Waller Creek to Define Medical District

October 15, 2013

Waller Creek will be a defining feature of the new medical district.While facilities staffers are working with architects to program and design the first three buildings for the medical school, UT Austin leaders are meeting with community members to connect those buildings to the bigger picture.

The university’s Medical District Master Plan highlights many of the challenges and advantages of building on the 182-acre site on the northern edge of downtown. One of those challenges is Waller Creek.

The contours of the land and the flood plain mean that any construction needs to conform to a tight footprint. The opportunity is that Waller Creek will become a defining feature in the creation of a high-quality and welcoming environment for physicians, faculty members, researchers, students, patients and other visitors, with an immediate connection to campus and the rest of Austin.

"The medical district has the distinct advantage of a beautiful natural feature running the entire length of the campus," said Pat Clubb, vice president for university operations.  "The hospital, as well as the first buildings, will benefit from the views of this creek and the pedestrian and bike trails that can pull the creek into the actual landscape of the medical facilities. We are very fortunate to have Waller Creek as a primary feature in the overall design of the medical school.” 

Developing around Waller Creek also means planning for mobility improvements along San Jacinto Boulevard, which will become the main thoroughfare through the heart of campus as growth construction shifts east. The Medical District Master Plan calls for an additional bike path, additional trees along the street and wider walkways to help connect the main campus to the medical district.

And with any project this close to downtown, there are the Capitol view corridors to consider. Medical district construction will be affected by five view corridors. Architects Page Southerland Page are designing the first three buildings. Founded in Austin in 1898, the firm is the oldest architectural and interior design practice in Texas and one of the oldest in the United States. The firm also has extensive experience in health care and educational research building project.