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Raised Expectations
Overcoming Complications at a Famed Site

by Landscape Architecture by Linda Tycher and Associates

Raised Expectations

This mixed-use, multi-family residence in San Antonio, Texas, was developed along the renowned River Walk by Alamo Manhattan, which chose Linda Tycher and Associates to oversee the landscape architecture. This project was designed with all the outdoor residential amenities, such as the pool, facing the river, which was a challenge because of the San Antonio River Authority's strict guidelines for flood control. To surmount this challenge, the entire amenities deck was put up on piers. The stairs up to the deck are illuminated with neon linear flex LEDs on their risers.

Receiving an opportunity to work on a project connected to the historic River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, does not come often. For Linda Tycher and Associates, a landscape architectural design firm with a 40-year track record, that opportunity was provided by Alamo Manhattan, a Dallas based real estate company focused on developing mixed-use multifamily properties in core urban markets around the country.

The two companies have worked together before and are currently collaborating on two projects in Portland, two in Dallas and one in Seattle. For their upcoming multi-family development, which is known by the name Jones & Rio, Alamo Manhattan selected Linda Tycher's firm to create an exciting and fulfilling outdoor setting for its residents.

"We have a whole list of amenities that we try to give these urban infill projects," Tycher relates. "Many of the people that occupy these spaces are professionals and they work during the day, and use these amenities at night, so lighting is considered on every aspect."

Raised Expectations

Linda Tycher and Associates likes to add trellises to projects - this one is on the rooftop - and then use shielded bronze downlights on their columns to light the walking surfaces.

Looking Back
Conceived in 1938 by a local architect, Robert Hugman, the San Antonio River Walk was built by the the Works Progress Administration, better known as the WPA, which began construction of the project in 1939 and completed it in 1941.

The now famous site is a network of walkways one story below street level with towering bald cypresses along its route, and craftsmanship that heralds local materials, history, and culture.

Raised Expectations

The illumination from the downlights on the trellis columns are supplemented with the light emanating from the interior and the city skyline, which glows through glass panel railings.

This particular project is located in San Antonio's River North neighborhood near the San Antonio Museum of Art. The property is sited on a bend in the river giving it two sides of river frontage within walking distance to the Pearl Brewery and downtown San Antonio.

Moving Forward
The goal of the landscape architectural design of Jones and Rio was to draw inspiration from the river and provide user amenities that interacted with the river by locating them on the side of the multifamily development facing the river.

Raised Expectations

One of the overall concepts of the lighting design was to appeal to passersby on the River Walk. For this reason, LEDs in the low Kelvin range (2000K - 3000K) were specified throughout the project. The street lights in this photo are part of the existing city's infrastructure.

But this desire produced a major design challenge as it conflicted with the San Antonio River Authority's strict guidelines regarding flood control.

To satisfy these municipal requirements, the entire community amenities deck, which contains an infinity saltwater pool, linear fire pit, high-tech fitness lounge, river viewing seating areas, bar/grill/dining area, and tile clad waterfall, was designed to be built on piers and elevated on a steel deck. In this manner of planning, the existing contours of the banks of the San Antonio River are preserved.

Raised Expectations

Strings of festival lights augment the fire pit in illuminating this courtyard.

Planning for Evening Activities and Excursions
Night lighting was essential to take the outdoor useable space to the next level.

"Since we conceptualize the entire outside environment, we consider lighting integral to the design," states Tycher who typically specifies these four types of lighting: street lights, shielded bollards, shielded, adjustable down lights attached to structural columns and wall washes.

Raised Expectations

The turquoise tiled negative edge waterfall from pool is illuminated with lights in the basin that catches the water.

On this project, the swimming pool is internally illuminated with standard pool lights and its accompanying negative edge, turquoise glass-tiled waterfall is lit with underwater lights in its catch basin. The residential courtyard glows with festival lights and a fire pit. A rooftop courtyard that provides stunning views of the city features a cedar trellis with down lights on various seating areas. Bollards fill in where necessary on the rooftop and the pool deck. and decorative pedestrian street lights are strategically placed to help people navigate throughout the property.

Not only were the special amenities on the raised deck thoroughly illuminated, so too were steps cascading down to the river to a boat drop-off. This provides apartment tenants the opportunity to safely walk to and from their homes, the boat landing, the River Walk and on to its shops, restaurants, hotels, and venues.

Raised Expectations

The utility coordination plan show the placement of the bollards on the rooftop (upper left) and the neon linear flex LED on the steps (lower right).

"We have to be cognizant of Dark Sky ordinances, so when we use light fixtures and pedestrian light standards, they are shielded so they are not just throwing light up into the sky," Tycher says as a way of explaining one of her overall lighting concepts. "And although most of our lighting is LED, we like it to the warmer side," so she tells the lighting installation company to make the LEDs as "warm as possible."

Another overall goal of the lighting design is to delight the passersby on the River Walk.

"This project is all about the river," she summarizes. "How often do you get a chance to have an apartment on the River Walk. So the lighting being appealing from the river is incredibly important. This project has leased up amazingly well."

As seen in LASN magazine, April 2019.


July 19, 2019, 2:45 pm PDT

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