In Austin, Fundraising for Future Parks

By Rita Catinella Orrell

There’s something scary going on along the banks of Waller Creek in Austin, Texas, but that’s a good thing. Meet the Creek Monster, a limited-edition plush mascot, designed to help raise awareness (and funds) for Creek Show, a series of landscape- and architecture-driven events at the site of a chain of future parks to be designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Thomas Phifer.

According to Creek Show co-director Ingrid Spencer, the Creek Show events have already starting happening, beginning with a wood installation called Waller Wall—a pavilion designed and built by students from UT’s Architecture School that debuted at SXSW Interactive. This installation and other Creek Show projects are designed to bring attention to the creek as it is now, as well as show that things are in the works for the 1.5 mile long site. “I gathered a group of talented individuals and firms, and they donated their time and efforts to come up with a series of cool projects,” says Spencer, who is also a contributing editor at Architectural Record magazine.

Working along with the support of the Waller Creek Conservancy, design firm Pentagram donated their services to create the Creek Show logo, while celebrated artist Marc Burckhardt donated an illustration for the cause. Jennifer Strunge of designed the monster, and White Star Manufacturing made the pattern and sewed the pieces.

“We liked the monster idea because Waller Creek right now is rather a mess, and like the High Line before its transformation, has its own derelict beauty,” says Spencer. “We are embracing the current state of the creek, and heralding the coming transformation.”

Creek Show currently has six installations in development, to be revealed at a big Creek Show party in November. Designers include landscape architects Jason Sowell and Hope Hasbrouck, landscape firm Design Workshop, and architecture firms Baldridge Architects, Legge Lewis Legge, and Thoughtbarn.

If you’d like to adopt a limited-edition Creek Show Monster, you’ll need to do it quickly. Only 50 have been made and 30 have already been sold so far. One can be yours for a $50 donation here.

Rita Catinella Orrell publishes a pair of design-oriented web sites, at Designy Things and Architect’s Toybox.

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