Shifting Space by Brooke Bower

The Seaholm Intake building is located downtown Austin, Texas. It is a city-owned retired power generation facility that was designed by Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. in 1950. This landmark is built from casted concrete and the south facade looks onto Lady Bird Lake while the north side looks to Cesar Chavez Street, making this the perfect site for people to engage with given its central location.

This project explores the site of the historic Seaholm by designing an interior space to accommodate for the programs of a gym and an art gallery. To accommodate for the two programs, two mezzanine levels have been added to the interior structure as well as a main staircase and elevator that is designed to allocate for flow of movement between the programs. The added interior structural elements take inspiration from the existing structure to establish cohesion within all structural elements of the site. The juxtaposition between the two programs creates a unique opportunity for them to not only inhabit the same interior but also explore how they can interact and engage with one another.

Color is used as a tool for wayfinding and establishing the programs within the interior. The stimulating colors are reserved for high-energy and active areas. As one begins the journey down the stairs, the colors appear and one will discover slower-paced programs, such as gallery space, an individual stretch pod, or the locker rooms. The colors are used as an energy thermometer, getting cooler as one descends further down the stairs or elevator. The form of the colors act as a method of contrasting the existing structure (rigid and rectilinear) to create loose, free-flowing lines that “color outside the lines”.

Curtains are used as a tool to enhance and create a shift in space, atmosphere, and perspective within the interior. The curtain system can be used to separate the gym and gallery programs as well as open up to connect the spaces. The flexible use of curtains creates private or public space within the gym/gallery and can carve private, intimate moments within the large and massive scale of the existing structure while still protecting and respecting the historic integrity of the site.

Spring 2022 Design Excellence Award Winner

Brooke Bower
Interior Design Core 2
Instructor: Igor Siddiqui