Texas Governor Greg Abbot has appointed Laurie Limbacher to the Texas Historical Commission, a 9-member statewide body whose mission is to protect and preserve the state’s historic and prehistoric resources for the use, education, enjoyment, and economic benefit of present and future generations. Commission programs include historic cemetery preservation, marine archeology, military history, historic county courthouse stewardship, state antiquities landmarks and the operation of 22 state historic sites.Limbacher’s appointment extends her record of public service for historic preservation issues. She previously served on the City of Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission for 18 years, with 12 years as chair.
On May 3rd, Alfred Godfrey is giving a seminar for the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference, that will visit several recent trail projects on or near Lady Bird Lake, Austin’s premier downtown trail system. Among the stops will be the boardwalk (1.3-miles long), an award-winning park restroom, an abandoned right-on-the-water industrial building (new use in progress) and a soon-to-be re-purposed 19th century railroad trestle. Attention will be paid to describing the park context and the urban context and how the two interact.
In southern New Mexico, surrounding the city of Las Cruces, five iconic mountain ranges rise above Chihuahuan Desert grasslands: the Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, Doña Ana, Organ and Potrillo Mountains. In 2014, these mountains were established by presidential proclamation as the The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Dripping Springs Natural Area is a component of that monument.
Since its establishment, public interest and monument visitor numbers have spiked. Perhaps due to its convenient proximity to downtown Las Cruces, Dripping Springs has seen especially large increases. Concerned that growing visitor pressure could degrade both the natural resources and the user experience, the Bureau of Land Management commissioned The Dripping Springs Natural Area—2018 Overview Plan. Limbacher & Godfrey is playing a leadership role on the consultant team in both the planning and the public engagement process. The plan’s goal is to:
Preserve and protect the irreplaceable wilderness quality of the Dripping Springs Natural Area. Propose appropriate additions and renovations to the buildings and grounds that respect the fragility of this unique natural and historical setting, while also accommodating the growth in user demands.
This project is a collaboration with ASA Architects of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
At the invitation of the Austin Energy Green Building professional seminar series, Alfred Godfrey served as moderator for a panel discussion on the topic of Dynamic Design—using adaptability to drive the design of buildings to accommodate changes in budgets, use, operations, technology and ownership. The Seaholm Waterfront project was the topic, and the discussion focused on opportunities created by the Public/Private Partnership structure of the project team.
Alfred Godfrey served as moderator for the TxA 2017 Conference session, Recent Experiences with Public-Private Partnerships in Central Texas.
The session provided an overview of the PPP movement and how it is influencing architecture in the public realm. Recent projects of the Trail Foundation and Austin Parks Foundation were discussed, specifically, the award winning Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake, the recently-completed Republic Square project and the in-progress conceptual design work of Studio Gang on the currently-abandoned Seaholm Intake building on the shore of Lady Bird Lake.
Gia Biagi, Director of Urbanism + Civic Impact, Studio Gang
Brian Ott, Landscape Architect and former Executive Director of the Trail Foundation
Colin Wallis, CEO of the Austin Parks Foundation
Kim McKnight, Environmental Conservation Program Manager and Historic Preservation Planner, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department
Alfred Godfrey, Architect and Board Member of the Trail Foundation
Alfred Godfrey presented Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake at the TxA 2017 Conference, a session that toured the project from the designer’s perspective. It reviewed the boardwalk’s history and how it was brought into service through public advocacy. It discussed the technical challenges of designing and building over water, and the urban design/park planning opportunities that shaped the project solution.
Special attention was given to the project as a new civic icon and its impact on Central Austin and downtown life.
Loudon Wainright III travels a lot, and when he travels, he looks for cool swimming spots. In his recent New York Times piece, The 10 Best Places to Swim in the World, According to Me, he names two Austin swimming spots with Limbacher & Godfrey connections—Deep Eddy Pool and Barton Springs Pool.
The article can be found here: Opinion | The 10 Best Places to Swim in the World, According to Me
Deep Eddy and Barton Springs are both spring-fed, and are the two most-visited pools in Austin. Limbacher & Godfrey has done substantial architecture and planning work at both historically-significant sites. The firm is currently engaged in the rehabilitation of the Barton Springs Pool Bathhouse.
This depression-era Moderne architecture courthouse building has served as both a practical and visual Federal presence among nearby municipal and private historic buildings in downtown Austin since it was completed in 1936.
It remains a handsome 4-story limestone-clad presence with an exterior defined by fluted, reed-like pilasters, decorative metal grilles and a carved stone parapet. Its interior has both Art Deco and Art Moderne finishes including marble-clad lobbies and corridors.
On December 29, 2016, Travis County received deed to the building from the U.S. Government with a covenant that stipulates that the building’s historic integrity be preserved. The County intends to use it for its Probate Court, and is committed to the preservation of the building. To that end, it awarded the restoration assignment to a multi-disciplinary team that includes Limbacher & Godfrey in a leadership role. Limbacher & Godfrey will lead during the programming and the schematic design phases, and will continue in a senior advisory capacity through to project completion. The project will require coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service. The Historic Austin Federal Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Alfred Godfrey was moderator for a panel discussion, “SEAHOLM WATERFRONT PROJECT: Planning in Progress with Studio Gang”. The Seaholm Intake facility is an iconic Art Deco design that was once the pump house for the now-decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant.
In the Spring of 2017, the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Parks Foundation and The Trail Foundation undertook a collaborative planning study, fully funded by APF and TTF and led by internationally recognized architecture and urbanism firm Studio Gang.
When completed in the Fall, the study will provide the City of Austin with the programming, phasing, operational and financial model to develop a world class public facility that will respect the historic significance of the Seaholm Intake structure.
The session was a component of the AIA Summer Conference 2017. Mr. Godfrey is a Trail Foundation board member.
Alfred Godfrey has accepted an invitation to join the South Central Waterfront Advisory Board. This newly-created board is charged with guiding implementation of the South Central Waterfront District Plan, which strives to be a model for how a district-wide green infrastructure system paired with quality urban design and an interconnected network of public spaces, streets, lakeside trails and parks can provide an inspired framework for redevelopment. Mr. Godfrey believes that a transformed South Central Waterfront District can not only become a great new neighborhood in the central city and a destination in itself, but can also serve as an iconic gateway from South Austin into Downtown and the Texas Capitol.
Limbacher & Godfrey has been commissioned to restore and rehabilitate the historic Bathhouse at Barton Springs Pool. This project will extend their work at the Pool that began with their Barton Springs Pool Master Plan in 2008. It will also add to their collection of projects that includes some of Austin’s most historic and iconic natural outdoor spaces, such as the Historic Deep Eddy Pool Bathhouse Rehabilitation and the Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake.
Barton Springs Pool is a two-acre, spring-fed pool in the heart of the city, and it is frequently listed as one of the top swimming holes in Texas. The Bathhouse was built in 1947, and was designated a City of Austin Landmark in 1990. It is a State Antiquities Landmark, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Alfred Godfrey has been invited to speak at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City at their “Future Perspectives for Design Education” forum, hosted by the Division of Arts and Sciences (CYAD). Mr. Godfrey will present recent work of the firm, and place it in the larger context of public/private partnerships and how they have influenced design in the public realm in the United States. His talk is scheduled for February 28th.