Impossible to miss a bright red wall along Broadway, a major north-south artery connecting downtown with close-in suburbs. San Antonio's Lake|Flato Architects, the museum's designer, and Austin's Ten Eyck Landscape Architecture collaborated on the project. The two firms have worked together on several local sites recently and the results are always excellent. See my post on landscapes at The Pearl here.
A block-long striking red wall (bright as it looks) gets attention on busy Broadway which also serves as the gateway to our Museum District and the Pearl Brewery mixed-use redevelopment area. Gabions filled with aqua glass cool that hot red wall color. Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) sits on a filled slope behind the wall. Spots of bright red color show through softening trees.
Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) softens sidewalk edges and should be spectacular in full cotton-candy mode during fall bloom. I'll try to return to see how all the fluffy pink works with the red wall.
The bus stops here. Our Via bus system has a museum route plus a Trolley for visitors. Mexican Olive trees and a bright yellow Esperanza are there to greet you. Imagine that wall as seen from the bus. I'd ride out from town to see this.
Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' looks best against a bright, solid background.
A peek inside the gabion revealed the center is filled with rubble rock but there still seems to be plenty of shine on all sides. Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneurus scaposa) is thriving in a west-facing location.
A few of the grasses are struggling on the slope. Still looks good with dots of gold lantana. I'd follow the aqua spiral up the hill but it's getting hot out here!
We'll turn to the cooling welcome of the museum entrance and the "place-based" design of Lake|Flato which draws inspiration from traditional buildings of South Texas. With this approach, even the firm's earliest projects (now at 30 years) don't seem outdated. Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights' punching in more red accents brought over from the streetside wall.
Thoughtful architecture includes a walkway for families to safely navigate the parking lot.
Stroller and wheelchair-friendly access with shade sails to help beat the Texas heat. Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) in raised planters with softening effects of Mexican Feather Grass and Salvia greggii alongside.
Back the other way, planning ahead for our inevitable deluges.
This is how it's done. One of my favorite things about Christy Ten Eyck projects is most of these plants are already in my landscape or readily available at local nurseries and are a main reason for stopping: plant massing, repeating colors, varying textures--all good ideas to consider.
We won't have to wait long for Ten Eyck's next project which is expected to open just around the corner at the San Antonio Botanical Garden in October. Looking forward to seeing what she does to follow this wonderful DoSeum effort.