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Initiative Hopes To Cast Cool Shade On Toasty Downtown San Antonio

designs for shade-producing shelters

San Antonio's got a problem, and the city is looking for some help to solve it. So what’s the problem? Torrey Stanley Carleton said it’s a lack of shade downtown.


"Shade is something that everyone deserves access to. It encourages people to walk and leave their car behind," she said.

Carleton is Executive Director of San Antonio's American Institute of Architects, and she said in years past, the city's downtown area used to be a lot shadier. Most every building had awnings and canopies.


Shade-casting design

"Through time those canopies have been lost. And so now we have pedestrians walking in full sun," she said. 

So the AIA, Centro San Antonio and the City of San Antonio have devised a competition to create new structures to provide shade.

"The competition challenges Texas architects to identify an artistic and practical concept for a shade structure that can be implemented by the City of San Antonio,” Carleton said. “So we're looking for innovation in how to shade San Antonio streets."

The competition is now closed, but entrants needed to meet several stipulations on fitting the structures into three archetypal downtown situations: two different kinds of sidewalk settings and one crossing a bridge.   

shade-casting design

"We have a dozen solutions that have been put forward by competitors. And we're asking the public to look at those solutions and comment on them."

The initial three designs are funded through Centro San Antonio and the city itself, but the long-term objective is to create designs for potentially hundreds of structures to be built throughout downtown. And winning designs are awarded prize money.

"The winning entry will receive a $10,000 prize. Second place is rewarded with $3,500. And the third place is a $1,500 prize," she said.

Winners will be announced late this fall, and the long-term goal is providing shade for 80% of downtown walkways.  

You can give input on the various designs here.


shade-casting design

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii