The studio examined in detail the confluence of the Buffalo Bayou whose modest headwaters in Katy, Texas dramatically expand to accommodate the Houston Ship Channel with the sequence of bays that comprise Galveston Bay. The Houston Ship Channel on an average day in 2013 provided transport for 38 tankers, 22 freighters, a cruise ship, 345 towboats, 6 public vessels, 297 ferries, 25 other transits, and 75 ships in port. As a subject the confluence provides studio participants opportunities to both expand and hone representation skills through mapping an analytical exercises. The mapping and analytical exercises form the foundation for quantitative evaluation and the design interventions which will conclude the semester’s studios activities. The comprehensive design project will engage the extremes of this active water way. The proposal for an estuarine education center for the region will engage re-forestation, flood water absorption and regional connectivity.
The Project: Save the Bay
‘Save the Bay’; a community based organization, has decided to develop an ‘Explore the Bay Center’ in Houston, Texas, overlooking Burnet Bay. The mission of ‘Save the Bay’, is to improve the ecological health of Bay through the mediation or elimination of major pollution sources, improving regulatory oversight and enforcing the Clean Water Act. They see the challenge as a more general need to heighten awareness of the subtle and complex environmental activities that continue to threaten the Bay’s health. The facility will include the headquarters for Save the Bay and the various venues for all public programs.
The public programs will do the following:
- Focus on youth.
- Educate a broad and diverse constituency who will act to clean up and protect the upper mid and lower bays of Galveston Bay
- Provide a program and facility to have all school age youth at the coast or on the bay a minimum of three times before they graduate from college.
- The proposal involves the development of a shoreline Education Center, and a satellite site somewhere on the bay, which will serve as departure and destination points for exploration of the Bay. Participants in the programs will actively plant and restore wetlands throughout the bay.
Save the Bay (STB) proposes that every aspect of this project should explicitly model the best practices of development in the watershed, at the bay’s edge and in adaptive reuse of industrial land. Their goal for both the building and site components of the project are that site and building systems are conceptually transparent, or self-evident, in their enlightened handling of material and energy resources.