A Space Sculpting System from Cambridge, MD-based Cambridge Architectural unifies the facade of the parking garage and the Austin Energy District Cooling Plant at the Austin Convention Center in Texas, seamlessly blending the two structures with the existing Convention Center.
Approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of metal fabric in Cambridge’s Plait pattern, supported by the manufacturer’s Frame attachment hardware, wraps a corner and adorns expansive brick walls to create movement and to humanize the scale of the integrated structure, which occupies an entire city block. The Cambridge Architectural metal fabric panels were curved and installed on structural steel tube support framing to create sweeping vertical waves that sculpt the otherwise unadorned façade. At night, the structure glows a transparent blue-green. During the day, the metal fabric allows sunlight to pass into the parking garage, and softly shades the sidewalks below.
In May 2002, a major expansion of the Austin Convention Center nearly doubled its exhibit and meeting space, but created a major inconvenience for drivers looking to park in busy downtown Austin. The solution, proposed by Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects, was to build a five-story, 685-space city parking garage in conjunction with a a cooling plant being constructed by the city to provide chilled water to downtown buildings.
The new garage has not only helped to solve the parking problem in downtown Austin, but has also created a pedestrian-friendly area that includes 17,000 sq. ft. of retail space at street level.
Construction of the two buildings began in December 2003. The $10.5 million, 250,000-square-foot parking garage opened in February 2005. The project won a Merit Award at the 2006 AIA Austin Design Awards Competition.