The idea of what makes a street “great” may divide individuals, but the shared goal to make Broadway a great street excited nearly 500 San Antonian residents, students, architects and professionals during the BYOBroadway design competition award ceremony on Wednesday evening.
Event attendees crowded inside the Pearl Stable – and the courtyard outside – to view nearly 100 design submissions, enjoy beer from Southerleigh, and discuss Broadway's potential to become a destination that moves pedestrians and cars.
The Build Your Own Broadway competition was developed by Overland Partners and the Rivard Report as a Place Changing project, to encourage inspiration and activation starting from the ground up. The competition also offered design teams and individuals a combined $20,000 in prize money from Centro San Antonio, with the intent to raise awareness and prioritize Broadway among the projects included in the City's 2017 Bond.
From the 92 design submissions, the BYOBroadway jury selected six design finalists. Three 1st place winners were awarded $5,000; three 2nd place winners received $1,000, and attendees were asked to select their favorite design from the remaining submissions for the People's Choice prize, which awarded $2,000 to the winners. Click through the slideshow below to view the prize winners:
Within the last few months, Centro has raised private funds to engage the conceptual design for Broadway and "prove to the community and the city that there’s an economic payoff," said Centro President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni.
The conceptual design is nearly complete, and will be shared with the community in the following weeks, said DiGiovanni.
“It’s clear that people want to change (Broadway) from being good to being great,” said Madison Smith, principal at Overland Partners. The Broadway corridor, a 3.1 mile stretch that includes more than 20 stakeholders, cultural destinations and incredible green spaces like Brackenridge, lacks the pedestrian and bike-friendly connections needed to access these areas.
The competition seemed to energize residents to collaborate and create positive change.
“A competition like this that is open to the general public – you saw tonight the students, designers, architects, you even saw attorneys – brings ideas forth to make (a place) better, and it helps move the conversation forward,” said Brantley Hightower, founding architect of HiWorks, who received first place in the Public Space Gateways category. “In terms of design, it’s hard to know what you want until you see it.”
Hightower and his creative teammate Dave Evans, a local attorney, designed Pershing Park(ing), a concept that presented a solution to Broadway's lack of parking while providing a place for people to gather and enjoy a linear park. Though it's not clear whether any of the designs will move forward, both Hightower and Evans agreed that the 92 submissions were a great place to start the larger, citywide conversation.
“It doesn’t really matter if, at the end of the day, these ideas don’t see some sort of fruition,” said Evans. “I hope this is the first step of a very long journey.”
In addition to the 92 design submissions, attendees were able to view and learn more about VIA's new downtown route starting June 6. Students from the UTSA College of Architecture also displayed the 1000 Parks and a Line in the Sky: A Broadway Avenue of the Future, their 50-foot model envisioning the Broadway corridor in Alamo Heights.
“San Antonio is marching towards greatness, and for us to get there it’s going to take a lot more fuel and fuel comes from people like you and me and thinking big,” said Darryl Byrd, BYOBroadway jury chairman and managing partner at ULTRAte Consulting.
The BYOBroadway audience included a mix of young professionals and established community leaders, but Byrd noted that this was a positive collaboration between Millennials and Baby Boomers.
“I think everybody is listening. Millennials count in a big way. At the end of the day Millennials, and those who follow them, are the ones who will who inherit the investments that we make today.”
Peter Kageyama, author of For The Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and their Places, discussed the importance of projects like BYOBroadway, which often inspire people and eventually lead to big changes.
(Read More: How to Send a ‘Love Note’ to San Antonio)
"We can all dream very very big, but how about if we found ways to spend $1,000 in our own neighborhood?" Kageyama said. Small projects and individual ideas often lead to the biggest and most powerful changes.
From the crowd's energy and enthusiasm, it was apparent that residents are ready to make those changes. The evening closed with remarks from Overland designers Allison Hu and Nicolas Rivard, who thanked attendees for their support and urged them to contact local leaders and political representatives, in an effort to improve the environment.
"We have a lot of work left to do," Rivard said. "Let's keep the momentum going."