h+uo architects Proposes a New Bridge to Transform Austin’s I-35 ‘Rift’ into a Unifying Park
Imagine tree-lined open space, a small performance pavilion, a splash pad water fountain, colorful flower beds, and a small food trailer eatery — all hovering over a stretch of Austin’s Interstate 35. h+uo partner Tom Hatch and associate Kristina Olivent are working in partnership with local landscape architects Jennifer Orr and Ilse Frank of Studio Balcones to make the I-35 Green Bridge Park a reality.
The current deteriorated state of the I-35 area surrounding the existing 11th and 12th street bridges inspired the idea that a new “living” bridge could connect the two existing bridges with an activity-filled park, stitching together our city, long divided by the interstate.
The new bridge-park will be situated directly between the Texas Capitol building to the west and residential neighborhoods to the east. This position allows the park offer a safe respite along what will be a new pedestrian corridor between the east and west sides of the highway. Additionally, the park’s amphitheater will create a new venue for small concerts and other events, turning a blighted area of town into an asset for the City of Austin.
While the project is an innovative solution to a long-standing Austin problem, creating a bridge that doubles as a park is not a new idea. Other cities have successfully and beautifully integrated parks into their highway systems. Two notable examples are the Jardin Serge Gainsbourg in Paris and the Clyde Warren Park in Dallas.
Jardin Serge Gainsbourg
Klyde Warren Park
While this project will be brought to Austin’s city council for support, the team proposes that the project also receive potential funding from the current TXDOT Interstate 35 revitalization project. With support from both the city and the state, Austin has the opportunity to create a new city-unifying park right in the heart of downtown.