St. John Encampment Commons
This new park is at the heart of Highland’s rebirth as an environmentally and economically resilient educational campus and mixed-use development. Named for St. John’s Orphan Home, an African American school located on the site in the early 1900s, the park is transforming a section of the parking lot that used to engulf the former mall into a central gathering space and stormwater sponge. On a site with a long history of bringing Austin communities together, the park functions as part front yard, part classroom, part living room, part gallery, and part performance space. The design focuses on a thoughtful mix of art, technology, and lifestyle, with a large, flexible, programmable event lawn and pavilion at its center providing vital escape from the heat of the Texas sun.