Master Plan Completed for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

June 14, 2018   /   Project News

Over the last 12 months, Asakura Robinson worked alongside a consultant team led by CasaBella Architects to develop a landscape master plan that addresses issues from accessibility to parking, while also creating a strong visual identity for the campus.

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The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican American cultural arts and heritage.  It was first envisioned in the 1970s after several Hispanic visionaries and artists mobilized community support to request the development of a Hispanic-focused cultural arts facility. In 1986, the City led a formal and comprehensive location, market, financial feasibility and operations study, which resulted in the recommendation to support the establishment of a center. Following approval in a 1999 bond package, a master plan was underway by January of 2000 and the first phase of construction was completed in September of 2007.

On the ten-year anniversary of the MACC, the City of Austin launched a 12-month master planning process for the future build-out of the center and surrounding parkland.  The key goals of the master plan were to:

  1. Understand the current and future needs of local artists and cultural groups
  2. Meet present and future facility needs
  3. Improve existing spaces and change uses where necessary
  4. Create a phasing plan to meet funding options
  5. Draw more of the community-at-large into the process.

The team sought public input during each phase of the project in order to guide programming efforts and inform the future expansion of existing or new buildings, new facilities, outdoor gathering areas, and parking.

As lead landscape architect, our team focused on three key landscape improvements:

  1. A highly visible “Gran Entrada” promenade to improve vehicular mobility and provide pedestrian enhancements at the entry and walkways, including an installation/sculpture garden
  2. Landscape and shading improvements within the site, including the central “Zocalo” and paseo to the center’s theater and gallery spaces.
  3. Creation of a distinct connection to the lakefront and Butler trail system with a cafe, outdoor seating area, “Ventana” views to the lake, and a dock and seating and fishing area at the lake’s edge.

The final master plan is available to view here.

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