Recent Experiences with Public-Private Partnerships

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

Boardwalk at TxA 2017 Conference

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.

New York Times

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.


Historic Austin Federal Courthouse

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.

Seaholm Waterfront Project

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.


South Central Waterfront District Plan

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.

Barton Springs Pool Bathhouse Restoration and Rehabilitation

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 speaks in Mexico City

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.


Texas Architect Magazine features the Boardwalk

The September/October Texas Architect design awards issue features a four-page article on the Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake. Notable among the many observations:

“Everything about it is a success as a piece of public architecture. It kind of reinvents the very public idea of a promenade. I think it’s a fabulous example to be followed with urban design going forward.”

Clive Wilkinson, FAIA
TxA design award juror

Texas Architect is, “The Voice for Texas Architecture.” Jack Murphy, Associate AIA, wrote the article.

Architecture in the Public Realm

Alfred Godfrey offered a course for the 2016 AIA Austin Summer Conference, titled: ARCHITECTURE IN THE PUBLIC REALM; The Influence of Public/Private Partnerships. The session discussed the emerging role of PPPs in shaping our parks and outdoor spaces, and how that can impact professional project delivery.  It offered an introduction to the Public/Private Partnership model and how it works.  A brief history pays special attention to PPPs in Central Texas.

Laurie Limbacher; Invited Design Awards Juror

Laurie Limbacher has joined an invited selection of architects from across the nation to juror for AIA Colorado’s 2016 Design Awards program. The winning projects will be recognized for their use of materials, aesthetics, use of space and design. Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala in Glenwood Springs, Colorado on August 26th.


Eliza Spring Daylighting

Based on recommendations from Limbacher & Godfrey’s 2009 Barton Springs Master Plan, the City is planning for construction of a “ daylighting” project for Eliza Spring. Eliza Spring holds a unique position in both the cultural and the ecological history of the park. It is the home of the most robust population of the Barton Springs Salamander, and its concrete amphitheater construction is credited to Andrew Zilker himself. In building this open-to-the-sky spring run, the City will enhance salamander habitat to improve the long term recovery of the species.

More information on the “daylighting” project can be found here: