonial city while leveraging the best of contemporary technology and progressive approaches.

Vertical urban farming, historical precedent, public art and diversity are key parts of the bold vision helping to define the program.

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a true
grassroots initiative

Catalyzed by a pro bono initiative and community outreach, the redevelopment of Dignowity-Lockwood Park is a testament to grassroots initiative and community engagement. Momentum began building when a multidisciplinary design team organized as Public Space East engaged the community between July 2015 and February 2016 through large community meetings as well as knocking on doors and meeting individual families; the use of virtual reality goggles allowed residents to visualize the improvements in three dimensions.

The community’s input helped shape the ensuing design, which includes an iconic, all-ages hilltop playscape combining organic elements, sculpted land forms, play structures and a giant swing as a playful way to view and connect with the city. The successful passage of San Antonio’s 2017 park bond program rewarded the team’s efforts and has made the project a reality.

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digging for more?

→ contact us to receive even more information on how we foresee the future of our work.

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