night garden
November 13, 2017

fareground at one eleven

austin, texas


Fareground at One Eleven Congress is a reimagining of the plaza and lobby space at One Congress Plaza, on the corner of 2nd Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Part park and part marketplace, Fareground transformed an underutilized and somewhat lifeless space into a modern, inviting and active downtown hub for professionals, residents and visitors of Austin.

The dwg. designed Fareground plaza features an inviting, rolling lawn and stunning, massive oak trees. A new meandering ADA ramp offers universal accessibility and immerses visitors in the natural environment as they enter the space, peacefully veiling the hustle and bustle of the busy, adjacent, at-grade streetscape.

Fareground utilizes a dramatic botanical plant palette of native and adapted species to create a verdant and comfortable setting in the midst of the built environment. Synthetic lawn is used strategically in densely shaded areas to reduce water usage and limit maintenance costs. Reclaimed and locally sourced granite is used to clad new and existing walls to integrate the new design with the old building. High fly-ash concrete walks, plaza and stairs are accented with custom, locally fabricated metal works. A variety of seating options and scales of gathering spaces provide lounging, dining, chatting and working opportunities for users. Custom, fixed wooden benches and decking are complemented by mobile furnishings to enhance the flexibility of the plaza. This series of intertwined outdoor “rooms” meets the needs of individuals and groups, and can alternatively be used as a collective to accommodate large events.

Cloudscape, Fareground’s iconic water feature, quite literally creates clouds from water collected from the building’s AC-condensation and creates a powerful visual beacon. Utilizing state of the art technology, water is atomized at incredible pressure from twelve tall, slender pylons to create a sculpture that reveals the quality of light, opacity and movement. Cloudscape is the interactive centerpiece of the project and encompasses a sustainable statement, public art, theatrical entertainment, branding and innovative wayfinding.

Nimbus, the custom-designed and fabricated shade structure, provides relief from exposure and the immense scale of the adjacent tower as it meets the plaza floor. As clouds move through valleys, they respond to their surroundings. Nimbus, in turn, folds as a response to the angular topography of the site while the patterned canopy creates stylized dappled light.

The indoor lobby of the building was designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture into an upscale eatery hall with the feel of other contemporary city marketplaces – including Austin-centric food and drink vendors, as well as creative meeting and co-working spaces. The dining concepts within the eatery hall, as well as a street-level concept at the corner of Congress Avenue and 2nd Street, are curated and overseen by ELM Restaurant Group. Coming straight from Austin’s best chefs, restauranteurs, and culinary experts, the six diverse dining concepts within the marketplace offer visitors the opportunity to select their individual culinary experience, while enjoying community dining in a casual, yet sophisticated atmosphere.


  • Client: Cousins
  • Architect: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
  • Structural Engineer: Leap!
  • Civil Engineer: KBGE
  • General Contractor: Balfour Beatty
  • Custom Steel Fabrication: Sarabi Studio
  • Dining Concept Operator: ELM Group
  • MEP Engineer: EEA
  • Water Features: Cloward H2O