Making a place in history

Until recently, the waterway that led directly to the founding of the fourth-largest city in the US was a neglected and dangerous area

It has since been transformed into a recreational and resilient green space that has been favorably compared to some of the most well-known parks in the country. And today, it is a Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Medalist, an honor bestowed every two years on the top five projects in the country.

The award recognizes "places that are developed with such vision and imagination that they transform urban problems into creative solutions." Buffalo Bayou Park encompasses 2.3 linear miles and 160 acres of greenspace on either side of the principal waterway and drainage system for much of the city.

The design of the park restores the natural landscape that was adversely affected by the channelization of the bayou six decades ago and focuses on “passive” recreation and destination points, such as miles of hike and bike trails, public art, dog parks, event venues, visitor destinations, bicycle and kayak rentals and food service.

Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of the park is in a 100-year flood plain that continues to function as a major drainage path for storm water during hurricanes and other heavy rain events, so the structures were designed to withstand extreme storm and flooding conditions. The park was first tested prior to completion and successfully weathered the flood, as well as two additional floods afterward including Hurricane Harvey.

Page is the architect for the two buildings and two large pavilions in the park, which was planned and designed by landscape architecture firm The SWA Group.