Downtown Redevelopment

Share your thoughts on new City Hall design concept

The architects working on the design for a new City Hall in southwest downtown made a presentation of their design concepts to the City Council at its Jan. 22 meeting. I know many of you interested in the Downtown Master Plan are interested in this project as well, so I wanted to share the presentation with you.

The team of Architecture Plus and Barnes Gromatsky Kosarek Architects have dubbed the design the "Texas porch," which ought to make at SWark happy (see comments on the last post). Here's a link to our Round Rock Replay page where you can watch the presentation. Go to agenda item 6C.1 on the "Jump To" drop-down menu.

The City Council is pursuing a public-private partnership with Waterstone Development for the building, which is estimated to be 55,000-60,000 square feet. The partnership would have the City occupying approximately 20,000 square feet initially, with the remainder to be leased out by Waterstone. The idea is the City could grow into the lease space over time. The City Council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Waterstone at its Dec. 18, 2008, meeting. (For details on the MOU, this link will take you to a video of the Dec. 18 meeting. The MOU presentation and vote can be found at item 7D2 on the "Jump To" drop-down menu.)


SWark said:

Hi Will! Thanks for your encouragement to catch the update on the plans. I love the web access.

After our last exchange, I thought really hard about what it means to have this sense of place. It looks like the architects were thinking likewise. Here's what I thought:

One of the things Central Texas does best is sunshine. The recent city buildings, so flat and white, are actually kind of painful to look at in our bright light. Stonework that has texture, and therefore has light play as well as shadows, works better here.

Also, patios/porches--places where we can enjoy the amazing weather we have Oct-June, but escape the blaze of July-September. You were right, I did like the patio/open spaces of the proposed designs! Give us an excuse to linger in an area, to move slowly through a space when time permits and perhaps meet our neighbors. Dashing quickly to our cars to escape the heat or the glare doesn't foster community.

I also like the way overhangs are once again fashionable over windows. Buildings that don't respect our environment, that are insufferable and unsafe when the AC goes out, are bad ideas. I'm very pro-AC, just amazed that we toss out commonsense ideas about building in harmony with the natural characteristics of our area.

I like the way you're combining public spaces for the arts and events, path access, and city business.

I don't know if I missed this part of it, but businesses that would be a natural fit for this area would be drop-in spots for quick snacks, smoothies/drinks, and sandwiches.

# February 5, 2009 9:25 PM
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