Design Waller Creek: A Competition

Sponsor: Waller Creek Conservatory

Type of competition: International, 3-Stage

Language: English

Location: Austin, Texas

Eligibility: Professional Landscape Architects, Architects, and Artists submit portfolios for evaluation during Stage I of the competition.

Registration Fee: None

Competition Advisors:
Donald Stastny FAIA FAICP FCIP – Competition Manager
Jennifer Mannhard AICP LEED AP – Competition Project Manager
John H Alschuler, Jr. – HR&A
Richard Haag FASLA – Landscape Architect
Carlos Jimenez – Architect
Marsha Maytum FAIA LEEP AP – Partner of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Darrel Morrison FASLA – Landscape Architect
Allan W. Shearer ASLA – Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Construction Budget: $50 to $60 million


Stage I: Portfolios

8 November 2011 – Competition registration begins
8 November-16 December 2011- Question and Answer period
29 November 2011 – Pre-submittal Meeting
16 December 2011 – Competition Registration ends
20 December 2011 – Lead Designer/Design Team Portfolios due
17-19 January 2012 – Jury evaluates Lead Designer/Design Team Portfolios and makes recommendation
20 January 2012 – Governance Group reviews Jury recommendation and makes decision
30 January 2012 – Announce results of Stage I and issue Invitations for Stage II Participation
Stage II: Team Qualifications
14 February 2012 – Begin Stage II: Team Qualifications
14 February- 16 March 2012 – Question and Answer period
February 2012 Networking Session (for incorporation of local and M/W/DBE firms)
27 March 2012 Stage II Team Qualifications submittals due
10-12 April 2012 – Jury evaluates Teams’ submittals, interviews Teams and makes recommendation
13 April 2012 – Governance Group reviews Jury recommendation and makes decision
16 April 2012 – Announce results of Stage II and issue Invitations for Stage III Participation
Stage III: Design Concepts

15-16 May 2012 – Design Briefing and Site Visit
15 May – 31 August 2012 – Question and Answer period
27-29 June 2012 – Mid-course Reviews 1
1-3 August 2012 – Mid-course Reviews 2
12 September 2012 – Design Concept Submittals due
17-21 September 2012 – Compliance check and technical evaluation
17-30 September 2012 Public Exhibition of Design Concepts
2-4 October 2012 Jury evaluates Design Concepts, receives Teams’ presentations, ranks Teams, and makes recommendation
12 October 2012 Jury recommendation submitted to the Governance Group
16 October 2012 Governance Group makes decision and announces winning Design Team/Design Concept

Design challenge:

The Waller Creek international design competition calls for the most innovative and qualified landscape architects, architects, and artists to join forces and present their ideas for remaking a currently fragmented and undervalued section of Austin into a vibrant, livable, workable district.

Waller Creek is a thin, urban riparian ecosystem that meanders for 7 miles from the northern part of the City southward through The University of Texas at Austin campus and along the eastern edge of the downtown area before it meets Lady Bird Lake, which is, itself, part of the Colorado River.  The Conservancy cares deeply about the entire Creek and its 3,700 acre watershed and as a first step in revitalization of this natural resource, it is focusing its efforts on the lower 1.5 miles.

Over the years this 15 block stretch has suffered from erosion, invasive species, and pollution.Today it is largely hidden by partial channelization and disengaged development.  Lower Waller Creek can also be dangerous.  Although in many places it is no more than 15 feet wide, it can swell to over 50 times its normal size during extreme flood events.Today, though, there is the opportunity to imagine a different Waller Creek, one that is a vital component of urban infrastructure, an open stage for social interaction, and a restored source of natural beauty.

In asking leading professionals to re-envision the role of a small creek in the context of a densely populated urban area, the competition organizers recognize an all too commonly neglected resource for cities around the world.  In seeking answers, Conservancy members and supporters not only expect specific solutions that reflect the environmental and cultural contexts of Austin, they also anticipate new paradigms that will advance landscape and urban design thinking.  With an expected construction budget of between $50 and $60 million, Waller Creek represents what can be called the biggest small creek transformation in the nation.

Submission requirements:

Design Waller Creek: A Competition is a three-stage process. The three stages are (1) portfolio evaluations to select 8 to 10 potential lead designers, (2) team interviews to select up to 4 potential design teams, and (3) a design competition to select a design with the most appropriate team to execute that design.

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