Mueller is an urban, mixed-use community that emerged as the result of the redevelopment of the decommissioned Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. RVi has played a critical role throughout the community’s development and in the design of over 140 acres of parks, trails, and open space, including Mueller’s newest addition, Jessie Andrews Park.
Named after the first female educator at the University of Texas, Jessie Andrews Park is the latest to join the lineup of unique neighborhood parks at Mueller. Themed after classic creature movies of the 50s and 60s, Jessie Andrews Park features an interesting mix of textures, colors, and patterns; its crowning jewel, however, is Ocho, the enormous 20-foot octopus that sits perched atop the restroom building. This steampunk-style sculpture was designed in collaboration with nationally acclaimed Texas artist Dixie Friend Gay and is part menacing monster, part Jules Verne creation ready to engulf its next prey!
Manufactured locally by Lars Stanley and Blue Genie, Ocho is composed of hand bent steel, laser-cut sheet metal, and high-density foam. Ocho is brought to life by color-shifting paint and LED lights behind the eyes, giving it that undersea glow and making the piece inviting both day and night. The building, designed by Studio 8 Architects, also includes large steel doors with riveting, reminiscent of a hatch in a submarine, and a “mermaid door” that adds a bit more whimsy. Ocho marks Dixie’s third installation at Mueller; her other works on display include Arachnophillia, situated in the Southwest Greenway near Berkman Drive, and Nessy, located in the Aldrich Street pedestrian paseo near to the Mueller Lake Park, two parks RVi also had a hand in creating.
Running parallel with Philomena Street, the 0.75-acre Jessie Andrews Park features a variety of design elements that not only encompass Mueller’s vision to create a walkable and sustainable community but to also create a vibrant, distinctive park for all to enjoy. The east side of the park is designed with more urban, active activities in mind as it runs along the more dynamic Philomena Street. This area is reminiscent of linear parks found across New York City, and features allee of trees, large picnic tables and string lights for gathering, as well as gaming tables for backgammon, chess, and checkers. The west side of the park tells a different story, however. Here, the approach is more organic, and the soft edges create a free-flowing landscape that includes a large open space lawn, meandering path, tree groves, park benches, and playscape.
Jessie Andrews Park is officially set to open to the public next month, so be sure to get out and explore this new gem for yourself!