The Leading with Landscape II: The Houston Transformation conference explored how ambitious, large-scale landscape-architectural projects are taking the lead in shaping the nation’s 4th largest city. Held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Brown Auditorium on March 11, 2016, the conference brought together some of the leading thinkers and landscape architects who presented nationally significant projects. To learn more about the conference: http://tclf.org/sites/default/files/microsites/houston2016/index.html
Panelist, Chapter Two: Looking Forward
Thomas L. Woltz, FASLA, CLARB, Principal and Owner, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
Memorial Park Master Plan: Building a Resilient Future on the Foundations of the Past
Houston‘s Memorial Park is a landscape rich in ecological and cultural history that has been invisible, untended and at times forgotten over the past century. At nearly twice the size of New York‘s Central Park, Memorial Park offers a remarkable opportunity to reset the distinct ecosystems of the park disrupted by transit infrastructure, invasive plants and six years of drought and flood. Since 2013 Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects has been developing a Master Plan for the park that balances ecological restoration with new features that reveal and celebrate the many cultural landscapes that have shaped the Park.
These new amenities and destinations are based on the firm’s archeological, cultural, ecological and historical research. These include an interpretation of the 1920 Hare and Hare Master Plan; Camp Logan – the military history of the site as a training camp for WWI soldiers; and the Southern Arc, a mile-long boardwalk providing access to the diverse ravine ecology of the southern portion of the park and the riparian forest along the Buffalo Bayou.
The plan also includes passive recreation opportunities, mountain bike and equestrian trails, renovated sport fields, and hundreds of miles of running and walking trials. Memorial Park is a successful example of a thriving public private partnership supporting a design that reveals the cultural and ecological history of Houston in a public landscape accessible to all.