Heron Creek Restroom


Mell Lawrence Architects was selected for the Heron Creek restroom design because of their deep sense of place. They design a space for the rituals and the physicality of each structure’s use. The firm has a passion for merging the realities of everyday life with the architectural principles of light, art, and sustainability. For them, nature’s organized spontaneity is a valuable inspiration.

Located along the running trail of Lady Bird Lake, the Heron Creek Restroom facility responds to the unique conditions of its environment. The site is both field and forest, shaded by dappled light in the summer and graced with urban views through bare branches in the winter. Scaled to the surrounding landscape, the two structures are pulled apart and oriented to the axis of the solstice and the last length of Barton Creek across the lake.

The buildings are a simple composition of raw steel and concrete that will patina over time. Subtle shifts in geometry differentiate the structures and give them a sense of personality. Large steel plates suspended on a light frame form the tent like building shell. The open air construction is durable while maintaining a sense of playfulness. The textured board-form concrete accentuates the passage of shadows across its surface, while the steel frame inside draws the eye up towards openings in the roof that allow for a view of the tree canopy and sky.

The project team included: architect, Mell Lawrence Architects; general contractor, Balfour Beatty; structural and architectural steel fabricator: Sarabi Studio, civil engineers: Big Red Dog; project manager: Ross Anders.


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