Revitalizing Pease Park
Thanks in part to a generous lead gift from the Moody Foundation, the Conservancy is embarking on an exciting new project to revitalize the southernmost tip of Pease Park, known as Kingsbury Commons. As the recreational heart and cultural soul of Pease Park, Kingsbury Commons serves as the welcoming front door to the park and consequently, has been prioritized as the first major project implemented from the award-winning Pease Park Master Plan.
In March 2017, PPC awarded Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc. (TELA) a contract for the design and construction of Kingsbury Commons. TELA’s unique experience and ability to fold the natural environment into their designs made them the clear choice for Pease Park, whose immense canopy, shaded trails and green meadows enchant park-goers already.
TELA and its assembled team of experts have designed a world class park with features that include the adaptive repurposing of the Tudor Cottage as a community gathering space with new terraced seating, a unique nature play area, a state-of-the-art water play feature, an innovative treescape, safe and inviting park gateways, a spring-fed water feature, improved basketball court and baseball field, a new volunteer plaza and storage building, multigenerational workout equipment, enhanced restrooms, new bocce court and numerous new native plantings.
A Welcoming Front door
Kingbsury Commons is the most important entry and activity space in the Park. It is the focal point, and “the capital” of the 15th-31st Street open space. It is a beloved part of the neighborhood, the citywide collective memory and civic DNA. Although “Commons” is a New England term, it serves to describe the sense of deep community connection and popular use in this green space. Kingsbury Commons is a pleasant, busy, exciting place to be when the many different user groups are all present. Now is the opportunity to create a more memorable and fitting “postcard” entry at Kingbsury Commons, one befitting the Park’s historic and civic legacy in a way that will not just accommodate but truly serve to inspire future generations.
To create that “postcard” entry, “Pease Park” will be carved into a limestone entry wall framed by two large live oaks. The existing splash pad and prefab restroom building will be removed and trees will be moved to open up the view shed. The interpretive ribbon wall will encircle the lower field and frame the lawn. Accessibility and trail access will increase. All improvements will serve to invite all visitors to enjoy Pease.
to Play and Learn
Kingsbury Commons also includes the replacement of the existing playscapes at Pease Park, which appeal largely to young children and are at the end of their useful life. New leading-edge playscapes, water play feature, and other recreational features will be added for children of all ages and abilities and will incorporate research-based designs proven to aid child development while strongly emphasizing nature-based play. The existing splash pad will be removed. A larger, more exciting water play feature will be added and consolidated with the rest of the children's play facilities. Additionally, a new regulation high school size basketball court and baseball diamond will replace the current dilapidated structures. A variety of new exercise equipment will replace the current lone chinning bar and better serve all age groups.
Kingbury Commons will also include a truly one-of-a-kind treehouse designed by Mell Lawrence Architects to inspire all ages. The treehouse will bring park users up into the the canopy where they’ll be able to lay out on nets and enjoy the chorus of birds and wildlife that call Pease their home. It will set Pease Park apart from its peers.
Infrastructure to grow
The whimsical 1920’s Tudor Cottage, the most recognizable landmark of Pease Park, is currently being used as a storage unit for maintenance equipment. To breathe new life into this historic feature, Clayton & Little Architects have been contracted to repurpose the building into a community gathering space and add a gracious stone terrace adjoining it to the north. The Tudor Cottage will then be open to the public for events, receptions, and gatherings. PPC will manage this facility under an agreement with the Austin Parks & Recreation Department (PARD). Further, a revitalized Tudor Cottage will provide PPC with a rental venue for community gatherings, parties, and other events, creating an earned-revenue stream for further investment in the park.
A new larger restroom and storage building joined by an outdoor plaza will be built to better serve more park patrons' comfort needs and house the Conservancy's tools for our beloved volunteer program. The new restrooms will replace the current small restroom located in the floodplain and will be more accessible to users of the Cottage and playscapes.
Other historic features built in the 1920’s and during the Civilian Conservation Corps-era such as picnic tables, walls, and bridges will be restored and protected for future generations to enjoy.
PRIME CONSULTANT/ LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects | Austin
Altura Solutions | Austin
ARCHITECT - TUDOR COTTAGE
Clayton & Little Architects | Austin
ARCHITECT - TREE HOUSE
Mell Lawrence Architects | Austin
Garza EMC | Austin
Siglo Group | Austin
Sweeney & Associates | Round Rock
Studio Lumina | Austin
Jerry Garza & Associates | Buda
NATURE PLAY CONSULTANT
Natural Learning Initiative(NLI) | Raleigh
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE CONSULTANT
ETM Associates | Highland Park, New Jersey
PLAYGROUND SAFETY CONSULTANT
Play Safe | Albuquerque
American Realty Project Management | Austin
lookthinkmake | Austin
Architectural Engineers Collaborative (AEC) | Austin
SUSTAINABLE SITES COORDINATOR
Regenerative Environmental Design (RED) | Austin
WATER FEATURE DESIGNER & ENGINEER
Fluidity Design Consultants | Los Angeles
WAYFINDING & GRAPHICS DESIGNER
Page/Dyal | Austin
A Space For All
Together, these improvements will dramatically enhance the park visitor's experience. All modifications will be woven into the woodland in such a manner that will protect the canopy and allow the park to retain its familiar storybook atmosphere. The renovations will provide badly needed recreational and gathering options for Austin's booming urban core and allow this beloved green space to live up to its true potential greatness. Pease Park has always been a place for everyone. These improvements won't change that; they'll simply enhance what's already there to sustain the park and create a welcoming space for all.