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HISTORIC SITES
Elisabet Ney Museum - Cultural Landscape Restoration Plan
Austin, Texas

Heritage Landscapes recently completed a Comprehensive Restoration Master Plan: Cultural Landscape Plan for Formosa, the Elisabet Ney Museum.  The firm’s phase 1 research in 1997 revealed a unique early Texas landscape of prairie and dry creek that was cherished by sculptor Elisabet Ney. The landscape treatment recommendations guide landscape restoration by removing volunteer and exotic vegetation and establishing prairie plants documented during Ney’s era.  Recommendations address storm water management by widening Waller Creek to capture and slow water during peak storm events, simultaneously achieving the historic character of Lake Ney.  Overall, the landscape restoration will shape a sustainable, historic landscape that showcases the principles of Ney’s Trancendentalist philosophy.

Phase 1 implementation of treatment recommendations is complete with the landscape restoration around the studio building and emergency waterproofing repairs. Construction documents and specifications for the landscape restoration include ADA access to the studio building, removal of invasive species and contemporary vegetation, prairie seeding, and restoration of the Ney-era vegetable garden and post and wire fence. The access ramp was designed without rails to avoid vertical visual interruptions. Restoration and implementation is returning the landscape to a condition that better reflects its significance and important history.

Formosa Vision for Historic & Ecological Landscape Restoration:

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The landscape of Formosa was characterized historically by native Texas prairie and simple rustic structures. Remnants of historic vegetation and Ney’s Ashe cedar fence remain as clues.
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Today, the Formosa landscape is tended with turf grass and ornamental trees and shrubs that obstruct views to Ney’s studio building.
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Ney dammed Waller Creek to create a peaceful and reflective pond on her property. She was required to breach the dam due to downstream flooding.
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Waller Creek today is narrow and channelized. High storm flows cause erosion along its banks and shape an opportunistic environment for invasive vegetation.
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The Formosa landscape restoration aims to recapture native grasses, spring ephemerals, open tree canopy and a wider reshaped Waller Creek that will evoke Lake Ney when at high water.
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A photographic simulation by Heritage Landscapes depicts proposed changes to the entrance with open views to the studio, Texas prairie, and the rebuilt cedar post and chicken wire fence.
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A second photographic simulation shows the Formosa landscape restored with open views from the streets and neighborhood, invasive vegetation removed, native oak and pecan trees retained and replanted and a wide, and dry Waller Creek bed that will fill temporarily during storm events.
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