Palmer Events Center
City of Austin
Commissioned to create a master plan and new community center venue for Austin’s Town Lake Park, a centrally located urban park that at the time resembled nothing more than a parking lot for two outdated public auditoriums that anchored the 54-acre site. Despite being a park in name only, it was much beloved by Austin residents for its outdoor events, flea markets, and other gatherings. The site offers access to the water as well as beautiful views of Austin’s skyline. It was a prime parcel of downtown real estate, and diverse groups expressed vocal interests in its planning. The 132,000 square foot Palmer Events Center was a result of a highly collaborative design process that engaged a variety of competing stakeholders.
Designed through a joint venture partnership between Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects, Centerbook Architects and Planners, and Taniguchi Architects & Associates, Palmer became a “Pavilion in the Park” that is more than a functional facility, providing a new amenity for the park that addresses parking and traffic noise in a manner suitable for adjacent neighborhoods. Its design—a simple box with a soaring shade structure—creates an iconic presence on its prominent site. It is functional, provides needed shade, and is a much beloved community destination.
Design Award, Texas Society of Architects
Citation of Honor Award, AIA Austin
Design Award of Honor, Society of American Registered Architects
Design Award, AIA Connecticut
Design IMPACT Award, Downtown Austin Alliance
Design Award of Honor, Society of American Registered Architects, California Council
Public Sector Award of Excellence, Austin Commercial Real Estate Society
President’s Award, Metal Construction Association
Design Award for Metal Roofing, Metal Architecture Magazine
Two-Star Sustainability Equivalent, Austin Energy Green Building Program
The Center uses ample local and renewable materials including Texas limestone in exterior walls and bas-relief sculptures, native stone floor mosaics and southern yellow pine trusses and roof decking. The standing seam roof is highly-reflective and open at the top to allow air to flow up and out, creating a breeze on hot days. In addition, ceiling fans twenty foot in diameter hang under the roof to circulate the hot air. Around the building, eighteen acres of impervious parking lots were returned to permeable park landscape. Photovoltaic cell arrays for collecting energy are provided on the garage roof. The Center was awarded a Two-Star Sustainability Equivalent from the Austin Energy Green Building Program.