(SAN ANTONIO, TX) – The Alamo Management Committee and Alamo master planner Dr. George C. Skarmeas with Preservation Design Partnership, LLC presented the first round of master plan concepts in a B-Session meeting of the San Antonio City Council. The intent of the Alamo master plan is to improve the visitor experience at the historic Alamo mission by redesigning the Alamo complex and surrounding area to tell the 300-year story of the site: from the pre-colonial period to initial construction of the mission in 1724, to the world renowned Texas revolutionary Battle of 1836, to the present day and its role in the evolution of San Antonio. The proposed strategies and planning concepts will be developed further over the next several months and a final master plan is expected to be ready in late May of 2017.
CLICK HERE to see a video of the meeting.
CLICK HERE to see the PowerPoint presentation.
“We have stated very often that this is one of the most complex projects that we have seen, one that combines the thoughtful treatment of a world famous historic site, an urban design intervention in the middle of thriving metropolis and a destination that attracts visitors from around the world,” said Skarmeas. “Since April, our team has undertaken an immense amount of historical, archaeological and analytical work around the site. As we always say, the site and the buildings will always give us the right answers, if we listen carefully. And there are compelling ideas that emerge logically from the site which we should consider seriously. This is the beginning of the next phase of discussion, the creation of planning concepts. We are looking forward to receiving feedback from the public and all major stakeholders, as we continue our work.”
The first four proposed Alamo master plan key concepts are supported by a series of proposed tactics and strategies listed below:
Recapture the historic footprint of the Alamo.
Recreate the historic experience of visiting the Alamo by guiding the visitor through one entrance point, the historic South Gate.
Create a sense of place and enclosure with transparent barriers that facilitate views of the Alamo courtyard and aid the visitor interpretation of the site.
Open the 1936 garden to give the public access to a beautiful urban park that also includes a First Amendment area.
Reclaim the plaza courtyard and create a sense of reverence and respect on the historic battlefield.
Close Alamo Street to vehicular traffic from Commerce Street to Houston Street and close Crockett Street from Losoya Street to the Menger Hotel.
Relocate the Cenotaph to a more appropriate location nearby.
Recapture the essence of the historic landscape by re-introducing historic elements, such as acequias
Build a new world-class Visitor Center and Museum.
Maintain and renovate the facades of the Crockett, Woolworth, and Palace buildings.
Repurpose the interior to build a world-class museum and interpretive center over four floors – a basement, three floors, and a rooftop garden.
Utilize new technologies to interpret the site and produce a unique visual representation of the site over its 300-year history.
Relocate existing businesses to a nearby entertainment district or a comparable location.
Create greater connection to the rest of downtown San Antonio.
Create a new linear park east of Alamo Street between Commerce and Market Streets.
Transform the visitor experience by creating a more dramatic approach that begins at Commerce Street and continues north along a landscaped pedestrian-only paseo to the South Gate entrance to the original Alamo compound.
Locate the Cenotaph in the new Commerce Street linear park, a more appropriate and highly visible location with historic significance to the Battle of the Alamo.
“As a community with a shared love for the Alamo, we all agree that this place deserves reverence and respect and these proposed concepts are the first step to reach that goal,” said Alamo Management Committee Chairman Gene Powell. “By removing noisy traffic and realigning the site so that people understand how the original mission footprint and battlefield once looked, we will create a place where people can reflect and remember all that has happened here. The Alamo has been crying out for this change for well over 100 years and it is now time to make that a reality.”
The Alamo master plan team will hold a public meeting in early 2017 to present these and additional concepts and strategies for the public’s feedback. The public is invited to review the concepts and provide feedback through the website, ReimagineTheAlamo.org or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The conversation will also continue on the Reimagine the Alamo Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.
“This is the beginning of an important discussion with the community,” said Councilman Roberto Treviño. “Now that we’ve presented these first big concepts we will work closely with nearby businesses, civic groups and Alamo stakeholders to work through the details to determine the best possible outcome for the city. Following through with these ideas and showcasing the Alamo in its historic context will change the way people experience and understand the Alamo, and that change has been a long time coming.”
“With the announcement of the key concepts of the master plan we conclude yet another exciting chapter in the story of the Alamo,” said Commissioner George P. Bush. “As the Master Plan Committee works meticulously to discover and design, the community of support is growing larger as we begin to see what is possible. We are all unified in one goal – reimagining this historic space as a place of reverence and community spirit. We are able to envision a grander landmark with an impressive museum and room to tell the entire Alamo story – this will help visitors understand why this remarkable place was worth dying for and how it came to be the Cradle of Texas Liberty.”
“This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the historic heart of our city,” said San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor. “I’m excited by the concepts we’ve seen so far, in particular the opportunities to build connections to other downtown landmarks and to help visitors understand the true history of the Alamo. I look forward to continued discussion with the community and Alamo stakeholders as we expand and refine these ideas.”
About the Alamo Master Plan Governance
On October 15, 2015, the Texas General Land Office, the City of San Antonio and the private Alamo Endowment signed a Cooperative Agreement to fund and oversee the development of a new master plan and the implementation of that plan for the Alamo Historic District and Alamo Complex. The process is managed by the Alamo Management Committee, which consists of two representatives each from the three entities. Alamo Management Committee members currently include: Councilman Roberto Treviño and City Manager Sheryl Sculley representing the City of San Antonio; Deputy Commissioner Anne Idsal and Alamo Preservation Project Manager Kim Barker, representing the Texas General Land Office; and Ramona Bass and Gene Powell, representing the Alamo Endowment. Powell serves as Chairman of the Committee. The Alamo Management Committee receives input and advice from the Alamo Advisory Group, comprised of state and local elected officials and representatives, and by a Citizens Advisory Group comprised of 26 people appointed by the Mayor, City Council and the GLO. The Texas Land Commissioner and Mayor of San Antonio serve as the Executive Committee, providing executive management oversight for the master plan.
About the Alamo Master Planner
The Principals of the Preservation Design Partnership, LLC (PDP) bring to this project over 50 years of combined experience in heritage planning, design and architecture gained on iconic and complex projects throughout the U.S., including Independence Hall, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Virginia State Capitol and President Lincoln Cottage and Visitor Education Center.
Led by nationally recognized thought leader, architect and planner, Dr. George C. Skarmeas, and Managing Principal and preservation architect, Dominique M. Hawkins, PDP is working in collaboration with San Antonio-based Fisher Heck Architects, Heritage Landscapes, Rialto / Grupo De Diseño Urbano and more than a dozen other consultants including historians, engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners to develop a visionary approach to the master plan, one that tells the entire 300-year history of the site.