In an area of the city rich with history, Austin’s Montopolis neighborhood is taking a step into the future – while nodding to the past – with the new Montopolis Recreation Center. Completed in August 2020, the facility is the centerpiece of the community, serving as a central gathering and activity space and a gateway to the Montopolis neighborhood.
Our design team worked in concert with the City of Austin Public Works Department, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Health and Human Services Department. This facility includes individual and group training areas, a gymnasium for basketball and volleyball, an elevated jogging track, group exercise rooms and, most notably, an exercise room with a boxing ring – a sport of great importance to the Montopolis neighborhood for decades.
The site plan makes great effort to preserve the existing trees with particular emphasis on the protected trees and heritage trees surrounding the new building. To achieve this, the building is set back farther from the street than would be typical, staying out of the trees’ critical root zones. An added benefit is the creation of a shaded public plaza which will provide a venue for community events.
The scale of the new building has been designed to complement and not overwhelm its neighborhood context. The community was surveyed early in the design process to identify the characteristics they would like to see the facility embody. Through its materiality and reserved integration into the site, the design displays the relaxed, unpretentious attitude the community sought, while special elements like the gym, the multipurpose rooms and the boxing center display a more adventurous and energetic form.