Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas Landscape Architecture, USA Pavilion Building Photos

Confluence Park, San Antonio, Texas

Nov 7, 2020

Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas Building

Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States of America

Design: Lake|Flato Architects + Matsys

Confluence Park wins at American Architecture Awards 2020

Confluence Park is a living-learning laboratory designed to inspire people to gain a greater understanding of Texas ecotypes and the impact of urban development on our watershed. Located along the edge of the San Antonio River, Confluence Park is part of the country’s largest urban environmental restoration project and serves as an inviting gateway to running, biking, and paddling trails.

Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas

Photos by Casey Dunn

The client, the San Antonio River Foundation, is dedicated to enhancing the San Antonio River Basin as a vibrant cultural, educational, ecological, and recreational experience. The foundation tasked the design team with transforming a former industrial laydown yard into a one-of-a-kind outdoor educational center to serve one of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of San Antonio and the community.

Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas

The design solution was inspired by the client’s stated project directive – to create a park that will engage and educate the community on native Texan ecological systems, river dynamics, watershed protection, and the importance of conserving natural resources. The park is located at the confluence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek; this idea of confluence—the confluence of water, ecology, and culture—is ingrained in every aspect of the design.

Big gestures like the shaped land of the park represent the convergence of ecotypes in the South Texas region, while the pavilion “petals” are inspired by the structure of plants that funnel dew and rainwater to feed their roots. Even the scale of the paver patterns is reminiscent of the flow and confluence of waterways.

Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas

The park’s elements seek to highlight urban ecology and development, including 3.5 acres of native planting, a 2,000 sqft multi-purpose building, a 6,000 sqft central pavilion, and 3 smaller “satellite” pavilions dispersed throughout the park; 22 concrete “petals,” form a network of vaults to provide shade and direct the flow of rainwater into an underground cistern used for the park’s sewage conveyance and irrigation needs. Each petal was cast on-site using a modified tilt-up construction technique and digitally fabricated fiberglass composite molds and then lifted into place in pairs to form structural arches.

The multi-purpose building houses park amenities and a classroom/event space that opens to the pavilion, blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. A green roof provides thermal mass for passive heating and cooling, a habitat for native grasses that will, one day, drape over the edges of the concrete walls, and a solar photovoltaic array that provides 100% of the park’s energy needs on a yearly basis.

This low-lying building was designed as a dynamic juxtaposition to the pavilion—the board-formed concrete walls are highly textured compared to the smooth, fiberglass formed petals, and the more geometric forms contrast with the curves of the pavilion.

Confluence Park San Antonio, Texas

Architects: Lake|Flato Architects + Matsys
Client: San Antonio River Foundation
Date built: 2018
Photographers: Casey Dunn

Design Team: Tenna Florian, Sunnie Diaz, Bob Harris, Andrew Kudless, and Jordan Tsai
General Contractor: SpawGlass Construction

Confluence Park San Antonio Building images / information received from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, 071120

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