Austin, Texas - Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin, announces three internationally renowned landscape architecture firms as finalists to create a Master Site Plan for Laguna Gloria, Austin's picturesque historic treasure. This process will allow the institution to further its mission as a dynamic contemporary arts destination integrated into a beautiful natural setting. The three finalists are: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture (San Francisco, CA); Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture (Boston, MA); and SNØHETTA (New York, NY, and Oslo, Norway).
Grachos states, "We are delighted to report that The Contemporary Austin received almost two dozen strong submissions from across the globe. All innovators and leaders in their field, the finalists are exceptional and talented firms who have embraced the exciting opportunity to create a Master Site Plan for Laguna Gloria. The legacy of Laguna Gloria and the Driscoll Villa is the cornerstone of our museum's future and we feel strongly that it deserves the best possible vision to ensure it will become a true art and nature destination for our community and our cultural and naturalist visitors. Coupled with the right vision, proper stewardship, and a dynamic art program, Laguna Gloria will become a spotlight as a national art destination."
Frederick R. Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, led a committee that sent out a Request for Qualifications in May 2013. The finalists traveled to Austin in October 2013 to present their proposals, with each firm provided with an honorarium to enhance their Master Site Plan demonstrations. Subsequently, the selection committee will travel to each of the three firms to visit their studios and local examples of their work, concluding at the end of January 2014. The committee will reconvene in mid-February to determine the finalist who will take the lead in bringing Laguna Gloria into its full potential, with a formal announcement to come in early spring 2014.
Dean Steiner adds, "These three firms are not only leading innovators in urban and landscape design, but also have rich experience working with artists and arts communities. They all have impressive records of significant design and planning work."
The main stipulation in the Request for Qualifications was for the selected firm to develop a comprehensive Master Site Plan that fully incorporates the twelve acres of Laguna Gloria while laying the groundwork for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park and respecting the existing historic 1916 Italianate Driscoll Villa, the fifty-year-old Art School, and the vibrant ecology of the site.
In early 2013, the museum commissioned Jonathan Ogren of Siglo Group to conduct a thorough environmental assessment of the Laguna Gloria grounds, including detailed site analyses of the property's natural and cultural history, descriptions of special qualities and features, and conservation and management guidelines for improving and preserving this very special location on the shores of Lake Austin.
As the design process takes shape, the Austin community will learn how the museum is committed to building upon this Conservation Management Initiative for the long-term stewardship of Laguna Gloria, so that the landscape will become more resilient, diverse, and welcoming for art and nature lovers alike. Emphasizing that The Contemporary Austin is one institution with two distinct and evolving locations encompassing the urban-based Jones Center and a nature-focused outdoor experience at Laguna Gloria, the continuing investment in these sites is a perfect complement to the museum's ambitious exhibition, education, and community engagement programs.
ABOUT ANDREA COCHRAN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
(San Francisco, CA)
The work of Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture sculpts and navigates space through a seamless integration of landscape, art, and architecture. The studio's work draws boundaries with a controlled palette of materials, creating permeable edges that blur the line between the natural and built environment. Spare geometry applied to vibrant plant life results in sharp compositional order. This exercise in restraint heightens a sense of the elements—texture, light, and movement.
ABOUT REED HILDERBRAND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Reed Hilderbrand is founded on the belief that the designed landscape is among the most potent and durable instruments in cultural expression. Striving for clarity of purposes in all aspects of design, Reed Hilderbrand collaborates with other artists and professionals to help institutions, public stewards, and individuals articulate ideas through landscape. The studio works at the vital intersection of nature and culture—integrating responsible care for the land with the ordinary and extraordinary needs of modern life.
(New York, NY, and Oslo, Norway)
SNØHETTA began 25 years ago as a transdisciplinary architecture and landscape workshop and has remained true to this pioneering manner of working since its inception. Today, SNØHETTA has grown to become an internationally renowned practice that also includes interiors and brand design. With studios in Oslo, Norway, and New York City, SNØHETTA currently employs 130 people from 20 countries and is among the largest merged landscape and architecture workshops in the world.
ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
The Contemporary Austin's mission is focused on bringing nationally and internationally recognized artists to Austin to create new work that will inspire a greater understanding and appreciation for contemporary art. Commissioning artists to create site-responsive work engages the community, provides direct access to artists and the creative process, and makes our organization a hub of creativity and inspiration. Through our innovative exhibitions and educational and public programs, The Contemporary enlivens and inspires Austin's diverse communities.