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On Wednesday, October 23rd, the Austin Film Society hosted a design charrette to envision the "public face" of Austin Studios as a part of their year-long Creative Placemaking project. Over 40 people participated in the workshop led by Catherine Sckerl of Espero Planning & Design Studio; representatives from the City of Austin, area neighborhoods, tenants at Austin Studios, filmmakers, AFS staff, AFS board members, and local architects were divided into four teams, which each generated a concept design option for the "public face" of Austin Studios at the former National Guard Armory building.

The four concept design options include: "Courtyard Cafe", "SuperStructure", "Gateway Icon", and "Light Corridors". Each concept design sketch offers AFS a vision for what the future of Austin Studios' "public face" might look like; space program elements such as screening rooms, a co-working space, a cafe, AFS offices, flex conference rooms, and a media center are all included in the designs. More detail on each scheme is shown below. It is important to note that only the most critical "public face" elements will be implemented under the 2012 Bond (e.g., a screening room, some flex conference/classroom spaces), while other components will follow as needs and funding arise.

Courtyard Cafe Concept, team led by Robert Steinbomer & Amy Bramwell

Design Option Highlights:

  • Orients the visitor-heavy Screening Rooms and a Cafe around a courtyard garden and along the future Tilley Street

  • Positions AFS Offices at the front of the former Armory building as a welcoming center

  • Concentrates public face space program elements together in one corner of the former Armory

  • Locates space program elements such as the Flex Conference Rooms, and Co-Work and Incubator Center further into the building as a transition between the public space and the more private tenant spaces

  • Primary vehicular entry remains off of East 51st Street near the water tower; the primary pedestrian access envisioned along Tilley Street

  • "High priority" elements are located within the former Armory building; stand-alone elements could be added in a later phase


SuperStructure Concept, team led by Trinity White & Rebecca Jeanes

Design Option Highlights:

  • Concentrates all public face space program elements along a centralized, multistory corridor

  • Emphasizes that the density of the public face components in an urban manner will yield collaboration and synergy between different types of users

  • Proposes different entries for different users: public entry is located along the east near Tilley Street, AFS visitors would enter the former Armory from the northern entry, and tenants and filmmakers would enter from the western side of the building

  • Multistory corridor will act as an atrium, enabling the introduction of natural light into the former Armory building

  • Pedestrian access envisioned along the future Tilley Street while vehicular access would remain along 51st Street


Gateway Icon Concept, team led by Andrew Hinman

Design Option Highlights:

  • Places iconic gateways, evocative of film studios in Hollywood, at the entrances to Austin Studios; each gateway frames the formal "quadrangle" or green, located on near the future Tilley Street

  • Activates the green space with visitor-heavy space program elements, such as the Screening Rooms and Cafe; envisions the green space to be additionally programmed with outdoor screenings and events

  • Distributes the remaining "public face" space program elements throughout the former Armroy building: AFS offices are located in the northwest corner, the Media Center in the southwest corner, and the Flex Conference Rooms in the center

  • Locates pedestrian access along the future Tilley Street; maintains vehicular access at 51st Street

  • Strategically considered construction phasing: all "high priority" elements are within the former Armory envelope


Light Corridors Concept, team led by Henry Panton

Design Option Highlights:

  • Sites the large Screening Rooms near East 51st Street, since it is considered a high visibility location

  • Utilizes the Screening Rooms to frame a large outdoor courtyard, in which outdoor screenings or other events could be held

  • Consolidates the remaining "public face" space program elements in the northwest corner of the former Armory building

  • Introduces natural light and fresh air into the former Armory by carving out "light corridors"; the "light corridors" are essentially exterior hallways that create store-front space for tenants; the corridors may be covered by a trellis or other shade structure

  • Embeds the small screening room in the middle of a block of tenant spaces

  • Orients primary vehicular and pedestrian access off of East 51st street; envisions the Tilley Street corridor to serve as secondary vehicular and pedestrian access

  • Considers construction phasing in the layout of public face elements: all "high priority" spaces are within the former Armory building envelope