San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park Summit – Panel 1: Bob Harris

TCLF’s sold-out Leading with Landscape III: Renewing San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park summit, held on March 3, 2017, at The Stable at Pearl, featured nationally prominent practitioners and other leaders who explored options for the park’s future and initiated and inspired broad community-based participation. Convened in concert with the Brackenridge Park Conservancy (BPC) it drew attention to local, regional, and national project work that are exemplars of planning and design, while striking a balance for a landscape’s complex natural, historic, cultural, and ecological systems. To learn more about the conference:

Panelist – Panel 1: What San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park Can Learn from Local Successes

Bob Harris, FAIA, LEED Fellow, Partner, Lake|Flato Architects
Historic Main Plaza and Confluence Park, San Antonio

The spiritual heart of San Antonio since 1730, Historic Main Plaza has served as the prime place of celebration and gathering for religious, social, political, military, economic, and civic purposes. At the turn of the 21st century its place and purpose had been all but lost in the context of the modern city. The civic space upon which life in San Antonio revolved was lost as automobile-centric infrastructure, outward sprawl, and urban erosion hollowed out the city’s core public space. Bringing back the “heart” in Main Plaza required a reimagining of what it might become: a dramatic change both in use and purpose through design that evolved from its cultural history and community’s aspirations for the future.

Shifting scenes from the city’s core to the convergence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, Confluence Park provides a new opportunity to celebrate the ecology of South Texas, to demonstrate the value of natural resources, and to foster environmental stewardship through education in a traditionally underserved portion of the city. What does it take to create a new river landmark, a linkage, a destination, a place for gathering, education, and artistic inspiration, and fresh take on a place we thought we already knew? Where Main Plaza speaks to history, Confluence Park – the latest addition to the Historic Mission Reach portion of the San Antonio River – is an exploration of how art and architecture might combine to do the unexpected, creating a fresh perspective on public space and what the river means to San Antonio.


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