West 8 reveal design details for vast Houston Botanic Garden

Landscape architects West 8 have revealed their first clear-cut plans for a new 120 acre Houston Botanic Garden set to open to the Texas public in 2020.

The firm have released details of ‘Botanic Beginnings’, the first phase of their 120-acre masterplan for the site, which will be developed over the next three decades on a site located a short distance outside downtown Houston.

The Garden, conceived as “Houston’s next major cultural institution,” will include wetlands, a children’s garden and nature play area, picnic groves, a tree farm, trails and an events lawn. The Global Collection Garden will be the main attraction, with zones for tropical, subtropical and arid collections.

Described as a “living museum that showcases international and native plant collections,” West 8 said the first phase of the Garden will “be emblematic of the energy, diversity and spirit of Houston, America’s fastest growing, most multicultural metropolis.”

The design team will shape and sculpt the existing topography along a bayou edge to absorb and invite flooding above Houston’s 100-year floodplain, protecting the city’s buildings. Native waterways, meanwhile, will be integrated into the site, creating an immediate landscape identity and an important backdrop for some of the naturalistic and cultivated gardens, promoting and conserving plants from around the world.

“The astonishing array of plant life that can be grown in Houston, combined with this city’s love of gardens will make this one of the most beloved collections in the world,” said Claire Agre, principal of West 8’s design team, based in New York and Rotterdam.

“To be involved in the design of a cultural and scientific institution of such great relevance in our nation’s most diverse city is truly a once-in-a-career commission.”

Claudia Gee Vassar, president and general counsel of Houston Botanic Garden, added: “We’re honoured to be working with West 8, a visionary leader in landscape design,” said “With their expertise, we hope to bring Houstonians an urban oasis where they can disconnect and appreciate the beauty of nature—from rare and exotic plants they have never encountered to natural areas reflecting Houston’s ecosystems.”

The masterplan was approved by the city’s mayor in 2016. Construction and landscaping work is expected to begin this year.

The founder of West 8, Adriaan Geuze, is profiled in the last issue of CLADmag, and you can read the interview here.

West 8  Houston Botanic Garden  Texas 
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FEATURE: Interview – Adriaan Geuze

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