Jon Ahrens, owner of Madrone LDC, a landscape architecture firm that takes advantage of nature and the land’s natural topography to design and construct its projects, was awarded a 2010 Honor Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (TX ASLA) for Chris Park in San Antonio.
TX ASLA recognized Ahrens, of Austin-based Madrone, at an awards banquet March 11 th in San Antonio for the Chris Park project. Ahrens’ award came in the Design: Constructed Projects Category, which recognizes site-specific works of landscape architecture and urban design. Chris Park, once part of a neglected industrial area, is now an inviting green space with a unique mix of plants, terrain and artwork. As envisioned by the client, the late Linda Pace, the park memorializes and celebrates her late son. It provides a playful yet calming escape from the city, improving the lives of locals while introducing environmental improvements. Chris Park is part of a larger mixed development project.
“We worked collaboratively with Linda Pace and several Pace Foundation artists to achieve the right mix of plants and contemporary art,” said Ahrens. “Our challenge was to convert an old industrial parking lot into a lush garden that would give back to the residents of San Antonio for decades to come.”
The judges, members of the Colorado ALSA Chapter, reviewed the entries based on design quality, functionality, context and environmental responsibility. Entries were also judged on relevance to the profession, the public and the environment; and design value to the client. According to a TX ASLA Award Committee chair, “T he Colorado jury loved the [Chris Park] story and the amount of thought that went into the creation of the spaces.”
Park highlights include Chris Hill, where a Natchez Mock Orange Tree blooms abundantly in Chris’ birth month of April, the entrance fountain with an intricately designed drainage system to ensure that water does not pond and kids can safely run about, and t he Starfield, where 55 LED light fixtures shine tiny blue lights into the nighttime sky and represent the constellations the day of Chris’ birth.