The Sixth & Blanco project in Austin, Texas encompasses a full city block of mixed-use, infill development in the Sixth & Blanco Street district. Adjacent to downtown and the Colorado river, the project’s location - combined with the existing vernacular store fronts, notable restaurants, stores, galleries, generous tree-lined streets, and the walkable character of the surrounding Clarksville neighborhood - have made it one of Austin’s most desirable districts.
The challenge and potential of the project is to propose an architecture that takes key ingredients from its surrounding context and distributes them throughout a dense yet permeable program: generous greenery, passively-cooled indoor/outdoor spaces, an active neighborhood storefront and the use of a materials palette aligned with the historic fabric.
The project fills the site with a continuous horizontal wooden structure. An urban carpet of shops and restaurants occupy the full ground floor, offices the second floor, a hotel on the third floor and residences on the fourth and fifth floors. From a pedestrian vantage point, the building is perceived as a series of two-story structures organized around planted courtyards. The project steps back from the street and decreases in density as it grows taller, allowing for a network of exterior circulation spaces with gardens, courtyards and porches on all levels. The project brings a human scale and a sense of domestic comfort to all - instead of a singular uniform gesture, the project is a complex sum of its many individual parts.
Herzog & de Meuron, July 2022