The Contemporary Austin Announces Groundbreaking for Phase I of Master Plan That Will Transform Its Laguna Gloria Site
February 16, 2018
Featuring new amenities and a welcoming entrance, Phase I of the Master Plan for Laguna Gloria will greatly enhance the visitor experience at the museum’s beloved site on the shores of Lake Austin.
$3 million grant from The Moody Foundation enables the project to break ground this spring, along with grants from the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and the Still Water Foundation, as well as major gifts from the museum’s Board of Trustees.
FEBRUARY 16, 2018, AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Contemporary Austin announces that it has completed fundraising for Phase I of the Master Plan for its 14-acre lakeside Laguna Gloria site. Once the home of celebrated Texan Clara Driscoll, the enchanting grounds of Laguna Gloria feature a 100-year-old Italianate Villa, The Contemporary Austin Art School, and a bourgeoning sculpture park with more than twenty site-specific works by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists.
The initial stage of a multi-year project, Phase I will enhance the visitor experience at Laguna Gloria through architectural solutions that offer robust amenities presently unavailable at the site, including an arrival garden, retail space, outdoor café, and extended canopies providing shaded areas for guests. The new entrance will also incorporate works of art into the streetscape along West 35th Street, including a colorful sculptural installation by artist Jessica Stockholder.
Named the Moody Pavilions in honor of a $3 million grant from The Moody Foundation, the new visitor amenities will shape Laguna Gloria into a destination for cultural engagement that is unparalleled in the region.
"We want to invest in spaces where the community can experience art in nature, and The Contemporary Austin’s project at Laguna Gloria aligned with our vision," said Ross Moody, Trustee of The Moody Foundation. "We knew our support could be a major step forward for their Master Plan, so we were really pleased to contribute momentum to the project. We believe the community-and visitors from around the world-will enjoy the new amenities at Laguna Gloria for many generations to come, and we’re proud to be a champion for the transformation of the site."
Phase I of the Master Plan also includes a significant invasive species removal project in partnership with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, as well as a partnership with the City of Austin Neighborhood Partnering Program to create sidewalks and improve parking along West 35th Street.
"Phase I of the Laguna Gloria Master Plan will have an enormous impact on what a visit to Laguna Gloria will feel like," said Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director and CEO of The Contemporary Austin. "We’re literally opening up walls along the new entryway, so there will be no mistake that all of Austin is welcome to enjoy the unique encounters with art and nature that can only be found at Laguna Gloria."
In addition to the grant from The Moody Foundation, the museum has completed fundraising for the project through more than $3 million in total grants from the Still Water Foundation, Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Austin Community Foundation, and The O’Shaughnessy-Rivers Family Fund, along with gifts from board Trustees Jeanne and Mickey Klein, Kathleen Irvin Loughlin and Chris Loughlin, and Jannette and Pat Keating.
Groundbreaking on Phase I will take place on March 21, with construction expected to be complete in approximately one year. The Groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 10 am, is open to the public, and will include remarks by museum leadership and City of Austin officials.
LAGUNA GLORIA MASTER PLAN – PHASE 1
Since fall 2013, The Contemporary Austin’s leadership has collaborated with recognized landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand to design a Master Plan for Laguna Gloria. Awarded the 2017 Excellence Award in Analysis and Planning from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, the Master Plan will revitalize the native landscape at Laguna Gloria and improve visitor accessibility, inviting the serendipitous discovery of art and nature.
Designed by Trahan Architects, the new structures planned for Phase I will occupy a compact footprint at the entrance to Laguna Gloria. Incorporating steel and concrete into a minimalist design, the texture, materials, and shapes of the structures will complement the existing architecture at the site.
In addition to the Boston landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand and New Orleans-based Trahan Architects, the museum is engaging Beck Group of Austin as general contractor, with project management by Austin’s Benz Resource Group and in consultation with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Nelsen Partners of Austin.
CITY OF AUSTIN NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERING PROGRAM
In tandem with the launch of Phase I of the Master Plan for Laguna Gloria, The Contemporary Austin also announces its acceptance into the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Partnering Program, which offers opportunities for community and neighborhood organizations to initiate public improvements through cost-sharing arrangements with the City of Austin.
At Laguna Gloria, the Neighborhood Partnering Program will address safety concerns along the West 35th Street corridor, which also includes Mayfield Park and Preserve and Westwood Country Club. The project will install new landscaping, pedestrian paths, and formalized parking spaces, increasing safety for thousands of visitors to all three destinations.
"While the primary goal of our project with the Neighborhood Partnering Program is the safety of our visitors, the addition of pathways, trees, and parking will immediately enhance quality of life in the neighborhood, improving the experiences of our neighbors, as well as visitors from across the city," Grachos added.
Once the project is complete, The Contemporary Austin will maintain the pedestrian path and landscaping with guidance from the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Mayfield Council, and the Austin Transportation and Public Works Department, along with landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand and engineering consultants Urban Design Group of Austin.
THE MOODY FOUNDATION
The Moody Foundation is a charitable organization that makes grants primarily in Austin, Galveston, and Dallas, with an emphasis on education, social services, children’s needs, and community development. The Moody Foundation was established in 1942 by Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Moody, Jr., to benefit in perpetuity present and future generations of Texans. In addition to the $3 million grant for Phase I for Laguna Gloria, The Moody Foundation awarded The Contemporary Austin a $1.3 million grant in 2015 to support the construction of The Moody Rooftop at the museum’s Jones Center on Congress Avenue.
THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
As Austin’s only museum solely focused on contemporary artists and their work, The Contemporary Austin offers exhibitions, educational opportunities, and events that start conversations and fuel the city’s creative spirit. Known for artist-centric projects and collaborations, The Contemporary invites exploration in both its urban and natural settings-downtown at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue, lakeside at the Laguna Gloria Campus (including the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, the Art School, and the historic Driscoll Villa), and around Austin through the Museum Without Walls program.
Artists represented at the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria include Ai Weiwei, Terry Allen, Carol Bove, Tom Friedman, Anya Gallaccio, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Nancy Holt, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, Lionel Maunz, Paul McCarthy, Wangechi Mutu, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Tom Sachs, and Monika Sosnowska. The sculpture park welcomes projects by Huma Bhabha, Elmgreen & Dragset, Nic Nicosia, and Jessica Stockholder coming later in 2018.
High-resolution images available upon request.
Nicole Chism Griffin
The Contemporary Austin
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