The Contemporary Austin Announces Finalists for Laguna Gloria Master Site Plan


Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin, announces three internationally renowned landscape architects as finalists in creating a Master Site Plan for Laguna Gloria, Austin’s picturesque historic treasure.

The main stipulation in the Request for Qualifications was for the selected firm to develop a comprehensive Master Site Plan that fully incorporates the twelve acres of Laguna Gloria while laying the groundwork for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park and respecting the existing historic 1916 Italianate Driscoll Villa, the fifty-year-old Art School, and the vibrant ecology of the site.

The three finalists are:

  • Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture (San Francisco, CA);
  • Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture (Boston, MA);
  • SNØHETTA (New York, NY, and Oslo, Norway).

Grachos states, “We are delighted to report that The Contemporary Austin received almost two dozen strong submissions from across the globe. All innovators and leaders in their field, the finalists are exceptional and talented firms who have embraced the exciting opportunity to create a Master Site Plan for Laguna Gloria. The legacy of Laguna Gloria and the Driscoll Villa is the cornerstone of our museum’s future and we feel strongly that it deserves the best possible vision to ensure it will become a true art and nature destination for our community and our cultural and naturalist visitors. Coupled with the right vision, proper stewardship, and a dynamic art program, Laguna Gloria will become a spotlight as a national art destination.”

In early 2013, the museum commissioned Jonathan Ogren of Siglo Group to conduct a thorough environmental assessment of the Laguna Gloria grounds, including detailed site analyses of the property’s natural and cultural history, descriptions of special qualities and features, and conservation and management guidelines for improving and preserving this very special location on the shores of Lake Austin.

As the design process takes shape, the Austin community will learn how the museum is committed to building upon this Conservation Management Initiative for the long-term stewardship of Laguna Gloria, so that the landscape will become more resilient, diverse, and welcoming for art and nature lovers alike. Emphasizing that The Contemporary Austin is one institution with two distinct and evolving locations encompassing the urban-based Jones Center and a nature-focused outdoor experience at Laguna Gloria, the continuing investment in these sites is a perfect complement to the museum’s ambitious exhibition, education, and community engagement programs.

IMAGE CREDIT | Flickr user jdeeringdavis