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Austin Design Week 2019: Where to find the placemakers

Recommendations for architecture freaks and city geeks

Corrugated metal building with open door and sign that says “Come Make Stuff” Via Austin Design Week

Now in its fourth year, Austin Design Week continues to build on its success with a larger and more diverse schedule of events than ever. The interdisciplinary exploration and celebration of designs and designers of all kinds and will include free workshops, studio tours, and events.

The theme of this year’s ADW is “Make Space,” which takes on a subject both perennial and utterly timely—particularly for Austin, which is scrambling to make space, in multiple ways, for all its new residents. Building off its previous themes, according to the ADW website, this year’s event will challenge designers with a proposition:

To make space requires us to not just create, but adapt. How do we remove barriers and set the conditions for everyone to work, live and thrive? What does it mean to build with intention for new ideas, for old ideas, for those who are frequently ignored and brushed aside? What spaces can we cultivate to learn, grow and center ourselves in equity as we continue to expand as a city, design industry and community?

ADW’s yearly lineup encompasses a wide variety of fields and subjects, which you can find in its 2019 schedule. Highlighted below are a few that look to provide insight into our city’s built environment, now and into the future. ADW starts Monday and is free and open to the public.

Monday, November 4

Reviving Lost Histories & Ecologies: Collaborative Design of an Urban Greenspace on Shoal Creek, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. With the help of members of design firm Asakura Robinson and the Shoal Creek Conservancy, gets participants will brainstorm about how to tell Austin stories through the design of public open space.

Disruptive Hotels—How Hotels Contribute to the Health of Development in Austin, noon-1:30 p.m. This should be fun: A discussion with Austin hospitality design leaders about “hotels, place-making, and community,” to take place in the Hotel San Jose courtyard.

Tuesday, November 5

All Are Welcome: How to Embed Inclusivity Into Healthcare Space, 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. A conversation about how designers, architects, interior designers, administrators, providers, and patients can move beyond design standards and foreground inclusivity.

Rethink Restroom Design, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. This inclusivity-focused session features a several impressive panelists and is illustrated with a photo of an all-gender Alamo Drafthouse bathroom, so points for that.

Wednesday, November 6

Tiny Hacker House Design Challenge, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. After a brainstorming session, participants will break into groups and take a shot at designing a tiny-home community, then learn how to design an advocacy program for it.

No Right to Make This, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Rios Clementi Hale Studios, designers of the future Drake Bridge Commons (an emerging public/community space under the First Street bridge), will lead an interactive session addressing community engagement in the design of public space. Bonus: There’s a VR component.

Thursday, November 7

The Role of Media Arts in Placemaking, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. City leaders in the arts will talk about interactive public art, civic engagement, and cultural exchange in Austin—the only U.S. place in the United States to be designated a UNESCO Creative City for Media Arts.

Friday, November 8

Make Space for Urban Silence Through an Interactive Art Installation, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. This activation by CITYSIT will feature hourlong sessions at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. in which participants will sit for 20 minutes and play for 40 minutes—which sounds like it could be personally challenging but illuminating, depending on the participant.