REI Round Rock – Urban Survival Talk
REI Round Rock was hosting a survival seminar called, Prepare for the Unexpected: Urban Emergency Preparedness, which I was really excited to attend. So I made the drive from Bastrop, TX, to Round Rock for the presentation that evening. When I arrived, I was really impressed to see the design of the REI Round Rock building on the outside, and was in for a big surprise with what I was going to see on the inside!
Sunshine Community Garden Tour
After Zilker Botanical Garden and Pease Park, my grandma and I drove over to the Sunshine Community Garden (SCG), which is located next to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). Some of the front-desk workers at ZBG recommended we stop here if we wanted to see one of Austin’s local community gardens, where residents can rent out plots for gardening!
Willow Structures at Pease Park
After Zilker Botanical Garden, my grandma wanted to take me over to Pease Park to check out the willow structures called Yippee Ki Yay, stickwork by Patrick Dougherty, an artistic weaver and sculpture using woody materials like willow and tree limbs.
“Patrick Dougherty, a North Carolina-based artist, is known for creating whirling architectural sculptures from locally-harvested saplings. Dougherty and a team of over 200 Pease Park Conservancy volunteers constructed this site-specific installation using Baccharis neglecta (Roosevelt Weed) and Ligustrum, an invasive species, gathered in and around Austin. Yippee Ki Yay was privately funded by donations made to Pease Park Conservancy and was formally approved through the City of Austin’s Art In Public Places program.
Dougherty says of his inspiration for the sculpture, “We didn’t build a cathedral, instead we borrowed its corners,” referring to the Spanish-Colonial style architecture he encountered during his time in Austin. The sculpture consists of five repeated corner shapes that can be explored through the maze-like passageways they create and the multiple viewpoints from their many entrances and windows. With the title, he also gives a nod to Texas cowboy culture that is much beloved across our state. The installation will remain on view for several years before being dismantled to be used as mulch in the park.” — Pease Park Webpage
Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden Tour
The second week while I was in Austin, my grandparents returned home, so I went on excursions with my grandma. Our first planned stop was Zilker Botanical Garden (ZBG)in Austin’s Zilker Park!
My grandma took my adopted cousin there a few weeks beforehand to see the Woodland Faerie Trail, a seasonal feature built by residents and children along some of the garden paths, so grandma didn’t get to see the entire garden grounds and was excited to go with another one of her grandkids!
Below is a picture of the main offices, event space and visitor’s center for the garden grounds.
Austin Central Library – Library Design Talk and Full Tour
I returned to the Austin Central Library for another “Talk Green to Me” seminar about the sustainable design and features of the library, only this time I brought my grandma who wanted to see the new library and and city hall.
The seminar we attended was called, “A Deep Green Building Within a Green Neighborhood: presented by Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Austin; Jonathan Smith, Associate Partner at Lake|Flato Architects; and Kathy Zarsky, the LEED Consultant for the new Austin Central Library.” — Austin Public Library Webpage
Sustainable Stops: (1) Agave Community, (2) Chestnut Plaza, and (3) Chestnut Commons Community
After my scheduled stops, I drove around east Austin and came across a couple of other note-worthy sites. The first was a modern housing community development called, Agave, which consisted of eclectic, pastel colored houses of various shapes and sizes in this planned community!
Below is the Agave housing development sign at the bottom of the hill as you drive up into the community!