Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival—a week or so of music, film, and interactive events that draws thousands of visitors—has experienced ever-expanding scope creep since its small, loud beginnings in 1987. This year, architects got in the game, engaging the high-energy crowds with two noteworthy installations and one pop-up.
One, Waller Wall, was installed on the outdoor terrace of SXSW Create—a portion of the SXSW Interactive festival where hackers, makers, and DIY-ers held court with robots and 3-D printers while drones flew overhead. Created by architect Murray Legge’s Design 5 studio at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA), with support from the Waller Creek Conservancy, Waller Wall was the first of a series of installations planned to spotlight Waller Creek’s forthcoming transformation into an urban park by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer and Partners. The primary objective of the wall was to educate the public and create awareness about the value of the creek, which meanders for 1.5 miles in downtown Austin.