In the summer of 2017, a design competition was sponsored by the American Institute of Architects for the re-design of the Entry Plaza to San Antonio’s City Hall to create accessibility. Beaty Palmer Architects’ design was chosen as the winning entry from a total of 22 submittals by San Antonio design firms.
In 2018, Beaty Palmer was commissioned by the City of San Antonio to make this concept a reality, and technical design is now underway. Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2020.
The design concept is based on the twin principles of providing accessibility for all while integrating the design into the historic fabric of the existing architecture and mature planting.
Two broad sloped walkways, extending from the southeast and northeast corners of the site diagonally to the central main entry, are carefully inlaid between 8 existing mature trees. The corners of the site are where most pedestrians approach City Hall and, as such, these new walkways will likely become the primary access route for the disabled and able-bodied alike. The ground plane around the walks is raised in a gentle slope to integrate the new construction into the site and to diminish its visual impact. The geometry and symmetry of the historic stair up to the building’s entry is reproduced in a new stairway which, in turn, interlocks with a new circular plaza space.
To preserve the historic integrity of City Hall, the new design elements are subtle in appearance and classically symmetrical in form. New construction and landscape are organized to frame and draw attention to the existing building and mature vegetation. The existing symbolic functions of City Hall, its material palette, and its architectural style are all carefully considered and interwoven into the design.