The Texas Mall: A Grand Civic Gesture at the Texas Capitol Complex

Characterized by grand civic spaces, shaded pedestrian friendly streets and connections to the surrounding community, work is underway to establish the Texas Capitol Complex as a destination that celebrates the Capitol and centralizes the location of all state agencies. At the heart of the transformation of the complex will be a new six-acre urban park.

The Texas Mall, which will occupy Congress Avenue, between 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will be a native plant-filled green space that serves as a gathering area for state employees and the larger community of Austin. The mall will be anchored by a 50-foot-wide lawn flanked by double allées of live and red oak trees, which will encourage biological diversity and continuity of species within the Capitol grounds.

The urban space will be activated through pedestrian-oriented activities, including a cultural venue, cafes, food truck area, playground, interactive children’s play sculptures, amphitheater and a plaza designed to support an outdoor stage for events. These activity spaces will foster community and help connect the Capitol Complex to its neighbors: The University of Texas campus, the Dell Medical School Health District, the planned Waller Creek Park and downtown Austin.

Gardens will be characterized by shade-loving, drought-resistant plants and will grow beneath the trees and frame informal shaded walking paths. A diverse, native plant oasis, the mall, numerous gardens, and various green roofs on the new office buildings at 1601 and 1801 Congress will enhance the experience of the Capitol Complex while also helping to cool it off.

The entire project is supported by sustainability and resiliency strategies that will reduce the demand on natural resources and sustain healthy ecological systems, while promoting occupant health and community. Page Senior Principal Larry Speck notes: “The state’s primary goal here is to provide a beautiful community gathering space and significant amenity for the entire State of Texas, while also building the most healthy and productive workplace possible for its employees.”