RDA/AIA Spring Charrette

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January 27, 2018
Rice University and Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Brought to you by the Young Architects Forum

Can design ingenuity create a new archetype that promotes aspirations for Houston?

This year rdAGENTS are joining forces with AIA Houston Young Architects Forum Committee to host a design charrette to challenge teams to reimagine the site of the Meat Packing Building along Commerce street.

The site of the building serves as both a physical and conceptual nexus for urban design issues in Houston. Located within both the floodplain and floodway, the site raises questions about building in these highly sensitive locations post-Harvey. Set along Buffalo Bayou’s iconic trail system with an imminent new connection to the MKT Trail to the north, the site serves as a threshold between downtown and the Bayou Greenways system and creates opportunities for access and connectivity. Along Commerce Street, the building site has potentials for reconciling history with forward-thinking design solutions integrating multi-modal travel options.

Teams will be asked to propose ideas that would answer two questions:

  • Could a new building proposal mediate the desire to build along a downtown waterfront to promote urban revitalization yet meet the strict criteria for floodway construction?
  • Or should the site be transformed to greenspace to connect the street level to bayou level?

Here’s the rundown: In collaboration this year with the Downtown Management District, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership the charrette will be held all day at Rice University on Saturday, January 27. You’ll want to bring your own computers and printers, as always. Multidisciplinary teams of 2-6 people are encouraged.

A cash prize will be awarded to the winning team as well as an honorable mention.

A guided site visit will be held the week before on Saturday, January 20. The site visit will begin at 9:30 a.m. at 1019 Commerce Street at the Buffalo Bayou Building. The program brief along with other details regarding the charrette will be distributed at that time.

On the following Monday, January 29 between 4pm to 5:30pm each team will be given a 5 minute time slot to make a pitch to the jury at the Buffalo Bayou Building located on 1019 Commerce Street. A award announcement and reception will follow between 6pm to 8pm. A first come first serve online sign up will be sent out at noon the day before the charrette for teams to select their presentation times.

Registration is $125 for RDA member teams, $150 for non-member teams, and $25 for student teams. Registration is limited to 20 teams on a first come first serve basis.  Click here to register and make a payment online. You will need the names and contact for each member of your team to register.


Key Dates

January 19, 2018  – Competition Registration Deadline

January 20, 2018 at 9:30am – Site Visit from 1019 Commerce Street

January 27, 2018 – 8:30am to 5pm Design Charrette

January 29, 2018 at 4pm to 6pm – Presentation to jury, 6pm to 8pm, Reception and Award


Jurors and charrette advisors include:

Anne Olson, President, Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Chip Place, Managing Director of Capital Programs, Houston Parks Board

Dan Zimmerman, CEO of New Form Real Estate

Angie Bertinot, Director of Marketing, Downtown Management District

Christopher Hight, Associate Professor of Architecture, Rice Architecture

Competition Prize Sponsor:  Houston Downtown Management District

rdAGENTS programs are made possible by our 2018 contributing firms including Boulevard Realty, Brave/Architecture, Cameron Management, Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, Francois de Menil Architect, P.C., Garza+McLain Structural Engineers, Inc., IA Interior Architects, Luceco, Maiden Stone Inc., Method Architecture, munoz + albin Architecture & Planning, Murphy Mears Architects, Roque Strew, Shah Smith & Associates, Inc., The Mathis Group, Inc., Wells Design, Inc., and from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and the Texas commission for the Arts.

rdAGENTS and AIA Steering Committee: Michael Robinson(SWA), Justin Smith (Walter P. Moore), Bryant Cook (Loftec Homes), Jarrett Ewing (HOK), Todd Niesner (Stantec)


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