UPDATE: 1-29-2016, 12:50 p.m. – Construction on Confluence Park is expected to begin the first week of February and be completed by March 1, 2107, according to a recent filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The estimated cost was entered as $8.2 million in new construction. The scope of work includes a primary pavilion, three satellite pavilions, a multi-purpose building with program (including boardroom/classroom, storage, electrical and restrooms), a parking lot, pedestrian paths and hardscaping.
Confluence Park elevation as seen from San Antonio River.
UPDATE: Aug. 6, 2015
On Wednesday, Aug. 5, the Historic and Design Review Commission gave “conceptual approval” to construct a park dedicated to environment education, interactive learning and recreation. The proposed park’s primary elements include a concrete form gathering pavilion, satellite pavilions, play areas, restrooms, signage, five planting ecotypes, large scale water catchment system, surface parking, paved walkways and other associated elements.
This is a San Antonio River Authority (SARA) project and James Gray of Rialto Studio Inc. represented the river authority before the HDRC.
In a project summary letter submitted to the HDRC July 17, SARA said, “Confluence Park will transform a former Southside industrial laydown yard into a unique, interactive learning and recreational space.
“The entire park is envisioned as an interactive teaching tool that will inspire a greater understanding of Texas ecotypes and watershed dynamics, encouraging students and adults alike to become more involved with the preservation and stewardship of our waterways.
“The SARA educational program will be supported in part via an already secured $1 million SARF Educational Endowment. Programs will be offered to public school systems free of charge, including transportation to and from the park for schools that otherwise could not afford to participate in these classes. This convergence of resources will provide critical, hands-on environmental educational experiences to San Antonio area students.”
Confluence Park landscape site plan
Original Post: 5-18-2015
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar Co.) – The San Antonio River Foundation expects to begin construction on Confluence Park before the end of the year.
The S.A. River Foundation and its development team are now in the process of drafting the statement of qualifications for the general contractor bidding process, according to project manager Stuart Allen.
This is a $10 million to $12 million project that involves assembly of a large and unique concrete form being designed by Lake|Flato Architects, as well as construction of three smaller forms of the same design and a multi-purpose room with restrooms. The multi-purpose room will have a earth and grass roof.
Rialto Studio Inc., a San Antonio-based landscape architect has been preparing the landscape site plan for the 3.5-acre park located at West Mitchell Street and the San Antonio River. That is the north boundary of a park that is across the river from the Mission Concepcion and 100 yards north of where San Pedro Creek empties into the San Antonio River. It has a street address of 310 W. Mitchell St.
“We are hoping to break ground late this year,” Allen said. The project is privately funded, however it is only about 50 percent funded.
The foundation anticipates completion by the end of 2016.
The main pavilion design roughly approximates the shape of a cluster of open parachutes that could also be described as a variation of the Matsys hexshell. Matsys, an Oakland, Calif.-based architectural firm, is also on the design team. It is 30 feet tall and will rest on an impervious concrete floor of about 2,500 square feet, Allen said.
The pavilion structure has several peaks, with each peak being formed by the close proximity of six elements. The concrete form elements do not touch, however, rainwater would not penetrate the gaps because of the installation of glass shingles.
The designs are meant to capture any rainwater falling on the impervious structures. A new pervious parking lot will also catch rainwater and both systems will channel the water to a large underground cistern.
“They haven’t landed on a size, yet, (for the cistern), but it is in the neighborhood of of 250,000 gallons,” Allen said.
The harvested rainwater will be reused on-site.
“There will be some water element. That has yet to be designed. It’s not going to be a fountain in the traditional sense. It will be some element where water will be recirculated,” he said.
The concrete form work will be done on-site using custom forms.
“Each unit will be raised individually. They’re too large to prefabricate, that’s what the engineer thought,” Allen said.
Instead, concrete would be poured on site in a horizontal orientation, and then lifted to its final vertical orientation, he said.
The property intersects with Mission Reach, a broad pedestrian and bicycle path that follows the San Antonio River bank from downtown. An existing parking lot on the north edge will be terminated and the new pervious cover lot on the west will take its place.
The foundation bought the land six years ago and deeded it to the San Antonio River Authority with a memorandum of understanding that the foundation would develop the site as an educational facility. Area students will be able to visit the site to learn about water conservation, native plant species and sustainable building practices.
The San Antonio River Authority is working with the county and Munoz & Co., another architectural firm, to redevelop the section of San Pedro Creek that runs through downtown. That project, once completed, would end about a mile north of Confluence Park.
Educational landscape elements, as described on the foundation’s website, cover seven points:
1. Opportunities to experience and learn more about five ecotypes that occur in the region: The Grassland Ecotype is a central feature in the park around which the paths and other ecotypes are organized; the San Antonio River Improvement Project Ecotype demonstrates the species of plants used along the river as part of SARA’s ongoing restoration project; the Trans Pecos/Chihuahua Desert Ecotype demonstrates the use of west Texas plants that thrive in San Antonio (this ecotype spreads into the parking lot providing dappled shading for cars); the Texas Oak Conservatory Ecotype demonstrate the many types of oak trees that thrive in our region; the Texas Live Oak Savannah provides shade around the edges of the pavilion and will help block unwanted winter winds from the pavilion space.
2. A site-wide water catchment system which collects all the rainwater that falls on the site and feeds this water into an underground water storage tank
3. Play areas are designed for learning and exploration
4. A primary pavilion constructed of large concrete forms that together create a geometry that collects and funnels rainwater; this lofty pavilion will provide shade and shelter while at the same time allowing visitors to understand the cycle of water at Confluence Park and how this cycle relates directly to the San Antonio River watershed; the pavilion will speaks to the confluence of water systems and is oriented to point directly toward the confluence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek
5. Satellite pavilions that create distinct gathering nodes throughout the site and are derived from the same form as the primary pavilion.
6. A multi-purpose space that has a green roof providing thermal mass for passive heating and cooling; this space will be used for classroom and meeting space as well as pre-function space for the primary pavilion; a supporting actor to the pavilion structure, the building’s lowered elevation will make it appear to emerge from the ground and gradually grow out of the earth, becoming a fluid part of the landscape
7. A photovoltaic array that will provide 100% of the energy use for the project on a yearly basis
Stuart Allen can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org