2016 Excellence On The Waterfront Award Winner

Buffalo Bayou Park has received the highest honor in the 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards, which The Waterfront Center has issued since 1987 to recognize the best in waterfront planning and design. The “Excellence” award is conferred on projects that successfully balance competing agendas such as environmental stewardship, public access and economic development among others to optimize use of a city’s waterfront resources.

Page congratulates the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and planners and landscape architects, SWA Group. We were proud to collaborate with them by designing the built structures in the park to feel like natural extensions of the landscape.

The multiple Page-designed buildings in the park all occur in places where there is intensification of activity. The building at Lost Lake, located near the western end of the park, creates a strong sense of place adjacent to a restored lake that disappeared in the 1970s. It houses a ranger station, canoe check-out and its largest tenant is a restaurant whose glass-framed interior focuses on a single magnificent live oak tree. Its design creates a long thin volume parallel to the lake in order to capture great vistas, nestle into mature trees, and lay amiably and naturally in its topography.

At the Water Works buildings, the same architectural vocabulary is employed to frame an important plaza that acts as a gateway to the park. This cluster at the eastern end of the park provides event spaces and pavilions for activities like cross-training as well as bicycle rentals, another ranger station and more rest rooms. The Water Works structures emphasize the incredible view of the Houston skyline from this one particular promontory in the park.

Throughout the park additional shade structures and other public venues were all developed from this unifying design vocabulary.

Below the Water Works lawn is the recently re-discovered "Cistern," the City of Houston’s original underground drinking-water reservoir. It now has a new accessible entrance, and a walkway winds around the interior perimeter of the 87,500-square-foot expanse, giving visitors a view of the rows of 25-foot tall concrete columns which stand in six inches of water on the reservoir’s floor. This space will be used for future art installations.

To read the full text about the Buffalo Bayou Park award and see other 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront awards, click here.