Gensler tapped for design and construction of the $7.5 million sculptural white steel structure
AUSTIN, TX. January 10, 2018 – Hilton Austin today announced it will open a new overhead walkway that will connect the hotel’s sixth floor to the fourth floor of the Austin Convention Center at E. 4th and Neches streets. The walkway, expected to be complete May 2018, will provide a seamless and safer alternative for guests to move from the convention center to Hilton Austin versus crossing at street level. The project also includes an 1,891 square-foot outdoor terrace that will be located off the sixth floor on the west side of the hotel.
“Over the last two years, we have invested heavily in transforming the inside of Hilton Austin, including a full renovation of the hotel’s lobby, public areas and meeting space, as well as the launch of two new restaurant concepts and a Starbucks®,” said Robert Watson, general manager, Hilton Austin. “Now, we are moving outdoors. The new overhead walkway will not only offer our guests a convenient access point to the hotel, but will also provide an architectural marvel to downtown Austin.”
The bottom of the walkway will hover 49 feet 8 inches above E. 4th Street. The sides will be stainless steel wire mesh, and the perforated roof panels will soar 24 feet from the bottom of the structure to the top. The walkway itself will consist of charcoal gray cementitious planks. Lighting will make the structure glow at night and the vertical tubes and silhouettes of people crossing from one building to the other promise a lovely play of shadows. The construction cost of the 116-ton Hilton Austin Overhead Walkway is $6.5 million. The total cost is estimated at $7.5 million.
“When you use the Hilton Austin Overhead Walkway you’re reconnecting to the outdoors. You can step outside, linger in the fresh air, then step into your next meeting,” said Travis Albrecht, senior project designer at Gensler, who was inspired, in part, by the master plan vision for Waller Creek and Waterloo Park, for his design.
Gensler faced challenges in designing the new bridge, including connecting two buildings with a connection point that had a height difference of 11 feet between floors. The design features a zigzagging ramp, required to provide an accessible route to accommodate all users, and will become a focal point in the skyline as people circulate back and forth. The 232,000 pound, clean-lined, open, and airy structure will provide a beautiful view of the Austin skyline and nearby park at Brush Square.
The Hilton Austin Pedestrian Walkway team includes Gensler, Architect; Walter P. Moore, Structural Engineer; Encotech, MEP Engineer; Consort, Civil Engineer; Fisher Marantz Stone, Lighting Designer; and JE Dunn Construction, General Contractor.