Buffalo Bayou Park Prepares for Grand Opening

Buffalo Bayou Park has become a popular topic the past few weeks as the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) prepares for the upcoming grand opening. Local media were invited to a recent talk and tour of the park, where Anne Olson, President of BBP, along with Page Principal Larry Speck and Scott McCready of SWA Group, discussed the transformation and durable design of the area.

The $58 million project is built on a flood plain, a feature the project designers had to carefully consider when creating plans for the area. Page was tasked with designing the two visitor centers and pavilions for the 160-acre makeover.

“We purposely used strong materials like concrete when building the structures,” Larry Speck, lead architectural designer, said in a recent article on Houston Public Media. “Many of the buildings in the park, especially the pavilions, are in the flood plain. So they had to be really, really tough in that regard.”

The strength of the structures were put to the test when Houston experienced major flooding in May 2015. “The worst case scenario is the case that a storm comes right in the middle of your work, and that’s what happened,” said Scott McCready, the park’s lead consultant for landscape design.

“We were very relieved to discover that the park didn’t sustain major damage and none of the Page-designed structures were flooded or damaged. The flood waters were really a test of the resilience of the park's design,” Olson added.

Construction crews are now finishing work on the two visitor centers. Houston Press described the building known as The Dunlavy as “a gleaming structure of glass, metal and wood… overlooking the newly reconstructed Lost Lake.”

One of the most interesting features is the recently rediscovered "Cistern,” an abandoned reservoir that will be used for future art installations. "There will be a little bit of water on the bottom so that there's a reflectivity that that gives," said Speck. "There'll be the availability of a little bit of light from above, but we're just leaving that big space."

For now, visitors can enjoy the hike and bike trails, dog park and the 14,000 trees that were planted as part of the bayou makeover. The grand opening is scheduled for October 3, 2015.

To read the full articles, visit Houston Public Media, Houston Press and KHOU 11 News websites. You can also stay up to date with our list of recent media of Buffalo Bayou Park.