Ball-Nogues Studio was hired for schematic design of Confluence Park, an initiative of the San Antonio River Foundation to transform a former industrial laydown yard into an outdoor learning center. With environmental education as an overarching theme, the design will incorporate creative learning opportunities into virtually every aspect of the park. To this end, the park is designed as one large organism, with various interdependent areas intricately linked through resource sharing and circulation systems. These thoughtfully designed systems, such as a water collection and redistribution system, reduce the park’s dependence on the local area’s natural resources as well as educate the public about natural ecological processes and sustainable practices.
Texas Ecotypes -Four ecotype zones reference native landscapes.
Ribbons -A series of organically shaped pre-cast concrete components are the basic building units and are arrayed to form sinuous retaining structures housing planting beds that delineate borders between ecotype zones.
Water harvesting and redistribution system –the park theatricalizes the cycles of water collection and distribution. Water visibly circulates through the park, via a system of acequias (irrigation channels), pipes and storage tanks.
Central Pavilion –Tectonically similar to the ribbons but made of thousands of steel tubes, each with the same curvature. The roof offers shade while capturing prevailing winds to ventilate space underneath. It doubles as a rain catchment instrument, collecting rainwater that drips down to the ground in choreographed locations. This process is displayed for visitor viewing, rendering the pavilion an educational center.
Caretaker/Curatorial research fellow residences –rather than simply making sustainable buildings, to promote a locally oriented culture that consumes fewer resources, caretakers and research fellows will live at the park in an earth-sheltered residence. The residence is integrated with the ribbons.
Community Garden –Visitors and neighbors can participate in planting and cultivating crops.
Open Green Space –Larger unstructured green spaces linked to nearby walking and hiking paths.