Mexican American Cultural Center

January 2018   Austin, TX

Client

  • Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Team

  • CasaBella Architects (prime)
  • Cultural Strategies
  • Urban Design Group

A master plan for one of Austin’s hidden cultural centers that activates surrounding open space to highlight Mexican-American identity.

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Key Points

Asakura Robinson worked alongside the Mexican American community to enhance cultural creation and preservation, access, connectivity, and visibility of the Mexican American Community Center.

Choreographing Centrality

The project centered the site as the heart of Mexican American cultural preservation and creation by creating access points and lines of sight to the MACC from nearby Rainey Street, River Street, the Hike & Bike trail, and Lady Bird Lake. The designs make the MACC a visual landmark and a multimodal node with access to a rich set of cultural resources and heritage.

Community Design

The team sought extensive input from the Mexican American community, and as a result, created more spaces for art, connections to the trail system, a community garden, and shaded areas in the zócalo (plaza).

Grand Entrada

Asakura Robinson created a highly visible "Grand Entrada" promenade to improve vehicular mobility and provide pedestrian enhancements at the entry and walkways, including a sculpture garden.


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. The key goals of the master plan were to understand the current and future needs of local artists and cultural groups; meet present and future facility needs; improve existing spaces and change uses where necessary; create a phasing plan to meet funding options; and 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. Asakura Robinson, working as the lead landscape architect, focused on three key landscape elements: A highly visible “Gran Entrada” promenade to improve vehicular mobility and provide pedestrian enhancements at the entry and walkways, including an installation/sculpture garden; Landscape and shading improvements within the site, including the central “Zocalo” and paseo to the center’s theater and gallery spaces; and 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.

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