Uniting Industry and Nature to Reflect Houston’s Bounty 
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationHouston, Texas, United States
ClientEYP Architecture & Engineering
Size140,000 sf

“They took a huge boulevard and shrunk it,
and made walkability come alive.”

– Juror Comment

Avenida Plaza
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.

Related Projects

MKT Mixed-Use Development

The MKT mixed-use development is a truly Houstonian take on adaptive reuse, with a tilt wall industrial office park. Located in the chic and rapidly upscaling neighborhood of Houston  Heights, this industrial, 1970s-era industrial remnant is being transformed: the buildings’ concrete shells remain, but are bisected by pathways that seem to surgically remove th...

Landmark II Tower Park

The west side of Los Angeles has always been a desirable destination for businesses, visitors, and residents: easily reached by vehicular and public transportation, and with access to the Pacific Ocean. Community clusters have formed within this area, establishing the need for respite within the hustle and bustle of the heavily trafficked Wilshire Boulevard co...

Culver Steps and Main Plaza

As cities consider the future of their streets in light of pandemic-inspired innovations and federal infrastructure investment, placemaking solutions can help communities achieve more value from public rights-of-way.

In Culver City, California, landscape design born of public and private sector collaboration has resulted in a lively and accessible outd...

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...