Architects, designers, and landscape designers gathered outside 1221 Broadway to show off what they could do to transform a usually empty parking space into a pedestrian space for Park(ing) Day, an event held in cities around the world. Seven local teams competed to see who would win awards for Most Creative, Most Transformative, and who would win the People’s Choice Award.

Installations ranged from fun, with a mini-golf course, to agricultural, with a display of local, edible plants, to educational, with a display of the Monarch butterfly migration.

Tania Hernandez, landscape designer and planner at CFZ Group and member of ASLA South Texas, told the Rivard Report that her installation, “Culinary Garden,” is supposed to inform people that some indigenous plants can grow anywhere. Even in parking spaces.

“We want people to know that plants can thrive in an urban environment, such as a busy street like Broadway,” Hernandez said.

"Culinary Garden" by ASLA South Texas. Photo by Scott Ball.
“Culinary Garden” by ASLA South Texas. Photo by Scott Ball.

The Most Creative and Most Transformative categories were judged by Centro San Antonio Events and Marketing Manager Liz Burt, American Institute of Architects San Antonio Chapter President Christine Viña, and Rivard Report Director Robert Rivard.

Viña told the Rivard Report after the judging that this event has the potential to be permanently transformative.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate, in such a little amount of time, how something (like this) can be entirely transformational,” Viña said. “It’s also a great opportunity to show the creativity of our designers and architects.”

After walking through the installations, the winners were announced in the courtyard of TGB Landscape Architects, who hosted the event.

The Most Creative winner was Lake/Flato Architects, whose display included a prototype of a bus bench with a solar panel cover that would move to shade people as the sun moved.

For Most Transformative, the judges picked “Culinary Gardens” by ASLA South Texas for demonstrating the durability of plants in urban spaces.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award was “Park and Play” by Douglas Architects. The wooden structure was adorned with a mini-golf course, a table for chess and checkers, and a drink stand with refreshments provided by Estate Coffee Company.

Douglas Architects Associate Darian Mason told the Rivard Report that the firm’s installation sought to give the space a purpose while it was empty.

“It’s a lot of separate games that, all together, basically means that it’s not a place where you can come and sit down and do nothing,” Mason said. “We want people to understand that through a little bit of work and simple interventions you can put in park spaces very easily in an urban setting. It can also be successful in growing your community.”

Top image: The winner of San Antonio Park(ing) Day 2016, “Park and Play” by Douglas Architects. Photo by Scott Ball.

Related Stories:

San Antonio Park(ing) Day to Promote Walkable Urbanism on Broadway

Thinking Outside the Park(ing) Spot

Commentary: San Antonio Greatness Requires Walkability 

Broadway, a Street Still Awaiting Public Investment

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.