The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has recognized Confluence Park with a “2019 Institute Honor Award for Architecture”! The award is one of the highest honors in the architecture profession, celebrating the best contemporary architecture which highlights the many ways building and spaces can improve lives. AIA’s nine-member jury selected submissions that demonstrated design achievement, including a sense of place and purpose, ecology, environmental sustainability and history. Confluence Park was among nine projects honored ranging from an elementary school in Tacoma, Washington to the latest branch of the Smithsonian Institution.

Along the bank of the San Antonio River, Confluence Park is a living laboratory designed to broaden its visitors’ understanding of south Texas ecotypes and the impact of urban development on local watersheds. A destination for learning and recreation, the park is a piece of the country’s largest environmental restoration project and an accessible gateway to outdoor activity.

To better serve San Antonio’s most economically challenged communities, the San Antonio River Foundation tasked the design team with transforming a former construction storage yard into a unique outdoor education center The design reflects the idea of confluence—the park is situated at the junction of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek—throughout. Grand gestures such as the park’s shaped lands represent the convergence of ecotypes, while the central pavilion’s concrete petal structures draw inspiration from plants that funnel rainwater to their roots. The petals, of which the pavilion boasts 22, stand 26 feet high and form a network of vaults that provide shade from the Texas sun and flow rainwater directly to an underground cistern.

Read more from the American Institute of Architecture here.

Image: Casey Dunn / AIA

Architect: Lake | Flato Architects + Matsys    Owner: San Antonio River Foundation    Location: San Antonio, Texas