“Art” in the Public Space

P6020052.jpgArt when done well is great in a public space but there is a lot to consider. The focus of this post is the need for it to be installed correctly. That directly relates to the degree of maintenance needed. There is also the issue of what are the artist’s rights even after you pay them. Continue reading


Lauren’s Garden at the new Market Square Park

Lau<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA>ren’s Garden is a memorial to Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, a Houstonian killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She was a passenger on United Flight 93, the hijacked airplane that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.  The garden includes a fountain and a memorial to all victims of the 2001 tragedy. It is another of the destinations inside the one-acre park that has a sense of place all to itself. Certainly the memory of that horrific day and the deaths of so many like Lauren brings a much deserved respectful quiet and peace to the small area. Continue reading

Root Memorial Square – aka Root Park

Photo of Root Memorial Park, Houston TXRoot Memorial Square – commonly call Root Park – is in downtown Houston across LaBranch Street from the Toyota Center; home of the Rockets Basketball team. The square was rebuilt in 2004 into a park that commemorated the history of the area and the fans of the basketball team across the street. Originally the block contained the mansion of Alexander Porter Root and his wife, Laura Shepherd Root. The land was donated in their memory by their descendants in 1923. Continue reading

Market Square Park’s Re-opening

CIMG3954.JPGThe contractor’s fence came down as the last minute touches were made getting ready for the opening Saturday. But, for those looking for a place to eat lunch, walk the dog or curious to see the changes the park was “open”.

The concept of the new park, as opposed to the previous concept of an art and historic park, is leading to far more usage. There are the usual benches and stone walkways, fountains, color flower beds, great lighting at night and, in a couple of weeks, a local favorite eatery selling Greek fast food. There was unfettered green space for the dogs but they made that space unappealing to the non-dogs. The new park has a great dog area-the best I have seen-with plastic bag dispensers. Continue reading

Houston Center’s on-street garden

Houston Center space with unrestricted public access McKinney at Caroline, downtown Houston

Houston Center is a business, living and leisure complex of sky-walk connected buildings in downtown Houston. The buildings and the centrally located garden in this photo are managed by Crescent Real Estate Equities, Ltd. The garden, at the corner of McKinney and Caroline, is a great place to get away from the glass, metal and concrete world of the inner downtown Houston office towers. Continue reading

Pedestrian Spaces at Washington Ave. Roundabout

CIMG1547_20100619 PGR.jpgI have driven through roundabouts in England but do not recall how the pedestrian space around them was used. In the case of one of the new roundabouts here in Houston the design provided great garden-like open spaces with benches and large plants. This space is part of the Washington on Westcott Roundabout Initiative, Inc.–a non-profit organization of neighborhood associations and community leaders donating their time. Continue reading

Travis St. Portal to Buffalo Bayou

CIMG1450.JPGThe Travis St. Bayou Portal to Buffalo Bayou was built by the Cotswold Project as a pedestrian connection from the street down to the future walkway along the bayou. The winding, tree lined, lighted walkway is on the west side of the Travis St. bridge on the south side of the bayou across the street from the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant. In this photo it is on the right side of the image. The simpler walkway on the left side of the image is the accessible route. More about that below. Continue reading

Secluded, shaded space on Main Street?

Harris County Admin Bldg on Main St.jpgYes there is a secluded, totally shaded space on Main Street in the heart of Downtown Houston. It is on the north side of the Harris County Administration Building sandwiched between that nine-story building and the far older three-story buildings facing Congress. This is between Preston and Congress and can be entered from Main St. or Fannin St. The space is owned and maintained by Harris County. Continue reading

Market Square Park–Another Reincarnation

Market Square Park until 2009Market Square Park’s 2nd reincarnation was to the traditional style of being a place to sit and relax when rushing on to the next meeting or for a quiet stroll with your dog-and hopefully a plastic bag. The park included several significant art pieces, two great fountains, interesting historic pieces and numerous oak trees. But it had various issues that did not let it be an asset to the neighborhood. The new park is being constructed at the time of this post and will be complete in June, 2010. Continue reading