The neighborhoods of East Austin have historically been minority enclaves, they experience the freeway as a barrier and the opening under it as a control point. Our challenge was to help change that.
In 2006, a coalition of neighborhood associations surrounding the site gained control of the parking revenue and hired COTERA+REED ARCHITECTS to help develop an intervention which would both acknowledge the politically charged nature of the site and change the character from a desolate and unclaimed area to an attraction.
The primary elements of the proposal are a group of arcing steel beams placed under the elevated deck, with general lighting attached to the underside. These counter the strong north-west axis of the freeway with an invitation to move east-west. At night they form a wave of light which passes under the freeway and out the other side. The renovation of this site is also intended to emphasize its significance as a gateway and mark a primary entrance into downtown.