Move over, Zilker Park! The city’s next great gathering ground is slated to debut this spring with the completion of the first phase of the Waterloo Greenway project. Part of the 1.5-mile park system that will extend along Waller Creek from 15th Street to Lady Bird Lake, Waterloo Park will feature 11 acres primed for concerts, performing arts shows, food trucks, field trips, and other events. Here’s a sneak peek at the buzzed-about new project revitalizing downtown Austin’s largest greenspace.
Photo Courtesy Waterloo Greenway Conservancy.
The park was designed by a multidisciplinary team led by architecture firm Thomas Phifer and Partners and landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (The latter firm won an international competition to land the job in 2012.) More than 500 live oaks and other trees were added to the area, including four heritage trees from around Austin, as well as 90,000 plants from 170 different species. The highly sustainable space will have four green roofs, three rain gardens supplied by a cistern that captures ground water, and an irrigation system pumped from Waller Creek. Even the toilets will flush with reclaimed water.
Photo Courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners.
As the world opens back up, get ready to see a mix of ticketed and free concerts and performances at Moody Amphitheater. Industry powerhouses Live Nation Entertainment and Austin-based C3 Presents will produce up to 35 shows here a year. The amphitheater has a capacity of 5,000 seats throughout the Great Lawn—with 3,000 on the lower lawn, which will be removed for non-events, and room for an additional 2,000 seats on the upper lawn.
Photo Courtesy Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.
In lieu of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, the park has a Family Pavilion seating area with two local food trailers, which will rotate regularly. Next to the trucks are the gender-neutral bathrooms designed by local architect Michael Hsu. The bathrooms will have a free-standing concrete vessel sink in the center, a large skylight at the back of the sloped roof, and a back wall covered with greenery. The building is one of the only rectilinear designs in the park, which is filled with undulating curves inspired by the flow of Waller Creek.
Photo Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Named after the late Austin philanthropist and arts supporter, the Kitty King Powell Lawn includes play structures for children like a Mega Grass Maze that mimics overgrown grass, a climbable Log Jam structure, and a hillside stone slide made of granite, which stays cool even in the blazing hot summer months.