The Indedpendent will be the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi. The coming plaza is 76,644 SF and will accommodate bikers, pedestrians, and auto-commuters. A former brownfield, the Independent Plaza creates a hub of activity for its adjacent sixty story tower in Downtown Austin. The plaza sits at a hydrologic and urban confluence- Shoal Creek nears Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin flows into a historic decommissioned hydroelectric power plant redeveloping into a new EcoDistrict. This complex site is layered with constraints– a setback from the adjacent electric substation, a twenty-four inch water line, a seventy-two inch water line, overhead transmission lines, a future light-rail line, the Lance Armstrong bikeway, and requirements for fire and crane access to the pedestrian bridge. The design solution embraces these challenges and carves out space for people to pause and reflect or to gather and celebrate while allowing for cars and bicycles to safely move through the space.
What was once a pass-through space becomes a destination and public stage for the city. Planted limestone ledges evoke the character of the creek banks, and a grotto celebrates water in the urban parklet. Dense groves of native understory trees provide seasonal interest and a sense of enclosure which native perennials and grasses weave the native landscape of the region with an urban sensibility.