Houston 2020 Visions

Program Partners

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Announcing Houston 2020 Visions Exhibition

Online Exhibition Opens August 31, 2020 (www.houston2020visions.org)
Physical Exhibition Opens Fall 2020

Galveston Bay Park. Courtesy of Rogers Partners + Urban Designers (Houston, New York)

HOUSTON, TEXAS, Monday, August 3, 2020 – In a first-ever collaboration between the City of Houston and the American Institute of Architects (AIA Houston), the Architecture Center Houston (ArCH) is proud to announce Houston 2020 Visions, an exhibition celebrating innovative, visionary project proposals that seek to place design and sustainability at the heart of the conversation about planning for a more resilient future.

Cities find themselves at a historic crossroads, with broad consensus that humanity must change the way it plans and builds for the future. Half of the global population already lives in cities, and by 2050 that proportion is expected to balloon to two-thirds. Cities are challenged with growing populations and associated needs for affordable housing, transportation, and food access, in addition to a changing climate, unpredictable weather patterns, and global health crises.

Inspired by Houston’s experience during Hurricane Harvey and other national disasters, Houston City Council Member David W. Robinson, FAIA, led the Houston 2020 Visions competition as a creative way to address some of these challenges with a focus on urban design and planning.

“Our city has been hit by four 500-year storms in the past five years. We know first-hand the devastating toll we will continue to pay if we fail to act swiftly and creatively to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Council Member Robinson. "The projects selected for Houston 2020 Visions showcase proposals from around the world on how we can solve our most urgent challenges."

From dozens of submissions, 26 projects were selected for the exhibition, which will examine themes including: Prairie-to-Bay Ecology, Green Corridors, Hubs, the Future of Buildings, and the Future of the Energy Economy through the visions of participating architects, engineers, environmental thinkers, city planners, educators and scholars.

The Lily Pad Network, Courtesy of Stantec (Houston)

Three proposals were elevated as “Visionary” by a nationally acclaimed jury panel:

The GALVESTON BAY PARK by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, SPEED Center, Rice University, and Walter P. Moore proposes the construction of a new string of islands in Galveston Bay that will double as a storm surge barrier and recreational park space.

THE LILY PAD NETWORK by Stantec’s Houston office describes the activation of existing neighborhood structures, such as schools, community centers, and faith institutions, as “lily pad” safe havens during disasters.

HIGH HACKERS by Gensler’s Houston office looks to transform Houston’s vertical fabric by repurposing vacant office space in high-rise structures.

The Houston 2020 Visions Exhibition will launch online at www.Houston2020Visions.org on August 31, 2020, during the third anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival in Houston. The exhibition’s content, including a virtual tour, and calendar of events will be featured on the website and updated through the duration of the exhibition. Virtual programming, including dynamic panel discussions with national and regional resiliency experts, will be curated to pair with featured projects, taking place throughout the late Summer, Fall and Winter of 2020.

The in-person exhibit will debut in the Fall of 2020, as the inaugural exhibition for the new, relaunched Architecture Center Houston (ArCH) at 902 Commerce St, which flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The date of opening of the physical exhibition at ArCH is yet to be determined, pending the public safety concerns that are tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houston 2020 Visions will be on view, online and physically at ArCH, through April 2021. After that point, the displays will travel on a national tour with the intent for other AIA chapters to follow this innovative blueprint and engage their communities in open, inclusive dialogue about urban resilience.
 

High Hackers, Courtesy of Gensler (Houston)

“As the American Institute of Architects embraces a more expansive and urgent view of environmental stewardship, we are confident these visions for a resilient Houston will be instructive not only to Houstonians, but also those in other cities facing their own environmental challenges,” said AIA Houston Executive Director Rusty Bienvenue.

The Houston 2020 Visions exhibition was reviewed by a stellar jury, led by Chair, Bob Berkebile, FAIA of BNIM, Kansas City; Illya Azaroff, AIA, founder of +LAB Architects, New York City; Jeff Hebert, Partner, HR&A Advisors, New Orleans; Elissa Hoagland Izmailyan, Senior Director of Community & Economic Development, Trinity Park Conservancy, Dallas; and Jaime Sobrino, AIA, VP & Director of Operations at LEO A DALY, West Palm Beach, Florida.


HOUSTON 2020 VISIONS FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS:
• Brett Zamore Design (TX)
• Community Design Resource Center, University of Houston (TX)
• Daniel Oatman (TX)
• Farm&City (TX)
• Gensler (TX)
• Gensler & Design Workshop & Levcor
• GSMA, Inc (TX)
• Hassell + RIOS (CA)
• Houston First Corporation (TX)
• Houston Parks Board (TX)
• Katy Prairie Conservancy (TX)
• Kirksey Architecture (TX)
• Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc (TX)
• Murphy Mears Architects (TX)
• Rice Management Company (TX), Gensler, Hines, SHoP Architects, Savills
• Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers (TX, NY), SPEED Center, Rice University
(TX), Walter P. Moore (TX)
• Ryan Slattery, City of Houston (TX)
• Sachini Kumi Wickramanayaka (D.C.)
• Samantha Ding, Jennifer Heon, and Madeleine Pelzel (TX)
• Stantec (TX)
• Sunnyside Landfill Solar Project and the City of Houston Office of Sustainability (TX)
• SWA Group (TX)
• Texas Coastal Exchange in association with Kirksey Architecture and the Galveston
Bay Foundation (TX)
• Waggonner & Ball Architecture/Environment (LA)

More information on Houston 2020 Visions may be found at  (launches August 31, 2020). Facebook / Instagram / #Houston2020Visions or by contacting Jennifer Ward at jennifer@aiahouston.org