[ Austin, Texas ]
2015 Design Award
Texas Society of Architects
2015 IDEAS2 Merit Award
American Institute of Steel Construction
2013 Overall Winner
ABJ Commercial Real Estate Awards
2013 Merit Award
AIA Austin Design Awards
Capturing the energy of Formula 1 racing in its iconic form, the 251 foot tall Observation Tower provides a dramatic focal point for the Circuit of the Americas and a new landmark for central Texas. The tower was conceived as a visual finale to the central Grand Plaza as well as a dramatic and memorable backdrop for the Tower Amphitheater concert venue at its base. Evoking the notion of split-second speed, the tower’s unique design anchors visitors’ experience of the complex, and fosters a sense of place that is essential to the circuit’s identity.
Inspired by the image of red streaks of glowing light that tail lights leave behind in the dark, a roof of red steel tubes fans out over the amphitheater stage then converges at the base of the tower to form a “veil” that sweeps up and over the central elevator core. The elevator core is wrapped by a double-helix stair and illuminated by LED lights capable of producing an unlimited number of color combinations.
To reach the top of the tower, visitors can either ride a high-speed elevator or climb up 428 steps to their destination. Seemingly suspended from the red pipe steel canopy is a viewing deck that offers a sweeping panorama of the entire track, downtown Austin, and the nearby Hill Country from an elevation of 230 feet. A portion of the floor is structural laminated glass, allowing more daring visitors to look straight down to the ground below their feet.
The tower embodies the sense of precision, lightness and sleek dynamism associated with racing. It captures the energy of the Circuit of the Americas and helps to establish the emerging identity of the complex as a world-class racing and events facility.