You can’t fully understand the growth of downtown Austin without understanding Capitol View Corridors — the invisible walls protecting views of the State Capitol dome from all over downtown and other parts of the central city. But the only way to really visualize these corridors outside of looking at a big PDF file is by using a custom Google Maps overlay, or a slightly fancier (if outdated) plugin for Google Earth. The ubiquitous effect of the CVCs but the relative lack of good imagery of their paths across downtown prompted local designer Miguel Segura to plot Austin’s state and local view corridors on top of a stunning 3D model of downtown he created as part of his work making marketing visualizations for developers like Riverside Resources.
We’re obviously nuts about this kind of stuff, so Miguel was kind enough to send us some high-res shots of his 3D model and even a short video taking a closer look. The image below is our favorite, since it includes a nice perspective of the completed Republic office tower — you can click all of these images for a much larger view:
If you look closely at these illustrations you can see how the CVCs shooting across downtown have shaped a number of buildings, which sort of duck out of their path — this is especially prevalent in west downtown, where towers like Fifth & West include a dramatic diagonal facade to carefully avoid the nearby view corridor. Miguel sent us a closer look at which buildings in this area are designed around CVCs:
When you see the view corridors illustrated in detail like this — yes, including the silly ones that only protect views of the Capitol for drivers on the highway — it really goes to show how these invisible beams created back in the 1980s ended up being hugely responsible for the current shape of downtown’s newer tall buildings.
For instance, the density of corridors over the eastern side of downtown protected a cluster of low-rise buildings around Red River Street, which now make up the live music-focused cultural district we know today. That’s a completely unintentional, but positive side effect of the CVCs that goes beyond just seeing a building, and this imagery helps us understand how profoundly they’ve shaped downtown. We could play around with this stuff all day, so cheers to Miguel for sending us such a pleasant distraction for our Friday — would any of our developer readers like to hire him for their next presentation to the Design Commission?