Jury Names Six BYOBroadway Finalists

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Finalist: Davis Sprinkle - Jenga

Davis Sprinkle's "Jenga" won second place in the "Wild Card" of the Build Your Own Broadway event in March of 2016.

Many in the city used Good Friday to gain an early start on the Easter weekend, but a working group of the city’s cultural and civic leaders settled in for a full day of work inside the lower Broadway offices of Centro San Antonio.

It takes 12 men and women to make a jury.

Two young designers from the local architecture firm Overland Partners led the jury through a visual presentation of submissions in the Build Your Own Broadway ideas competition, an array of ideas and concepts that was astonishing in its creative breadth and imagination.

Nearly 100 different teams and individuals submitted BYOB entries. Some were drawn by $20,000 in prize money offered by Centro San Antonio, which is leading an initiative to make the redesign of Broadway one of the city’s 2017 bond projects. Many were attracted by something even bigger – the possibility of transforming San Antonio’s most important north-south surface street from a vehicle artery into a world-class urban destination.

Place Changing, the community building collaborative between the Rivard Report and Overland Partners, takes to the stage at the Pearl Stable Wednesday evening with two finalists in three categories taking to the stage to present, PechaKucha style, their big ideas.

It’s going to be a sellout, but click here for available tickets.

“I’m excited, and all the jurors are hyped up about it,” said Darryl Byrd, the jury chairman and managing partner at ULTRAte Consulting. “This competition at its foundation is all about inviting citizens to get engaged, to solicit their creative answers to the question: What can Broadway look like? BYOBroadway is an exercise in civic engagement. It’s meant to compliment the more practical design work that will come down the road. The fuel powering this city forward to become a great city is going to be the citizens themselves. It’s going to take all of us to get to greatness.”

In addition to Byrd serving as chairman of the ideas competition jury, members include:Sherry Kafka Wagner, writer and journalist; Brian Dillard, cybersecurity worker and Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association president; Marina Alderete Gavito, executive director of Tech Bloc; Kevin Peckham, executive director of Choose San Antonio; Mary Heathcott, executive director of Blue Star Art Museum; Cruz Ortiz, artist and teacher; Roberto Prestigiacomo, associate professor of human communication and theatre at Trinity University and director of AtticRep at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts; Marise McDermott, CEO of the Witte Museum; Gini Garcia, founder of Garcia Art Glass; Uchennaya Ogba, inbound marketing strategist with Bethany East PR; Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, CEO of the DoSeum; and Suhail Arastu, development director for Musical Bridges Around the World.

Members of the Pearl Stable audience will select the People’s Choice Award winner from the remaining 86 submissions. In other words, the audience will be its own jury and select an entry otherwise overlooked. The winner, who must be present to win, will be invited on stage to collect $2,000. Most of the teams and individuals who entered the ideas competition have said they will attend the event.  Here’s a sampling of the submissions eligible for the People’s Choice Award:

 

 

Allison Hu and Nicolas Rivard, two designers at Overland Partners, managed the ideas competition and the 92 entries entered in the three categories.

“The humbling display of intelligence, creativity and sheer love for place resulting from this competition should be incredibly telling,” Hu said after the jury completed its selection of six finalists. “This city is unstoppable. San Antonio must continue to challenge itself to better listen to, deploy, and reward its own creative capital to address a wide variety of urgent needs. I think all participants will leave the event feeling inspired and ready to build on the work already done. “

“I’m super excited by the variety of participation our little experiment received: Elementary kids, architecture students, design professionals, and nearby neighbors all made great contributions – way more than we expected, in fact,” said Nicolas Rivard. “It is a signal that demonstrates a very high level of commitment to improving out city.”

All 92 entries will be posted in the Pearl Stable foyer Wednesday evening so audience members can vote on the $2,000 People’s Choice Award winner. The six finalists will receive cash awards and are excluded from the popular vote. Hu and Nicolas Rivard are formatting the entries so the Rivard Report can provide readers with a link Wednesday, allowing those attending the event to get an advance look at the submissions and cast their vote upon arrival.

“I was in awe of not only the sheer volume of submissions, but the comprehensive nature of entries,” said Suhail Arastu, executive director of Musical Bridges and one of the jurors. “By and large, the applicants approached the challenge as an integrated approach to urban planning beyond functional aesthetics. ‘Pershing Park(ing)’ rose to the top in my reviews , while ‘Juxtaposition,’ another favorite of mine that creatively harnessed the kinetic energy of passing cards to create light, didn’t even make the finals.”

Another juror, Marina Gavito, executive director of TechBloc, had a similar experience.

“To see the amount of thought and effort that went into this competition was truly inspiring,” Gavito said.
“I absolutely loved one of the projects, ‘Juxtapose,’ which transformed an underpass area into an interactive space with lights and tall trees. It is an interesting concept and I can imagine locals and tourists thrilled to take it all in. This is our San Antonio, the city we all love, and I am so excited to see all of us coming together to build something great.”

Here are the two finalists in each of the three categories that will be presenting at the Pearl Stable on Wednesday evening:

Reinvent the Underpass

Dan Carter - Creciente Park Masterplan

Finalist: Dan Carter – Creciente Park Masterplan

Bernadette Lewis - The Underpass

Finalist: Bernadette Lewis – The Underpass

Public Space Gateways

Finalist: Brantley Hightower - Pershing Park(ing)

Finalist: Brantley Hightower – Pershing Park(ing)

Finalist: Seema Kairam - Broadway Crossblocks

Finalist: Seema Kairam – Broadway Crossblocks

Wild Card

Finalist: Davis Sprinkle - Jenga

Finalist: Davis Sprinkle – Jenga

Finalist: Tom Christal - Broadway "Overlooking" Brackenridge Park

Finalist: Tom Christal – Broadway “Overlooking” Brackenridge Park

 

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

 

Related Stories:

Hausman Road: The High Cost of Sprawl in San Antonio

Broadway: A Street Still aWaiting Public Investment

BYOBroadway: An Open Competition to Design a Great Street

Dignowity Hill: A Neighborhood With a Story

15 thoughts on “Jury Names Six BYOBroadway Finalists

      • Love the Jenga building as well, even if it’s nowhere near the DoSeum. But a whole block of pedestrian crossing on an already busy street? Ugh, that means vehicle traffic for all those people who live and work along Broadway is going to detour through the residential areas. Love the underpass ideas from the kids!

  1. If I had to pick a winner, I would give it to the cross block. It gives the street back to the pedestrian. Given the expensive nature of the other projects this can be done quite affordably.

    My runner up would be The Underpass Park.

    • Andrew

      The winners will be announced at the end of the BYOBroadway program, and return to the stage to collect their $5,000 checks, while the second place finishers will come up and receive $1,000 each. The audience will be selecting the $2,000 People’s Choice Award winner from the other 87 entries. All of the entries should be posted on our site by morning and there will be a printed representation of them at the Pearl Stable. This gives audience members the opportunity to review the entries ahead of time or as they arrive for the program. We hope you are there to vote. Thanks. –RR

  2. Great contest (I threw in a wildcard idea), but why is Centro advocating for any particular possible City 2017 Bond project at this time – or offering the prize money for BYOBroadway?

    This seems out of the scope of supplementing City services to improve the downtown pedestrian environment (including with ambassadors, streetscaping, maintenance and capital projects) within the existing (recently expanded) Public Improvement District (PID) – which Broadway barely falls into?

    See http://blog.mysanantonio.com/downtown/2013/05/centro-to-tap-into-public-improvement-district/

    Walking downtown in 2016 shows there’s plenty of sidewalks and public areas within the current PID that need cleaning, landscaping, capital improvements, provision of visitor information and other supplementary services beyond and in priority to the few blocks of Broadway that are within the PID.

    There’s clearly need for Centro’s planned business retention and recruitment work (including the enhancement and implementation of the 2012 downtown retail growth strategy) for the area between Alamo Plaza and Market Square – meant to be the focus of Centro”s efforts 2015-2019, per their draft Service and Assessment Plan presented to Council in 2014?

    See https://sanantonio.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1898896&GUID=6EEA9005-CC4D-4CFD-B989-493B7528F62D&FullText=1

    In September 2015, Centro added ‘Broadway Corridor’ as a potential Capitol Project area for their FY 2016 plan – along with electrical infrastructure and furnishings and landscaping improvements earmarked specifically for the ‘west side’ of the PID this fiscal year.

    See https://sanantonio.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2455218&GUID=158B049E-EE3E-43D4-A2C1-FA0973C3A6E9&FullText=1

    It’s planting season in San Antonio right now and at HEB at $6 a plant, $20k in prize money could pay for a lot of native/drought tolerant landscaping (not to mention possible street furnishings) for currently barren western areas of the PID – and as the end of the fiscal year quickly approaches.

    In terms of electrical infrastructure, as of March 2016, key City food truck program sites central to the PID (including at Travis Park, just north of the Frost Tower and at the Weston Center on Soledad) have not been provided electrical plug-ins to help address noise and air pollution and enhance the downtown pedestrian experience – as we enter a key tourism and outdoor dining (as well as now annual ozone risk) season.

    In addition, many sidewalk stretches downtown are pitch black at night – including stretches from Market Square to Main Plaza to the Tobin Center (within the PID) as well as routes to and from and between UTSA downtown and VIA’s Centro Plaza (just west of the PID). The distraction of a ‘better Broadway’ has somehow eclipsed the responsibility for basically okay Nueva, Dolorosa/Market, Commerce, Travis, Houston, Martin and other streets for visitors and locals including student within the downtown PID this fiscal year and through the coming holiday seasons.

    If Centro is maneuvering towards expanding the PID, they should be looking west to Centro Plaza and UTSA downtown as well as south to the new HEB (Dwyer, Main & Frio) in tandem with Broadway north – all areas of new and potential infill residential and commercial development in the greater downtown area. Regardless, Centro’s ‘Other Projects’ budget for FY 2016 – which lists completing a ‘ROI Evaluation for projects to be considered for the City’s 2017 Bond program’ as a task – specifies that the funds / 2017 bond program evaluation work is meant for projects within the current PID only?

    Centro’s key involvement in the BYOBroadway competition could have limited the focus of the contest to the blocks of Broadway south of Brooklyn Avenue, per the current PID boundary.

    See http://downtownsanantonio.org/centro

    More critically, Centro advocating for any specific potential 2017 City Bond projects should be accompanied with more detail about how Centro has evaluated the ROI of possible 2017 bond projects for the existing PID in comparison with other PID-specific projects – per the Service and Assessment Plans presented to and approved by Council.

    I’m excited to read more about what PID-specific possible 2017 bond projects Centro has proposed and/or evaluated beyond apparently leading advocacy for Broadway corridor work in recent weeks?

    Perhaps they’re considering reducing traffic lanes to widen the east sidewalk on St Mary’s between Travis and Commerce to support the PID’s downtown theatre district? Maybe they’re exploring reducing traffic lanes to widen the north sidewalk on Commerce from St Mary’s to Santa Rosa to further support the downtown retail growth strategy’s West Commerce District new Zona Cultural district as well as to improve the public transit experience for visitors and downtown commuters (including by improving a key sidewalk conflict and recent pedestrian fatality point on Commerce near Flores)?

    Perhaps there’s 2017 bond funds for pedestrianizing sections of Houston Street and Alamo Plaza within the PID to improve the pedestrian experience downtown? Maybe they’re considering pedestrian improvements on Martin Street, anticipating SAISD land redevelopment and San Pedro Creek trail work in the next few years? Perhaps they’re exploring pedestrian work beneath the I35/i10 Martin Street to Nueva, (a key north-south PID ‘street’) to help improve connections with Market Square, UTSA downtown and Centro Plaza while helping to address downtown parking needs?

    These possible projects within the current PID merit attention and resource expenditure by Centro similar to if not exceeding their support for speculative work on Broadway well beyond the current PID boundary. Many of the contest ideas highlighted above (and likely other submitted ideas) could help San Antonio build a better downtown Public Improvement District – if moved off Broadway and focused to the streets and sites that Centro is currently responsible for.

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