Finalist: Davis Sprinkle - Jenga
Davis Sprinkle's "Jenga" won second place in the "Wild Card" of the Build Your Own Broadway event in March of 2016.

Many in the city used Good Friday to gain an early start on the Easter weekend, but a working group of the city’s cultural and civic leaders settled in for a full day of work inside the lower Broadway offices of Centro San Antonio.

It takes 12 men and women to make a jury.

Two young designers from the local architecture firm Overland Partners led the jury through a visual presentation of submissions in the Build Your Own Broadway ideas competition, an array of ideas and concepts that was astonishing in its creative breadth and imagination.

Nearly 100 different teams and individuals submitted BYOB entries. Some were drawn by $20,000 in prize money offered by Centro San Antonio, which is leading an initiative to make the redesign of Broadway one of the city’s 2017 bond projects. Many were attracted by something even bigger – the possibility of transforming San Antonio’s most important north-south surface street from a vehicle artery into a world-class urban destination.

Place Changing, the community building collaborative between the Rivard Report and Overland Partners, takes to the stage at the Pearl Stable Wednesday evening with two finalists in three categories taking to the stage to present, PechaKucha style, their big ideas.

It’s going to be a sellout, but click here for available tickets.

“I’m excited, and all the jurors are hyped up about it,” said Darryl Byrd, the jury chairman and managing partner at ULTRAte Consulting. “This competition at its foundation is all about inviting citizens to get engaged, to solicit their creative answers to the question: What can Broadway look like? BYOBroadway is an exercise in civic engagement. It’s meant to compliment the more practical design work that will come down the road. The fuel powering this city forward to become a great city is going to be the citizens themselves. It’s going to take all of us to get to greatness.”

In addition to Byrd serving as chairman of the ideas competition jury, members include:Sherry Kafka Wagner, writer and journalist; Brian Dillard, cybersecurity worker and Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association president; Marina Alderete Gavito, executive director of Tech Bloc; Kevin Peckham, executive director of Choose San Antonio; Mary Heathcott, executive director of Blue Star Art Museum; Cruz Ortiz, artist and teacher; Roberto Prestigiacomo, associate professor of human communication and theatre at Trinity University and director of AtticRep at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts; Marise McDermott, CEO of the Witte Museum; Gini Garcia, founder of Garcia Art Glass; Uchennaya Ogba, inbound marketing strategist with Bethany East PR; Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, CEO of the DoSeum; and Suhail Arastu, development director for Musical Bridges Around the World.

Members of the Pearl Stable audience will select the People’s Choice Award winner from the remaining 86 submissions. In other words, the audience will be its own jury and select an entry otherwise overlooked. The winner, who must be present to win, will be invited on stage to collect $2,000. Most of the teams and individuals who entered the ideas competition have said they will attend the event.  Here’s a sampling of the submissions eligible for the People’s Choice Award:

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Allison Hu and Nicolas Rivard, two designers at Overland Partners, managed the ideas competition and the 92 entries entered in the three categories.

“The humbling display of intelligence, creativity and sheer love for place resulting from this competition should be incredibly telling,” Hu said after the jury completed its selection of six finalists. “This city is unstoppable. San Antonio must continue to challenge itself to better listen to, deploy, and reward its own creative capital to address a wide variety of urgent needs. I think all participants will leave the event feeling inspired and ready to build on the work already done. “

“I’m super excited by the variety of participation our little experiment received: Elementary kids, architecture students, design professionals, and nearby neighbors all made great contributions – way more than we expected, in fact,” said Nicolas Rivard. “It is a signal that demonstrates a very high level of commitment to improving out city.”

All 92 entries will be posted in the Pearl Stable foyer Wednesday evening so audience members can vote on the $2,000 People’s Choice Award winner. The six finalists will receive cash awards and are excluded from the popular vote. Hu and Nicolas Rivard are formatting the entries so the Rivard Report can provide readers with a link Wednesday, allowing those attending the event to get an advance look at the submissions and cast their vote upon arrival.

“I was in awe of not only the sheer volume of submissions, but the comprehensive nature of entries,” said Suhail Arastu, executive director of Musical Bridges and one of the jurors. “By and large, the applicants approached the challenge as an integrated approach to urban planning beyond functional aesthetics. ‘Pershing Park(ing)’ rose to the top in my reviews , while ‘Juxtaposition,’ another favorite of mine that creatively harnessed the kinetic energy of passing cards to create light, didn’t even make the finals.”

Another juror, Marina Gavito, executive director of TechBloc, had a similar experience.

“To see the amount of thought and effort that went into this competition was truly inspiring,” Gavito said.
“I absolutely loved one of the projects, ‘Juxtapose,’ which transformed an underpass area into an interactive space with lights and tall trees. It is an interesting concept and I can imagine locals and tourists thrilled to take it all in. This is our San Antonio, the city we all love, and I am so excited to see all of us coming together to build something great.”

Here are the two finalists in each of the three categories that will be presenting at the Pearl Stable on Wednesday evening:

Reinvent the Underpass

Dan Carter - Creciente Park Masterplan
Finalist: Dan Carter – Creciente Park Masterplan
Bernadette Lewis - The Underpass
Finalist: Bernadette Lewis – The Underpass

Public Space Gateways

Finalist: Brantley Hightower - Pershing Park(ing)
Finalist: Brantley Hightower – Pershing Park(ing)
Finalist: Seema Kairam - Broadway Crossblocks
Finalist: Seema Kairam – Broadway Crossblocks

Wild Card

Finalist: Davis Sprinkle - Jenga
Finalist: Davis Sprinkle – Jenga
Finalist: Tom Christal - Broadway "Overlooking" Brackenridge Park
Finalist: Tom Christal – Broadway “Overlooking” Brackenridge Park

Related Stories:

Hausman Road: The High Cost of Sprawl in San Antonio

Broadway: A Street Still aWaiting Public Investment

BYOBroadway: An Open Competition to Design a Great Street

Dignowity Hill: A Neighborhood With a Story

Robert Rivard, co-founder of the San Antonio Report who retired in 2022, has been a working journalist for 46 years. He is the host of the bigcitysmalltown podcast.