The official name for the vacant parking lot across the street from the Bob Bullock State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art, is known as "State Parking Lot 7". Currently the site holds 266 parking spaces, but not any structures. With this in mind, the site is the ideal location for a cultural improvement to the State of Texas and the City of Austin.
The Austin Planetarium project is a master-planned mixed-use development, consisting out of four major components: a residential tower, retail and restaurant facilities, more than 1000 under ground parking spaces, and of course the Science & Technology museum which includes the largest planetarium of Texas.
KUD is a large development firm that specializes in public-private mixed-use development. They are responsible for carrying out the development objectives for the Austin Planetarium and the surrounding development projects. As Master Developer, their scope includes delivery of the Austin Planetarium, Science Museum and Technology Center project and master development of the Residential Tower, supporting retail and restaurants and parking facilities. KUD International was established in 1994 to provide private sector development expertise to public projects with a focus on educational and cultural facilities. As a subsidiary of Kajima Corporation (one of the world’s largest construction related services companies with offices in 40 countries), KUD is able to utilize its financial strength to provide cultural instructional clients with innovative financial solutions to fund their new facilities. If you would like more information about KUD International, please visit www.kudllc.com.
HOK is a global architectural firm that provides planning and design solutions for high performance, sustainable buildings and communities. Through its collaborative network of 25 offices worldwide, the firm delivers design excellence and innovation to clients globally. Founded in 1955, HOK's expertise includes architecture, engineering, interiors, planning and urban design, sustainable consulting, lighting, graphics, facilities planning and assessment, and construction services. DesignIntelligence magazine ranked HOK as the #1 role model for sustainable and high-performance design in 2011. If you would like more information about HOK, please visit www.hok.com
HOK Architects is responsible as the planner, Programmer and Designer of the Austin Planetarium project.
Iconic, Sustainable, and Austin
As a landmark building in the City of Austin, the Austin Planetarium will be readily recognizable and have a strong visual presence. We are committed to creating a truly iconic, sustainable structure with an undeniably Austin character. Within its walls, children of all ages can expand their horizons in one of the three main areas of the science complex. Its design will entice and invite the public to enter, and will express the facility’s threefold focus on astronomy, science, and technology.|
The eastern half of the block will contain the residential tower development, and the related parking and common areas. Needless to say, tower residents will have unsurpassed views over the city, specifically the UT campus, the State Capitol building and downtown Austin.
With a development which will attract at least 600,000 visitors annually, plus residents and campus traffic, the site is ideally suited for food and beverage services as well as other retail opportunities in the form of a collection of small stores and cafes. We incorporated a ground-floor cafeteria accessible from the central Plaza, which is a freely accessible public Space.
Additionally, as can be seen in the image on the left, we are planning the outer surface of the planetarium dome to be a projection area. Either with conventional projection techniques, or with some LED solution (like flexible LED screens), we will be able to have an incredible projection area available. This can be the rotating Earth with the current & moving weather patterns, instantly change to Mars, or hold a scrolling message.
We have always said: the largest exhibit we will have is the building itself. We believe that this design indeed incorporates those dreams!
|Austin City Hall's Green Roof|
The Austin Planetarium will be designed according to the most current principles of sustainability. The proposed downtown site is ideal from the point of view of sustainability. Development on a previously developed urban site preserves existing undeveloped land, provides opportunities for pedestrian access and the use of public transportation, encourages community connectivity, and is an opportunity both to create meaningful urban space and improve the neighborhood microclimate.
Planned sustainable strategies include access to views, ample provision for shaded and covered outdoor spaces, rainwater collection, solar shading devices, landscaping with native and adapted plants, and the use of daylighting as appropriate. The provision of underground parking and the use of white reflective and vegetated roofing will reduce heat island effects thereby improving the neighborhood microclimate. The design team will also investigate use of onsite renewable energy technologies such as solar cells and wind turbines.
The Austin Planetarium will be an international example of the future in responsible development.
As a defining element of an Austin Museum District, the Planetarium will relate spatially to its neighbors. The surrounding buildings will work together to frame and define an open museum courtyard that will be a welcoming public space for visitors to circulate.
The open space will include covered seating and walking areas, landscaping, and refreshments.
The open courtyard will also serve as a collection point for visitors entering or leaving the area. In order to encourage visitors, fit into the urban fabric and the walkable University and Museum area, and encourage pedestrian traffic in order to support sustainability, the Planetarium, like, for example the Blanton Museum of Art and the Bob Bullock State History Bullock Museum, will relate to the street, and through articulation, to pedestrian scale. While the building will be dramatic and readily recognizable, the street level facades will be articulated, welcoming, and inviting.
Artist Rendering of Street Level View of the Science & Technology Museum.