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Houston’s Gateway Art Bridges : I-59/69 Beautification
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Location Houston, Texas, United States
Client Houston First Corporation
Scope Landscape Architecture
As a city dominated by freeway infrastructure, Houston will be reconstructing portions of its iconic freeways in the near future. This created an opportunity for SWA to reclaim the Houston Interstate experience with a temporary art installation that provides a bold pop of color celebrating Houston’s diversity at eight key threshold bridges along the I-59/69 corridor. After winning a design competition held by Houston First Corporation, SWA developed a cost-effective and easily implementable urban art intervention that creates an impact perceptible at both a large scale and a high speed of travel through the freeway corridor. Spanning eight gateway bridges that connect some of the City’s most vibrant neighborhoods, a ribbon graphic featuring an artistically interpreted image of Houston was printed on plastic strips and woven into the existing 6 foot tall chain link fence railing.
The pixelated mosaics were derived from photographs taken by Houston school children in a project developed by Geoff Winningham and his wife, Janice Freeman. This urban art installation epitomizes the uniquely Houston experience through freeway infrastructure, the diversity of Houstonians, and the future of Houston. This approach to urban art in the right-of-way is an initial step in SWA’s vision for a larger beautification program of Houston’s Freeways.
To make the Houston Bridges project a reality, Houston First Corporation partnered with a consortium including Scenic Houston, TxDOT, HISD, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and Sparq 1200, in addition to SWA Group and Rice Professor/Author Geoff Winningham.