Houston Botanic Garden
2014 ongoing, Houston, Texas

West 8’s Master Plan for Houston Botanic Garden articulates the potential future for the Garden over the coming decades. The Plan takes its inspiration and structure from the best qualities of the existing site, and gives forethought to the biggest environmental challenges: flooding and intense weather events. The Sims Bayou and the Bayou Meander serve as framing devices that protect and enhance the experience of the gardens and the bayou. With these water bodies as a site-organizers, the Garden is divided into two main precincts: the Island and the South Gardens.

The design proposes lifting the existing topography to elevate the gardens and permanent structures out of the flood plain.  The South Gardens is the place of arrival for all visitors. It features an open lawn which is a relaxing, day-to-day place for picnics and strolling, but also supports community events. A hike/bike trail extends along Glenview Drive, with a proposed section along Sims Bayou that would connect the Garden to the extensive network of Greater Houston hike and bike trails.  

The Island will be dominated by gardens, both naturalistic and cultivated. These gardens provide year-round beauty, delight the senses, and educate young and old alike. A conservatory building extends the plant repertoire to provide a setting for exotic plants from tropical climates. Visitor-oriented amenities like educational facilities, an events pavilion, a café, and a lecture hall, are strategically located to provide destinations and provisions for guests. All of these are linked by an extensive network of pathways, many of which offer shade and are weather-protected by colonnades.

By weaving together shady pathways, a mosaic of ever-changing gardens, the bayou and other water bodies, West 8’s Master Plan for Houston Botanic Garden amplifies the potential of the site’s qualities and unites the site into a coherent, “only-in-Houston,” garden experience.

client
Houston Botanic Garden
consultants
Berg-Oliver, Clark Condon, Halford Busby, Lake Flato, Lord Cultural ResourcesPentagram, Site Works, Walter P Moore
team
Adriaan Geuze, Claire Agre, Daniel Vasini, Alvaro Novas Filgueira, Daniel Vasini, David Zielnicki, Emily Silber, Eugenio Da Rin, Eva Recio, Harm te Velde, Harrie van Oorschot, Isaac Stein, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Joost Koningen, Karsten Buchholz, Kurt Marsh, Lauren Micir, Maria Zaghi, Marine Manchon, Mario Accordino, Santiago Buendia, William DiBernardo