Using Design As An Educational Tool: Waller Creek

Lights, action, cameras! If you experience those three elements in that order, you must be at the annual Waller Creek Conservancy “Creek Show”. The wildly popular annual public outreach event in downtown Austin attracted 20,000 visitors last year and expects more this November 9-17, 2018. Competition to design lighting-based, site-specific art installations is intense and Page Designer Brianna Graves is on one of six teams that was selected.

Brianna joined Daniel Goodwin, Olivia Nguyen, and Bruce Wilcoxon, creating the Polis Team. They conceived Ambedo ßeta, an interactive, immersive art installation inspired by the myth of the Waller Creek Monster. Two other-worldly phone booths stand at either end of the tunnels, encouraging visitors to dial in and talk to the Creatures of the Creek who have created the bridge between their language and ours. The participants voice illuminates the lighting frames throughout the three tunnels in various patterns. The portals remind Austin that although they may not always be apparent, the Creatures are always here.

The “Creek Show” supports and educates the community on the importance and impact transforming Waller Creek will have on Austin's social, cultural, and ecological future. For example, The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin recently completed by Page, with landscape architecture by Sasaki, is sited along the banks of Waller Creek.  The University of Texas saw an opportunity to restore native habitat that was once overgrown with invasive species and establish a creek bed with stabilization to reclaim buildable area.  It also plays a prominent role in the University’s 2013 Campus Master Plan.