NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, will not only be the first-ever inland surf park in North America, it will be yet another uniquely complex project in Rider Levett Bucknall’s portfolio.
The property and construction consultancy firm has worked on the world’s top resorts and sports project.
NLand Surf Park, set to open Spring 2016, is a first-of-its-kind surfer’s playground that poses a myriad of construction challenges that require cost-saving design and water management strategies for the 113-acre park.
RLB’s Austin office, led by project manager Don Miller, is serving as project manager and design coordinator for NLand Surf Park. The firm originally provided budgeting services and went on to serve as design coordinator, ensuring designs meet certain cost-saving criteria, in a full owner’s representative role.
The revolutionary park will feature a lagoon approximately the size of nine football fields with eleven surfing areas and proprietary Wavegarden technology that will create one-foot, four-foot, and perfectly tubing six-foot waves.
The project scope includes building the main lagoon, building its proprietary equipment foundation, and constructing a pier and boardwalks.
“We are delighted to serve NLand Surf Park on this intensely complex project,” stated Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall North America. “Our experts have participated at every level of the development and we look forward to helping make this exciting park a reality.“
The lagoon is self-sustaining and will be filled with water only once. The entire site has been shaped so that rainwater channels into the reservoir.
To further minimize water loss and cost, the lagoon bathymetry was designed via computer modeling to create perfect waves.
NLand founder and CEO Doug Coors remarked, “We designed the park to tread lightly on the land and all its resources, especially water. Even in the most challenging drought conditions, we will be capable of operating the lagoon with only rainwater.”
Firm applies strategic tactics to solve budget, building codes, and design issues
NLand Surf Park is a private investment using no taxpayer dollars. Rider Levett Bucknall reprioritized the project schedule and budget – so that the lagoon can function and the park can begin generating revenue as soon as possible – and mitigated cost over-run risks.
This includes ensuring the proper phasing, that wave equipment testing occurs, and that the park’s entrance and parking are prioritized for completion. Cost-saving design strategies include designing out poured-in-place concrete pier supports from the support and amenity building design and replacing them with gravel and pavers, allowing the foundation supports to move as they would on a natural beach and waterfront.
To enhance sustainability initiatives, Rider Levett Bucknall suggested an on-site nursery and the substitution of drought tolerant native species for invasive non-native plants. “We view NLand as a long-term, long-vision project,” said Miller “The trees, plants, and sod will grow in naturally over time, reducing initial landscaping costs. Removing invasive non-native plants and replacing them with drought tolerant native species will also reduce water consumption.”