2024 Jun 05

San Antonio Botanical Garden’s new agenda of innovation, ecology, and accessibility

San Antonio Botanical Garden appoints Reed Hilderbrand to lead a new comprehensive site plan.

San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABG) has appointed Reed Hilderbrand to lead a site-wide comprehensive plan that will begin this young organization’s next chapter. This work will reimagine the Garden’s features, structures, operations, and programming over the next ten to fifteen years, reflecting the growth of San Antonio as well as the urgent call for gardens everywhere to serve their communities in uncertain times. Goals in focus for this plan include world-class visitor experience, stellar educational offerings, critical efforts for conservation, and service to the community, Texas, and the nation. Principal Beka Sturges will lead the project in collaboration with Senior Associate Meg Griscom.

Reed Hilderbrand will develop the comprehensive plan through a year-long collaboration with the Board of Directors and President & CEO Katherine Trumble, building upon the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. A program of diverse engagement efforts, including community informational sessions across San Antonio, launched in April 2024. This places the design team and the Garden in conversations with employees, Board of Directors, neighbors, and members of the wider San Antonio community to shape a shared future.

“We dream of gardens,” says Beka Sturges, Principal and Partner of Reed Hilderbrand. “The San Antonio Botanical Garden is distinguished not only for its excellence in exhibitions and education but also by its important role as a community space. Shaped in dialogue with the Garden’s board and with voices from the community, this plan will propose the conditions that look to the future of that unique mission.”

The plan will also consider SABG’s architectural assets, including the 90,000 square-foot Lucile Halsell Conservatory that opened in 1988 to national and international acclaim. Acclaimed New York-based architects SO-IL, led by Florian Idenburg, will work with Reed Hilderbrand to study renovations to existing facilities like the Conservatory and to propose new designs needed to support the plan. Reed Hilderband and SO-IL are currently working together on the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA.

In addition to SO-IL (architecture), Rhodes Heritage Group (preservation and equity), and Blackland Collaborative (ecological restoration), a small suite of diverse consultants rounds out the planning team: James Lima Planning & Design brings economic strategy; Thorton Tomasetti brings sustainability strategy; operations planner Tim Marshall/ETM Associates will explore grounds management regimes; San Antonio’s Pape Dawson will provide civil and transportation engineering. Finally, San Antonio- and Austin-based LAND will contribute identity and way-finding design in support of accessible visitor experience tailored to the unique mission of San Antonio Botanical Garden of enriching lives through plants and nature.