A new 50-year vision for San Antonio’s downtown

The studio project

While UTSA just celebrated its 50th year and the Downtown Campus is approaching 25 years in existence, a  collaborative studio of the UTSA Department of Architecture and Sun Moon University students are asked to question the existence of the portion of freeway separating the UTSA Downtown Campus from the rest of San Antonio’s urban core. They are proposing solutions for fostering connection, enhancing public space, and reintegrating the near West Side community back into downtown. The studio is being led by Lecturer Candid Rogers with assistance from Professors Dr. Heewon Lee and Ki Suk Lee.

How could a portion of I-10 be removed or reconfigured to ameliorate its divisive effect? How can induced demand reinforce a new vision? How can traffic flow be reconsidered to minimize congestion and pollution? What new space can be gained by reimaging the freeway and its environs? What strategic policies are necessary to support renewal? What solutions can be gleaned from examples of smart growth and transit-oriented development that have been successfully implemented elsewhere?

The collaboration with Sun Moon University

This is the first collaborative studio of the UTSA Department of Architecture and Sun Moon University, called IDEAS (International Design Exchange Architecture Studio) Workshop. Our guests are joining UTSA Lecturer Candid Rogers’ regular class doing their Global Capstone Design program for 2 weeks. The Korean students are well-trained according to KAAB (Korea Architectural Accrediting Board) criteria. Though it is a very short time to produce a detailed concrete plan, a mixed team of American and Korean students resulted in a well-blended idea of Eastern and Western styles from the perspectives of urban revitalization and regeneration, which gave a many inspirational ideas for future downtown of San Antonio.

The studio invites all to attend the IDEAS Workshop final review on Friday, January 31

What: Review the conceptual master plan of the project. Students will prepare their schematic ideas in powerpoint format.

When: 1-5pm Friday, January 31

Where: Monterey Bldg. Gallery (MNT 1.108)

Critics:  Studio Professor Candid Rogers, UTSA Lecturer; 2 Korean Professors, Dr. Heewon Lee and Ki Suk Lee; 2 Korean Practicing Architects, Wongi Hong and Kwang Hyoo Choi; Dr. Sedef Doganer; Dr. Greg P. Griffin; Dr. Albert Han; Dr. Jae Yong Suk; Joshua Gerkin

Teams

Team 1
Nickname: Green Avenue
Students: Su Yeon Kang, Jason Ji-Won Brandner, John Franklin, Diego Mojica
Theme: San Antonio Highway Renewal

Enhancing the pedestrian experience for the community by reclaiming lost and abandoned areas underneath the I-10/I-35 highway. With public intervention, we hope to connect neglected downtown San Antonio by creating a confluence of green spaces, art, culture, and recreational facilities.

Team 2
Nickname: Sun Lunna
Students: Jihye Kang, Ahyoung Oh, Nara Lee, Josiah Barrios, Emma Duncan

Reprogramming the city blocks between downtown San Antonio and UTSA’s downtown campus to integrate community engagement and to redraw the urban fabric that was bisected by the I-10 / I-35 interstate exchange.

We do this by connecting the reprogrammed “blocks” under the interstate into a series of architectural interventions tied together by a newly envisioned linear park.

A newly proposed high-speed vehicular tunnel would connect traffic exchange to avoid congestion downtown allowing for unique and community-oriented nodules to spring up around a more pedestrian-oriented downtown.

Team 3
Nickname: Crazy Long Hair
Students: Goeun Kim, Jeongmin Kim, Christian Dittmer, Victoria Gonzalez, Samuel Gonzalez
Theme: Mile Park

Mile Park is a community space that erases the barrier between downtown and the West Side by utilizing interstitial space with minimal intervention.

Through accessibility, playtime, cultural expression, university connections, and expansive green space, mile park creates a series of flowing experiences that strive for an interconnected San Antonio.

Team 4
Nickname: Festa (Chuk Jye)
Students: So Yun Munn, Changhee Jung, Elizabeth Martinez, Dana Martinez
Theme: Connect+

Our goal for the proposed master plan is to connect the existing UTSA downtown campus to the new campus.

Also, the existing I-10 / I-35 highway creates a noisy and uninviting environment for UTSA, residents, and visitors.

The plan is to build this highway underground to reinvent the existing freeway and its underpass.

This includes having a program for the new underpass that will engage the students and the surrounding community.

Additionally, the existing downtown campus will be directly connected to the new campus with proposed pedestrian promenades on Dolorosa and Nueva street.

Team 5
Nickname: Soochaehwah
Students: Chan Hee Jung, Jaeyoung Choi, Madison Stout, Kelsey Brown, Eva Martinez

Utilize existing structures to provide spaces for wellness and community engagement, with a focus on sustainable technologies and green spaces.

Through these spaces and improving pedestrian usage of the area through the bike and walking lanes, our goal is to foster connections between the near West Side and downtown communities.

Team 6
Nickname: Layers
Students: Eunbi Kim, Hyeran Lim, Elizabeth Salazar, Guadalupe Estrada, Gabriel Balderrama

Taking inspiration from modern Korean cities, the proposed development redirects a portion of I-10 and I-35 underground, adding housing, businesses, and social green spaces to the recycled freeway structure.

By encouraging travel via public transportation, walking, and biking, a number of issues are addressed, including traffic congestion, crime, pollution, and urban decay.

Our design aims to analyze and challenge traditional American transportation infrastructure to prepare for a growing population and sustainable future.