San Antonio River Foundation
Lake|Flato Architects, Matsys Design
San Antonio, TX
2018 AIA National Honor Award
2018 Architizer A+ Jury Award – Cultural Pavilions
2018 Tilt-Up Achievement Award
2018 Architects Newspaper (AN) Best of Design Award
2016 Texas Architects Studio Award
Brennan Schumacher, LEED AP
Associate Principal, Lighting Design Studio Leader
The San Antonio River Foundation’s mission is to enhance the San Antonio River Basin, creating “vibrant, cultural, educational, ecological, and recreational experiences for all”. Located in an area once considered a “forgotten neighborhood,” and at the confluence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, Confluence Park transforms a former industrial yard into an interactive learning and recreational space.
The Foundation wanted a living laboratory – a place where people can come to learn and recreate, inspiring visitors and teaching about sustainability and environmental science.
Confluence Park’s design focuses on understanding, aiming to educate visitors about ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed. The Park includes an education center, helping teach and inspire visitors toward environmental science and sustainability. The site serves as a visual representation of where art and science come together through design and engineering. Serving as the main focal point of the Park, large concrete “petals” (formed and poured on-site) mimic plant-like structures, including the ability to funnel dew and rainwater to roots. The illumination of the petals highlights the dramatic and impressive impact that careful thought, design integration, and lighting mockups can bring to a project. The warm temperature of the light on the petals provides a uniform glow, facilitating evening activities within the pavilion. Occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and an astronomical time-clock help achieve the goal of daylight autonomy, ensuring no electric light during the day. A photovoltaic array provides 100% of the energy use for the project on a yearly basis. A site-wide water catchment system, formed through the petal’s sloping design, collects rainwater and feeds it into an underground water storage tank.
This world-class innovative outdoor classroom allows visitors the opportunity to learn through interactive teaching tools, inspiring greater knowledge of the water cycle at Confluence Park, and how it relates to Texas watershed dynamics and ecotypes — educational and inspirational design at its best!