Austin’s rapid growth has its upsides and downsides. New projects popping up, new places to live work and play are part of upside. Rising housing costs, snarled traffic and long lines are part of the downsides. New construction, such as large multi-family projects are changing the character of certain parts of town. These projects meet a market demand and when located along core transit corridors or in transit oriented developments they support sustainable aspects of city growth.
Beyond new construction other types of projects are contributing to the new Austin. These types of projects utilize existing facilities or spaces transforming them into new uses that are part of the new Austin. The reuse of buildings or places certainly supports sustainable ideals in creating densification or in reusing structures that take less energy than building new.
These urban-scaled reuse projects are also fascinating in that they retain aspects of their previous form within their redeveloped form, thus presenting a sort of visual layering or an archeology of the city as it transforms. The couple of images below are examples.
The aerial view from Google Maps is fascinating in how the new street grid for the Mueller plan is interjected into the neighborhood and upon the existing runways. The new upon old is evident.
The photo of the renovation Highland Mall into the Austin Community College campus is a great example of a building reuse. The existing tilt-up concrete box retail center is sliced, diced, and cleverly planned to serve an expanding, centrally-located student base.
In both cases the new upon the old leaves traces of its past and thus tells a richer story about the transformation of the city.