“They took a huge boulevard and shrunk it,
and made walkability come alive.”
– Juror Comment
Development of Distinction Award 2018
Urban Land Institute
SWA and the architect’s narrative of nature and industry united underscores the design of the new 140,000-square-foot (3-1/2 acre) Avenida Houston plaza, adjacent to the freshly renovated George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Key to the theme of nature as it plays out in this new events space is the famous central flyway that offers hundreds of species of birds a safe haven along their annual transcontinental journey. Their flight is echoed in the pavement and lighting that directs pedestrians through the plaza. Safe migration also serves as a significant metaphor for the city that boasts the country’s most diverse population. Houston’s industrial history is interpreted in the plaza as well, where vertical features include crane-like catenary lighting systems and an event space designed to recall the massive wooden crane mats used in oil fields across southeast Texas. The Plaza will also feature food and beverage outlets, flexible community space, native gardens, and towering shade trees. Among ten artworks continuing the theme of nature and industry commissioned for the space is the captivating “Wings Over Water,” a massive mechanical sculpture that joins the city’s industrial artifacts with the enormous natural systems Houston has embraced as its new identity. The sculpture depicts an migratory bird covering 60 by 20 feet and rising 25 feet into the sky. Artist Joe O’Donnell, of Tucson-based Creative Machines, worked in close collaboration with SWA Group to realize this ultimate tribute to man and nature working in harmony.
Zobon City Villas
SWA provided landscape architectural services for this residential condominium site in Shanghai. The open space layout is comprised of three gardens, each creating a unique environment for the tenants. The Huangpu Abstraction garden is the public face of the project and is expressed with a 2.5m tall stacked glass fountain. The Sky Garden is the center piece of...
Kingold Century Centre
This new mixed-use development features a complex program that includes a hotel, rental space for other companies, eateries, service apartments, and retail facilities. SWA’s design challenge was to create a common space that can be enjoyed by the disparate users on-site at any given time. A common plaza includes multiple restaurants on a terraced platform that...
CityWalk Orlando, Universal Studios
Universal City is an urban entertainment destination on the South border of Orlando, Florida; at its heart lies the Citywalk, the gateway for all arriving guests as they enter “Universal Studios Florida” or the “Islands of Adventure” from parking structures. The primary area, containing multi-themed, high-energy clubs, restaurants, bars...
City Creek Center
In the heart of Salt Lake City, City Creek Center is the retail centerpiece of one of the nation’s largest mixed-use downtown redevelopment projects. This unique fashion and dining destination includes a new two-story retail center and over 500 residential rental units over four levels of underground parking, all within a downtown setting that features s...