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Limited-Edition Creek Monster Doll Scares Up Awareness for Austin’s Waller Creek Redevelopment

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    The Creek Show logo was designed by Pentagram with an illustration by artist Marc Burckhardt.
The Creek Show logo designed by Pentagram with an illustration by artist Marc Burckhardt.

There is 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 that was designed to help raise awareness (and funds) for Creek Show, a series of landscape- and architecture-driven events that are happening at the site of a chain of future parks to be designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Thomas Phifer.

    Creek Show co-director Ingrid Spencer with a Creek Monster friend. © James Leasure
Creek Show co-director Ingrid Spencer with a Creek Monster friend. © James Leasure

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 Cottonmonster.com designed the monster, and White Star Manufacturing made the pattern and sewed the pieces.

Creek Show's interactive Waller Wall pavilion, designed and built by students from UT's Architecture School, debuted at SXSW Interactive. © James Leasure
Creek Show’s interactive Waller Wall pavilion, designed and built by students from UT’s Architecture School, debuted at SXSW Interactive. © James Leasure
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Creek Show’s interactive Waller Wall pavilion, designed and built by students from UT’s Architecture School, debuted at SXSW Interactive. © James Leasure

“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.

Thoughtbarn's High Water Mark is a manifestation of an invisible line that will soon be erased—Waller Creek’s 100-year floodplain. Sitting approximately 20 feet above typical water levels in the creek, the floodplain has stunted growth within 28 acres of downtown for decades. High Water Mark  will make tangible a fragment of this disappearing floodplain, with a compelling 100-foot long installation of fluid EL wire, suspended above the creek at and under the 7th bridge is a hidden gem of spectacular double curvature stonework, and High Water Mark will offer  a chance to see it illuminated. Rendering courtesy Thoughtbarn
Thoughtbarn’s High Water Mark is a manifestation of Waller Creek’s 100-year floodplain that has stunted growth within 28 acres of downtown for decades. High Water Mark will represent this disappearing floodplain with a 100′-long installation of fluid electroluminescent wire suspended above the creek under the 7th Street bridge that will illuminate the structure’s double curvature stonework. Rendering courtesy Thoughtbarn.
Design Workshiop's Flow is a kinetic installation that aims to capture and reveal wind patterns within the Waller Creek  corridor, while providing shade and shadows. Strategically located on each side of 6th horizontal tapestries will emulate the flow, rhythm, and surface of the creek at the 6th level, allowing for automobiles and pedestrians to view and interact with the piece. Up-lit from  below, the lightweight tapestries will change color, creating an ever-changing landscape for  humans to interact with and investigate.
Design Workshop’s Flow is a kinetic installation that aims to reveal wind patterns within the Waller Creek corridor, while providing shade and shadows via horizontal tapestries. Up-lit from below, the lightweight tapestries will change color. Rendering courtesy Design Workshop.
Burton Baldridge Architects Tracing the Line is an interactive and ephemeral installation that is neither landscape nor  architecture, but encourages participants to trace a portion of the creek, and urges us all to  contemplate the potential and future of the Waller Creek redevelopment. An orchestrated event  that highlights a section of the creek’s untapped spatial and social potential, Tracing the Line  consists of a series of large round latex balloons, each containing an ultra-bright LED, suspended  on approximately 10 foot centers at a single chosen datum—close to the level of the creek on the  north end and above the street level at the south. Although the views within the creek are often  obscured, the winding line of airborne lanterns should become increasingly visible as the evening  progresses into night, from the north side of 6th  Street, to the south side of 9th
Burton Baldridge Architects’ Tracing the Line is an interactive installation that consists of a series of large round latex balloons, each containing an ultra-bright LEDs. Although the views within the creek are often obscured, the winding line of airborne lanterns should help it become increasingly visible as the evening progresses. Rendering courtesy Burton Baldridge Architects.

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

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