dwg. is proud to showcase the stellar work of one of our designers, Kevin Sullivan and his partner, Frannie Peterson.
My wife Frannie and I met at UT Austin where we were both studying landscape architecture for grad school. It was during school that we were both first introduced to Waller Creek. We took a rewarding and demanding studio taught by Dr. Alan Shearer that mirrored the international design competition taking place that summer that set out to reimagine 12 blocks of Austin’s most urban creek. Following that school year I continued my relationship with Waller Creek, as I had an internship at a firm that was one of participating firms in the design competition. Fast forward a few years, I am at dwg. who is now actively working on the implementation of the winning proposal for the long term reimagining of Waller Creek. While at dwg. I was a core team member involved with our immensely successful Creekshow installation, Night Garden, in 2017. At the same time, Frannie also participated in another very memorable installation for Creekshow in 2015. Needless to say, Frannie and I know and love Waller Creek, and were beyond excited when our own idea for an installation for this years Creekshow was selected.
The character of place emerges from the relationship between the people who inhabit its form, materiality, and context–all of which are ultimately the quiet products of a place’s geology. Austin is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the Blackland Prairie to the east and the Edwards Aquifer to the west. Karst features, commonly found at this intersection of geologies, are formations created by the movement of water underground.
m e a n d e r is envisioned as a fissure in a supernatural aquifer. Like water in underground caves, flows of visitors have symbolically eroded and carved a whimsical passageway. The installation is tactile and playful, encouraging people to walk through the dangling tendrils within the cave.
Located in the tunnel beneath 11th street, m e a n d e r is composed of 3,000 1” ribbons of fluorescent marking tape varying in length. The ribbon is hung from a metal wire lattice secured to the ceiling of the tunnel with temporary supports. Black lights mounted within the tunnel vibrantly illuminate the ribbons, creating a surreal experience.
Entering the tunnel from the south, visitors move through an intimate path creating a gateway into Symphony Square. Though m e a n d e r guides visitors along a path, the design intentionally invites and encourages people to walk freely through the ribbons, promoting interaction and discovery. In the middle of the tunnel, the ribbons shorten to create an impressive vaulted “room.” Visitors continue north through the installation to dramatically emerge into Symphony Square.
m e a n d e r will transform a lifeless piece of infrastructure into a mystical and captivating interactive experience. Creating a moment for discovery and wonderment, m e a n d e r will also subtly reveal the invisible forces responsible for the natural features that all Austinites cherish.