Seaholm Intake Adaptive Reuse Competition

The Seaholm Intake facility is an iconic Art Deco design and once was the pumphousefor the Seaholm Power Plant. The City-owned re- tired power generation facility was designed by Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co.andbuiltof cast concrete in two phases in 1950 and 1955. Seaholm Intake is part of that overall structure. The Seaholm Power Plant represents a strong civic presence in the cityscape of down- town Austin and showcases a unique period of American Art Deco municipal architecture and Public Works engineering. Seaholm operated as a power plant until 1989.


In 1996, Austin City Council authorized the decommissioning of the plant and all the associated buildings, in preparation for future adaptive re-use. The Seaholm Intake Facility is located on the banks of Lady Bird Lake and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Lady Bird Lake is a flood control lake created from the Colorado River by the City of Austin. During its creation decades of old bridges and structures which were covered over now lie on the lake floor. Amongst the debris are exposed rebar and concrete lying only four feet below the surface in some areas, thus creating an unpredictable and dangerous environment for the boaters and swimmers who enjoy the lake.


It is time to make the lake safe to human activity. This project for a competition proposes cleaning the bottom of the lake in this area to make it suitable for swimming and creates a public bathing facility on the lake. Floating wetlands will begin the process of revitalizing the eco systems of the lake. The lowest level of the facility is in the flood plain. This level of the structure is opened to provide additional covered bathing facilities and showers, bike racks, and recreational rentals for swimmers, boaters, cyclists, and runners using the adjacent the trail system.


The main floor is converted into a cafe and the roof is converted into an intimate music venue with dramatic views overlooking the lake. The roof canopy is constructed with Onyx PV solar glass providing the electrical power to support the new uses. In its new manifestation the Intake Facility con- tinues to support energy generation, this time clean energy from the sun, and is also instrumental to the revitalization of Lady Bird Lake.


​RM Sovich Architecture, Baltimore Architects creating places that stimulate the intellect, touch the emotions, and engage the senses.

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