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Lady Bird Lake Event Center | Austin, TX | Spring 2016

In this final studio of undergraduate education, the entire semester was devoted to using all methods and means learned in previous studios to culminate into a design. Part of the “Sound Building” series, all the courses in this semester used the main design project as a study to explore design, structure, and systems, combining all three into a final cohesive project.

Lady Bird Lake Event Center: Text
Lady Bird Lake Event Center: Work



To start this intensive project, the overall site was observed and manipulated into a revised landscape according to specific guidelines. The goal was to provide “an escape from the city” by providing a connection from the city to the site but a disconnect of the site to the city. Most of the existing trees were kept on the site and more were placed along the street front in order to provide a  natural barrier. On the site, water was highlighted by manipulating the existing hike-and-bike path and how it interacts with the lake and the tree line. After deciding on this layout, an explicit component was inserted to contrast with the more implicit meandering of the path. This is represented by a pier that extends the width of the site, out over the water with the angle informed by the path on the opposite side of the lake.


An intersection of the highlighted qualities on the site such as the trees, creek, and the lake was selected to place the event center project. This intersection happened to be along the pier, which extends over the creek and the lake, mostly masked from the city by the density of trees next to it.


These models represent the designed interactions between the path, trees, and water along the site. They show the basic principles set up in the initial scheme that governed how the landscape was manipulated.


When looking at initial building form, a series of models that interact with the pier along the street front were created. The original idea was that the building would serve as a wall that is solid along the street and opens up to the natural setting in the rear.


It was decided that the previous layout did not have enough interaction with the other aspects of the site that was originally intended. Because of this, the project was slid down the pier and broken down into separate buildings beneath the pier. These became a modular structural element similar to an oversized bridge footing that could hold program. Because of their structural, utilitarian use, it was decided that these elements would hold the more utilitarian program such as offices, classrooms, and service spaces. The more dynamic and activated programs were then held in lighter volumes that span between the footings under the pier to provide a certain level of separation between two program types.


The circulation of the project is a system of stair cores and catwalks that draw from the thesis of separation. At every threshold, there is a porous catwalk that either brings light into the building below or links two separate spaces together. These plans show the various spaces throughout the complex as well as demonstrate the overall layout of the buildings and the interactions between them.


The section and elevations show the basic structure of the project as well as the vertical layout of the different types of spaces in the event center.


The primary structural system of the project is large concrete “footings” that support secondary spaces between them, serving as the lateral force resistance for the building. These footings are constructed with an insulated cast-in-place concrete wall system. Spanning between these are large steel girders that support the pier, café, and large event space between the concrete footings. The secondary spaces are constructed with light steel members, small columns and open web steel joists, and glass. The detailed wall section shows the various layers of the facade as well as demonstrates the connections between the two types of spaces. 


To further understand the construction of this project, a physical representation of the structural system illustrated in the wall section was constructed. This model focused on showing the structural members and connection details for a main joint in the project. Structural calculations were completed to correctly size and place the members for this model.


The 1/8" scale model was constructed to visualize the layout of the project. It deomonstrates the locations of important elements, major fenestration, circulation, and experiential qualities. 


A major component of the course was to design the HVAC system for the project as well. A series of calculations were carried out to correctly size and place the HVAC components throughout the project as shown.

Lady Bird Lake Event Center: Text
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