Houston Botanic Garden: Landscape architects West 8 masterplan stunning natural attraction for Texas

A masterplan drawn up by Dutch landscape architects West 8 to create a 120 acre botanic garden in Houston, Texas has received approval from the city’s mayor.

Plans to create a vast public green space showcasing Houston's native plants, preserving various wildlife habitats and hosting community events have been in development since 2002, but received a major boost last year after US$5m (€4.4m, £3.5m) was successfully fundraised to move the scheme forward.

Mayor Annise Parker has now formally backed the garden – which will replace a golf course located in Glenbrook, near the city’s airport – and a reinvigorated bid for funding has begun.

Construction of the first phase of the project is estimated to cost US$40m (€35.8m, £27.9m), and developers the Houston Botanic Garden Company want construction to begin in 2018, with a view to opening two years later.

The site will be dominated by walking trails, trees and gardens, both naturalistic and cultivated, “providing year-round beauty, delights for the senses and educational value.”

The masterplan also includes an events pavilion for weddings and community receptions, a café, a lecture hall and a botanically-inspired glass conservatory – which will showcase plants from tropical climates.

“By weaving together shady pathways, a mosaic of ever-changing gardens, the Sims Bayou water channel and other water bodies, our masterplan amplifies the potential of the site’s qualities and unites it into a coherent, ‘only-in-Houston,’ garden experience,” said West 8 in a statement.

“Our design also gives forethought to the site’s biggest environmental challenges: flooding and intense weather events. It shapes and sculpts the existing topography to create gardens along the bayou edge that absorb and invite flooding and elevates the heart of the garden above the 100-year floodplain to protect buildings from Houston’s intense floods.”

Local business association the Greater Houston Partnership estimates the garden will have a one-time economic impact on the region of US$93.4m (€83.8m, £65.3m), before contributing up to US$24.4m (€21.8m, £17m) annually through tourism.

However, according to local reports, some residents in the area have opposed the plans, citing the disruption the construction and increased traffic will cause to the neighbourhood.

The Houston Botanic Garden Company insists the garden will allow Houston to “join the ranks of prominent American and international cities such as Chicago, New York, London and Paris that have such a treasure.”

West 8 are working on several other high-profile landscape projects, including the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong and Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District, alongside Bjarke Ingels Group.

Houston Botanic Garden  Texas  Houston  landscape architecture  design  masterplan  
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A masterplan drawn up by Dutch landscape architects West 8 to create a 120 acre botanic garden in Houston, Texas has received approval from the city’s mayor. Plans to create a vast public green space showcasing Houston's native plants, preserving various wildlife habitats and hosting community events have been in development since 2002, but received a major boost last year after US$5m (€4.4m, £3.5m) was successfully fundraised to move the
The botanic garden will be linked to the city via an eye-catching tree-covered bridge / West 8
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