Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects was selected to help create a new vision for the 12-acre property, said Louis Grachos, director of The Contemporary Austin, which, along with its Tarrytown location, also has an exhibit downtown. Grachos said Reed Hilderbrand stood out among many top architects internationally because of its past experience of working around historic structures—in this case, a 98-year-old, Italian-style villa.
"At this stage of our history, it's not just about building facilities," Grachos said, stressing that the villa and its many longtime gardens will remain intact. "We want to change how people experience the park."
Plans include repurposing the site to include a new sculpture park that will have a variety of permanent and temporary installations, he said. The master-planning process will take six to nine months, during which Reed Hilderbrand will team up with The Contemporary Austin to seek public input on how to best incorporate the site's natural amenities into a new design.
"We want to make Laguna Gloria the best art and nature experience we can make it," Grachos said.
The goal is to make Laguna Gloria a more ideal site for The Contemporary Austin's educational and public outreach efforts, he said.
The museum's goal is to also create a complementary site for artists interested in hosting both an indoor exhibit downtown at The Jones Center and an outdoor site at Laguna Gloria—all for the price of one admission, Grachos said.
"We feel we could become a major destination not just for Austin but statewide," he said.
For more information, visit www.thecontemporaryaustin.org.