2nd Street District

, The City of Austin AMLI Stratus and Computer Science Corporation

Austin, TX

Street view
Outdoor dining
Master plan

The 2nd Street District surrounds Austin City Hall and spans six city blocks, including a quarter-mile-long portion that has become a lively pedestrian-oriented retail street. The project revels in relationships between places for work, living and relaxation and in a synergy between public and private realms. It affirms the importance of producing meaningful places and not just object buildings.

The goal was to integrate office, residential, commercial and public spaces into a coherent ensemble where each element reinforced the others. The interests of a diverse constituency including the City of Austin, multiple real estate developers, corporate occupants and a wide range of retailers had to be synthesized into a coherent, productive solution.

The master plan placed City Hall in a prominent spot on the axis of Drake Bridge and created a half-block plaza on its south side oriented to Lady Bird Lake. The two office blocks flanking City Hall, designed by Page, were kept to a six-story height to provide a compatible frame for the more central, but smaller scaled public functions.

The three blocks away from the lake accommodate taller buildings and residential functions above ground floor retail. The lively collections of shops, combined with appropriate scale and rich tactile materials, gives 2nd Street a strong, urbane character. The 18-story building on the west end includes an art cinema and recreation deck in addition to residential uses. The residential/hotel building across 2nd Street from City Hall incorporates a large performance venue for the television program, Austin City Limits.

With the notable and appropriate exception of City Hall, most of the buildings emphasize the longstanding role of urban structures as ‘fabric’ and draw architectural character prominently from urban design goals. The robust masonry character of the office buildings and City Hall, though completely contemporary, was inspired, in part, by local historic structures.

Building Facts

  • 500,000 SF Mixed Use Development
  • 231 units
  • 35,000 SF retail