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    American Landscape Awards 2009

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Buffalo Bayou flows through downtown Houston, Texas, under a tangle of freeways and bridges on its way to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Landscape architects SWA Group reenvisioned a neglected 1.2-mile- (1.9-kilometer-) length of bayou front, transforming it into pedestrian-friendly parkland with improved floodwater conveyance.

    Their thoughtful approach to the Buffalo Bayou Promenade earned the top general design award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in its 2009 Professional Awards. The award recipients included a wide variety of public parks, private gardens, master plans, and communications projects from the United States and around the world.

    Houston Bayou Promenade

    SWA Group faced many challenges in creating a more usable public green link between Houston's downtown and the pastoral park to the west. Located well below grade, and poorly connected to the surrounding streets at the outset of the project, the 23-acre (nine-hectare) site weaves through a series of freeway structures, which block sunlight and shed sheets of water during rainstorms. Deposition of silt and trash is constant and erosion severe along this waterway that drains much of Houston.   >>>

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    The Buffalo Bayou Promenade project in Houston has prompted an increase in boating, kayaking, and canoeing, along with related small business opportunities.
    Photo: Tom Fox Extra Large Image

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    Steep slopes, overhead freeways and utilities, limited access points, and critical flood elevations were among the elements SWA took into account in designing the Buffalo Bayou Promenade.
    Photo: Tom Fox Extra Large Image

     

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