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LF30: 1996 Texas State Cemetery

In honor of Lake Flato’s thirtieth anniversary, the Thirty Projects x Thirty Years series has been developed to explore and celebrate the firm’s history and culture of design. Published bi-weekly, the series will highlight one project per year, starting in 1984 and ending in 2014.  The projects that have been selected will give you a snapshot of the firm’s evolution as well as provide a fun and insightful collection on then and now, and ultimately, who we are today.

"Show me the money!" became the anthem of the year in 1996.  Oprah was busy reading books, I was busy listening to Mariah Carey, and everyone was busy doing the Macarena; which was fine. . . because it was the 90s.   LF30: 1996 Texas State Cemetery Story by: David Lake The State Cemetery was Lake|Flato’s first State of Texas project and it involved all five state agencies and Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock who was addressed as “Governor” Bullock!!! The two city block state cemetery in Austin was long neglected with confederate graves,  state officials graves, and noteworthy Texans.  The master plan returned the site to the “rural” cemetery it once was by removing all but one central road and focusing site drainage into a crescent lake and taking the lake’s cut to create “Lone Oak Hill.” 96018_N39_medium The visitor center and burial services were placed in a long low wall building which hugs the west street to create security and a memorable entry through a breezeway.  An iconic marble archaic stone greets visitors.  The walls are built of old yellow limestone banded in grey leuders. The columbarium, a walled mausoleum, becomes the north boundary and is built of rusticated granite to match the base of the capitol with tapered walls.  The arcing gate of yellow roses is the ceremonial entry by hearse to the site.  At the end of this axial road is the circle of stones which honors all Texans not buried on site.  This ring of weathered marble came from San Saba.  This columbarium faces 12th Street which leads to the State Capitol. 96018_N30_medium 96018_N24_medium I believe this was Lake|Flato’s first visitor center, and we realized our dream to finally reduce “building” to WALL!!! I remember Robert Trinidad struggling to create a drawing of the arcing columbarium granite wall in concert with the sloping site – this may have been why he was adamant it go to computer drawing! 96018_N38_medium Governor Bullock was a force to be reckoned with.  One day we got a call from Texas Parks and Wildlife saying, “The Governor wants the flag pole to be as tall as the capitol dome, 350 feet.” This led to a meeting in the Lt. Governor’s office at the State Capital.  He was late to the meeting by 1-1/2 hours and kept five state agency directors nervously looking at me and shaking their heads . . . their funding was at risk! We suggested that the flag pole should be no taller than a moon tower (100 feet) and that lowering a flag from a 350 foot pole would require a regiment of patrolmen to fold the 100 foot flag.  After a long silence he said, “Hope it works out” and we avoided Texas’ tallest flag pole! 96018_N28_medium 96018_N20_medium

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