public - institutional projects
Exploration Park – Katy, Texas
Neighborhood kids would spend all day at Exploration Park if they could — and they’re learning valuable lessons about natural sciences while they play. It’s whimsical and immersive, prompting return visits for families, and the entire playground concept is based on water, with hands-on learning opportunities for park patrons of all ages. Features like a giant berm in the shape of water ripples, a xylophone bridge, an interactive water wall depicting the rain cycle and other features make learning fun — and interpretive signage presents key concepts in a lucid manner to aid comprehension.
Congress Avenue Bridge Overlook Donor Ring – Austin, Texas
When The Trail Foundation (TTF) sought help recognizing donors who funded a prominent new viewing platform along the Butler Trail under the Congress Avenue Bridge, TBG’s environmental graphics team developed an artful, integrated solution exceeding expectations. The viewing platform under Congress Avenue, perfect for the nightly bat viewing, was part of a meandering, 172-foot passage of elevated trail that opened in late May 2018 and replaced a narrow, decaying, wooden expanse that existed for more than 40 years. TTF wanted to recognize donors, and rather than a plaque or sign off to the side, TBG’s environmental graphics team conceived of an aluminum, oval-shaped ring, displaying 25 names, integrated into the new viewing platform at the ground level. The 1/8” aluminum ring is made up of 17 butt-joined segments that were attached to a base plate on the viewing platform and epoxied down, becoming a seamless extension of the platform itself.
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas – Austin, Texas
Anything but sterile and boring, time spent at Dell Children’s is full of whimsical play and immersive environments — and they’re integral to the therapeutic process. A pioneering healthcare facility, Dell Children’s prioritizes the restorative powers of nature and unstructured play to aid recovery and well-being. Its sustainable approaches also set new standards for healthcare design; it was the world’s first LEED Platinum healthcare facility. The outdoor healing garden serves as the hospital’s backyard and includes a labyrinth, human sundial, ponds and a butterfly garden amid bright colors and textural variety. A multi-level courtyard depicts the six ecoregions found in the hospital’s 46-county service area, with characteristic native plants articulating a regional story. The facility’s remarkable impact spurred expansion and the development of a third bed tower that was completed summer 2013, as well as more recent enhancements.
Texas State Capitol South Grounds – Austin, Texas
It’s the civic hub for celebrations, demonstrations and grassroots movements of all varieties in the capital city — and it happens to be the largest green space in downtown Austin. Perched under the iconic Texas State Capitol’s south façade and overlooking Congress Avenue, the south grounds serve as the gathering or finishing point for nearly every significant Austin parade, march, protest, rally and celebration, in addition to accommodating passive daily recreation in a serene setting. The grounds are full of artifacts and period-specific elements, providing a tour through Lone Star State history in an enchanting park-like setting. The grounds were restored to an early 20th century datum period following the completion of a large-scale restoration of the Capitol and its underground extension in 1993.
Riverstone Wetland Park – Sugar Land, Texas
A celebration of simpler times and the land’s natural heritage, Riverstone’s wetland park connects kids to nature in a way that inspires simple play — and getting a little dirty. Created from a parcel of flat land in partnership with a biologist, the wetland park is a rich ecosystem full of thriving aquatic plants, bald cypress domes, interactive features, and animals like egrets, fish and frogs. Engaging elements like a mud pie kitchen, targets in ponds to inspire skipping stones, pathways of partially submerged rocks, meandering trails, and interpretive signage — including pillars with pull-out drawers featuring an integrated magnifying glass for closer examination — promote learning through play. This atypical park destination speaks to the authenticity of the place while fulfilling requirements to replace wetlands lost to development.
Town Lake Park – Austin, Texas
One of Austin’s most prominent and well-used urban parks, Town Lake Park is a multifaceted destination along the southern shores of Town Lake south of downtown Austin. TBG began working on a park master plan in the late 1990s and has been implementing individual projects over a four-phase implementation sequence ever since. These efforts have included facilitating numerous public charrettes attended by a wide variety of stakeholders to develop a community-oriented destination park. Prominent features include an iconic spiral hill with panoramic skyline views, a popular fountain and sprayground with choreographed jets, a major trailhead for the 10-mile Butler Trail, and the final project, the Alliance Children’s Garden, which is a whimsical destination inspired by Austin’s history.
WFDD Parks & Trails Master Plan & Implementation – Fort Bend County, Texas
In west Houston, the public realm and overall connectivity have received significant enhancements through thoughtful design and community engagement. Working with the 5,718-acre Willow Fork Drainage District (WFDD), TBG helped community members understand their open space opportunities through stakeholder meetings, showcasing recreational opportunities available through a bond package approved by the district. Based on that community input, TBG developed a plan that included four parks, including a community park with an amphitheater; a large passive park with a trail, lake and educational components; a third park with sports fields; and a linear park along existing draining channels. By partnering with local schools, the team was able to use public funds to provide neighborhood parks available for community use that also improve the school grounds. The partnership with WFDD is ongoing and spans macro efforts like parks and trails master plans to micro level individual parks and trails projects.