The Contemporary Austin Selects Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture to Transform Historic Laguna Gloria Site into an Art-in-Nature Destination
April 11, 2014
Austin, Texas — Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Director of The Contemporary Austin, today announced that the museum has taken the next step in its dramatic self-transformation by selecting Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture to design the master plan for its historic Laguna Gloria site. Reed Hilderbrand is now charged with reconceiving the entire 12-acre estate—including the woods, meadow, waterfront and Italianate 1916 Driscoll Villa—to create an unparalleled art-in-nature experience, including the new Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park.
A museum and art school that operates in two locations in Austin—The Jones Center downtown, and Laguna Gloria overlooking the Colorado River—The Contemporary redefined itself in 2013 as an indoor-outdoor institution committed to commissions and exhibitions of works by today’s most innovative artists. As an integral part of this redefinition, The Contemporary initiated an international search in May 2013 for a firm to realize the potential of Laguna Gloria as a site for education, exhibitions and community engagement. Among the principal components will be the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, featuring permanent and temporary installations of site-responsive sculpture by some of today’s most vital and imaginative artists.
Louis Grachos stated, “We are delighted to welcome Reed Hilderbrand to Austin, as the outstanding international firm that will help us reinvent the legacy of Laguna Gloria and the Driscoll Villa as the cornerstone of our institution’s future. During our competition we reviewed the work of more than twenty exceptional landscape architects, but our selection committee was unanimous in seeing Reed Hilderbrand as having the vision to create a true art-and-nature experience that will serve our own community and be an international destination.”
Douglas Reed, FASLA, partner of Reed Hilderbrand, stated, “This is an exceptional commission, for which we are grateful to The Contemporary Austin and its selection committee, headed by Frederick R. Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. The historic character of Laguna Gloria is a legacy of its terraced landform overlooking Lake Austin, the Villa, its gardens and the site’s diverse ecology. It is already exceptional among America’s cultural sites, and we look forward to expanding its natural appeal to support the Contemporary Austin’s remarkable curatorial program. It is an honor to be called on to design the master plan for what will become a must-see location for the art world.”
Reed will lead the project’s design in collaboration with Principal-in-Charge Chris Moyles, ASLA, who recently led the firm’s creation of the Parrish Art Museum landscape in Water Mill, NY. The firm will lead a design team that includes Trahan Architects (New Orleans), Lord Cultural Resources (New York) and ETM Associates (New Jersey). Local Austin collaborators include Urban Design Group and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture, based in Cambridge, MA, is known for its work at institutions including the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, AZ; the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, CO; and the Houston Arboretum. Founded on the belief that the designed landscape is among the most potent and durable instruments in cultural expression, Reed Hilderbrand works at the vital intersection of nature and culture, integrating responsible care for the land with the complexities of modern life. The American Society of Landscape Architects named Reed Hilderbrand 2013 Firm of the Year in recognition of a body of distinguished work that has influenced the professional practice of landscape architecture in the United States.
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