“The planning and public outreach process of the San Jacinto Plaza directly contributed to the successful design, activation, and programming of the space. The park serves… as an important gathering place for El Pasoans of all ages and abilities.”
– Doug McDonald, AICP, APA-Texas Chapter President
SWA’s redesign of San Jacinto Plaza, a historic gathering place in El Paso’s downtown business district provides a state-of-the-art urban open space, while protecting and celebrating the history and culture of the site. The project was the result of an intensive community process involving input from a wide range of constituents. Active programming, environmental and economic sustainability, and great design have become the de facto criteria for catalyzing renewed interest and investment in the types of urban open spaces exemplified by the updated plaza.
Programming for the park was a main priority, as was the community’s desire to retain some of its historic identity. In response, SWA integrated the existing formal axial paths with informal paths and bridges that take park users to various destinations, including gaming areas for ping-pong, chess, and washoes (a local favorite similar to horseshoes but with water), a children’s splash pad, and a café with colorful seating
arrangements. At the park’s center, the designers restored Los Lagortos, a beloved sculpture by Luis Jimenez that pays tribute to the live alligators that inhabited the plaza over 45 years ago. Together with Lake Flato Architects, they created a metal structure to help protect the sculpture from the sun and also to provide a shaded area for activities.
The Clearing: Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial
This project was designed to honor the 20 children and six educators who were slain on Dec 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Designers Dan Affleck and Ben Waldo created a competition-winning design for a memorial space which is both open-ended and unifying in how it is experienced, honoring the full spectrum of emotions this tragedy evokes. They wanted...
The Camellias Garden
The Camellias Garden is inspired by the verdant green gardens of India and the petals of one of Asia’s most beautiful and vibrant native plant species: the camellia flower. These blooms’ flowing curves and lines are interpreted within the Garden’s design, drawing residents of these 16 luxury apartment towers out into the landscape and offering the sense of bei...
Tulsa Riverfront Park
SWA directed conceptual studies for incorporating a landmark residential estate, a multi-family housing complex and a creek corridor into the adjacent Arkansas River waterfront of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Recently acquired by a local community foundation, the total 64-acre area features sweeping lawns and a historic home that provides much-needed space for the city’s ...
Dave Thomas Circle
One of the most dangerous intersections at the gateway into downtown Washington DC was targeted for significant improvement. Prompted by the demolition of a Wendy’s restaurant and new road alignments to ease traffic congestion, SWA/Balsley was hired to create a memorable new gateway experience and usable, inviting parks in the newly acquired public land. The t...