City Hall and the adjacent Hermann Square are the civic center of downtown Houston. The pulse of the city can be felt throughout these two city blocks, as City Hall is the people’s place to meet, relax, gather, celebrate, and express their voice. Clark Condon worked with the City of Houston to create a master plan for the renovation of this two-block area with a focus on replacing the paver sidewalks that were heavily damaged by tree roots.
Phase one of the master plan was implemented and completed in 2021. This initial phase focused on the streetscapes along Walker, Smith, and McKinney Streets, along with accessible ramps leading to City Hall. During the detailed design and documentation of the project, we had to explore and understand the site in acute detail to accomplish the project goals. The buckled paver sidewalks were studied to understand the profile below ground, including targeted geotechnical boring, as well as selective exploratory demolition so that we could identify what was in place and why some sidewalks were more impacted by the tree root system. The trees were studied and evaluated by the team’s arborist and treated to help the tree health and minimize construction stress. The arborist continued to work with the design team to identify construction strategies that would accommodate the tree root systems as well as the new, wider sidewalks and to evaluate tree health and exposed roots throughout construction.
Overall, we reimagined this historic, civic core of downtown Houston to provide an accessible and enjoyable user experience. Phase II will focus on Hermann Square, including updated paving to match the entry points, pedestrian lighting, site furnishings, and refreshed plantings. We look forward to working with the City of Houston to bring the full master plan vision to life.
|CLIENT:||City of Houston|
|SIZE:||2 City Blocks, 3.85 Acres|
|SERVICES:||Master Plan. Schematic Design. Design Development. Construction Drawings. Construction Administration.|
|HIGHLIGHTS:||Pedestrian Sidewalks. Site Lighting. ADA Access Ramps. Site Furnishings. Landscape Planting.|