SAN ANTONIO, TX
Near the convergence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, Confluence Park transforms a former industrial laydown yard into a destination for learning and recreation. The park includes an education/restroom building, ecotype demonstration plantings and an inviting gateway to hiking and biking trails along the Mission Reach portion of the San Antonio River. The most striking features of the park are the arching concrete pavilions that rise from the ground in the abstracted form of flower petals. These bold forms cluster together to provide pools of shade in the park, and by funneling rainwater into underground storage, they are the most visible of the park’s interactive teaching tools.
A site-wide rainwater catchment system collects and filters rainwater using low impact development (LID) features. The site was shaped and sloped to direct most surface runoff to swales where plants filter the water, or directly toward a basin, where pollutants are filtered out through settling. Porous paving onsite allows water to filter through a sand layer, then into underground storage. The visible reservoir holds some 150,000 gallons of water, while an engineered structure underground holds 130,000 gallons. The system provides irrigation water site-wide and the non-drinking water needs in the restrooms.
The ecotypes represented in distinct planting areas at the park include grasslands, live oak savannah, riparian and Trans Pecos. A Texas oak conservatory gathers different species native to the entire state in one grove where they can be compared. Graphic and colorful planting gestures throughout the park show the aesthetic richness of native plants.