This master plan transforms a twelve-acre peninsula on Lake Austin, once the estate the of renowned Texas philanthropist Clara Driscoll, into a public open space and world-class venue for the making and experiencing of art. The site is the new face of The Contemporary Austin, which also operates from a gallery building downtown, the Jones Center. The landscape is Laguna Gloria's primary asset, a work of art unto itself, and the principal vehicle for the union of art and nature.
Instead of prescribing locations for sculpture, the landscape frames the site for artistic interpretation and creative engagement the land's cultural heritage, its geologic and hydrologic foundations, and its diverse native ecologies. A series of landscape planning strategies unlock potential to inspire site-specific commissions. Art and nature are spatially and experientially continuous. All works will be temporary, until proven otherwise, and the growth and change of the landscape over time, including site phenomena, ensure Laguna Gloria will be a perennially interesting venue.
The plan retains the sense of seclusion, tranquillity and iconic program Clara Driscoll sought in her estate, a world apart from the city in the Italian villa tradition. The design also establishes compelling visitor experiences in a progression of character, from an urban edge along the street to a wild, aquatic edge along the lake and lagoon. Historic Driscoll Villa and the Temple of Love are preserved. A new building for a popular art school and a facility for an artist residency program are included. Goals align visitor experience, functionality, resilience, and overall ecological health toward an innovative art institution with strong local roots and a global reach. The master plan envisions a feat of Austin egalitarianism: the community, commissioned artists, and the museum all participate in the stewardship of Laguna Gloria.