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Main Plaza
San Antonio, TX


Mark Rios
Frank Clementi
Samantha Harris
Chris Adamick


The Main Plaza landscape renovation was completed in 2007 and is now a heavily programmed public space located in the heart of the City of San Antonio. Main Plaza is framed by the 275-year old San Fernando Cathedral to the west and the historic City Courthouse to the south. The plaza itself was built in the late 1700s. During construction of the new landscape, old-growth red oak trees that had been providing deep shade in the plaza were damaged and subsequently died.

The Main Plaza Conservancy engaged Rios Clementi Hale Studios to design several canopies that would provide shade while young trees establish themselves. The canopy design needed to reflect San Antonio’s colorful cultural history as well as evoke the city’s rich artisan tradition while not impeding the view of the Cathedral from the Riverwalk portal.
The canopy’s design takes inspiration from San Antonio’s handmade tradition and multi-cultural history. A modern twist on a woven loom is married to the bi-partate form of historic trellises and archways. Each canopy creates about 800 square feet of shade by using colorful fabric bands woven together in an array of sculptural forms. The canopies provide visual interest that shifts depending on the location of the viewer, as well as beautiful shadow patterns that change with the location of the sun.

The project was recognized by the American Planning Association as one of 2010's Great Places in America: Public Spaces category.