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alliance children’s garden – austin, texas

It’s Austin’s epicenter of play for all children — and all those with fearless child-like imaginations. Located adjacent to the iconic Doug Sahm Hill and Liz Carpenter Fountain, the Alliance Children’s Garden represents the final phase of Town Lake Park’s multiyear development — and the 20-year development effort is ending with a flourish. Drawing from the surrounding cultural and natural context, the park design promotes imaginative exploration through immersive features, including distinctive arrangements of locally sourced limestone and hills mimicking the Edwards Aquifer’s rare qualities. Elements like a rock and slide valley, oversized fire ants, life-sized chess, sand play and original works of art and music will celebrate Austin’s rich heritage in an irresistible way.

client: City of Austin | Parks and Recreation Department

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q2 stadium – austin, texas

The new home for Austin’s first professional sports team is anything but merely a sports stadium — it’s a multifaceted civic destination with everyday allure exceeding far beyond sports. TBG has worked closely with Gensler Sports to lay the foundation for an immersive destination and catalyst to enhancements for the larger area through adaptive reuse of the McKalla Place site. The vision prioritizes green infrastructure — including habitat creation, rainwater capture and reuse, pervious paving and drought-tolerant planting design — connections throughout the site and to adjacent destinations, and site activation for vibrant daily use, special events and match days.

client: Gensler Sports

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mayor vera calvin plaza – burleson, texas

As a prominent stop on the historic interurban railway system connecting north Texas communities, Burleson was a key node on a regional trolley car system that was years ahead of its time — and contemporary urban renewal efforts celebrate that legacy through contextual placemaking. The City has converted the area fronting Burleson City Hall — formerly surface parking lots — into a multipurpose civic plaza as the community’s living room. The design integrates historic elements including a train depot and two trolley cars from the early 20th century into a new civic space able to accommodate community-wide events as well as informal daily activity. The reimagined Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza celebrates Burleson’s historical legacy and provides an inviting civic hub for the community.

client: City of Burleson

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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.

client: Willow Fork Drainage District

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the parish school – houston, texas

At a nationally recognized special needs school in Houston, play environments rooted in imagination are an integral part of the curriculum. For the past few years, TBG has been working closely with The Parish School to create a series of Outdoor Learning Environments (OLE) that collectively comprise the overall Margaret Noecker Nature Center. These efforts included interviews with school staff and development of a master plan for the entire site. Known as Little Acorn Park, the first constructed OLE is for the youngest users, children up to 3 years old, and its popularity with kids of all ages has vastly exceeded expectations and created excitement for future phases. Little Acorn Park’s design is based on OLE guidelines and features approximately 10 rooms with features focused on climbing, digging, affordance and play value, among others.

client: The Parish School

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willow fork park – katy, texas

Opened in November 2016, Willow Fork Park is a 32-acre park completed as part of Phase II of Willow Fork Drainage District’s Parks Master Plan, which was developed by TBG to serve multiple communities within WFDD. The park design converted the flat 32-acre parcel into a more immersive setting with topographical variety — large rolling hills provide many informal play opportunities — as well as multipurpose lawns, trails, disc golf, playground and a lake. Additional project elements include a pedestrian bridge, pavilion, boardwalks, solar-powered lighting, rain gardens and educational signage.

client: Willow Fork Drainage District

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south main village parks – fort worth, texas

These two intimate urban parks respond to Fort Worth’s need for more gathering areas in dense urban settings — and are helping support the Near Southside district’s ongoing renewal. Both parks, less than an acre in size, were influenced by public input meetings and their design elements and materiality reflect the neighborhood’s industrial aesthetic. One provides an off-leash dog park with seating, shade pavilions and lawn space, while the other supports a flexible program, featuring an accessible boardwalk with integrated pavilions and seating, multipurpose lawn, environmental graphics, and limestone quarry blocks to define spaces and provide extra seating, as well as adjacent alley improvements.

client: Near Southside, Inc.

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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.

client: City of Austin

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lady bird johnson wildflower center luci and ian family garden – austin, texas

It’s a wonderland for play where whimsical features impart valuable lessons about nature, science and history — that dually serves as a testing ground for sustainable landscape performance. Located at one of the nation’s leading institutions on native plants and conservation, the 4.5-acre garden tells a rich story of central Texas ecology and natural sciences through artful play elements. Whimsical features like a walk-in grotto with waterfall, oversized bird nests woven from on-site grapevines, a walk-through Fibonacci spiral forged of mosaic-inlaid limestone walls, karstic limestone boulders with interactive watering holes, and a flowing creek with dinosaur footprints enchant and educate children of all ages. The garden was a Pilot Project for the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), providing valuable insights into sustainable design and landscape conservation.

client: The University of Texas at Austin

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