Reed Hilderbrand, SO – IL, and others to work on comprehensive plan to renovate San Antonio Botanical Garden campus

Nip in the Bud

Reed Hilderbrand, SO – IL, and others to work on comprehensive plan to renovate San Antonio Botanical Garden campus

San Antonio Botanical Gardens is starting on a comprehensive plan to improve visitor experience and address conservation needs. (Courtesy SABG)

San Antonio Botanical Garden holds a close relationship with both Texas history and its local ecology. Across its 38-acre campus are an authentic 1850s East Texas log cabin and an 11-acre garden with native vegetation that represents the three Texan ecosystems present in San Antonio. SABG recently announced a comprehensive plan to usher in a new chapter that considers the garden’s historical legacy. The nonprofit organization has tapped Reed Hilderbrand to lead the design for the project, which aims to improve the visitor experience and address conservation needs across the site through restoration efforts and new initiatives.

The comprehensive plan will total $8.3 million and will take 10 to 15 years to realize. Over the next year, Reed Hilderbrand will work alongside San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Board of Directors and president and CEO Katherine Trumble to develop the plan further. SABG and Reed Hilderbrand plan to host informational sessions within the community as part of the renovation process.

Plants and pathways
The gardens are looking to address biodiversity. (Courtesy SABG)

Established in 1980 and located in the center of San Antonio, SABG has long dedicated itself to “enriching lives through plants and nature,” as it states in its mission statement. Last year, SABG welcomed nearly 400,000 visitors to its gardens, which also includes research and conservation facilities.

“We dream of gardens,” said Beka Sturges, principal and partner of Reed Hilderbrand, in a statement. “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.”

Joining Reed Hilderbrand and SABG on the long-term project are a number of local experts and nationally recognized consultants and partners. Among these, preservationist and equity strategist Monica Rhodes— a sixth-generation Texan herself.

Man looks at lake
The plan will take 10 to 15 years to realize. (Courtesy SABG)

Texas-based ecologists Blackland Collaborative, led by John Hart Asher, will take a deep look at the garden’s plant and animal life. The firm previously worked with Reed Hilderbrand on another Texas project, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center.

SO – IL will offer its architectural experience in the renovation of existing garden facilities, such as the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, a series of pyramidal greenhouses that opened on the site in 1980. The New York–based firm will also work on new designs.

Other collaborators include consultants that will address economic, sustainability, grounds management, and engineering needs: James Lima Planning & Design, Thorton Tomasetti, Tim Marshall/ETM Associates, and San Antonio’s Pape Dawson. San Antonio– and Austin-based LAND will consider ways the visitor experience can be upgraded in terms of identity and wayfinding.