HOUSTON: (August 22, 2019) – After a four year design and construction process, Houston welcomed its newest BMX (bicycle motocross) bike park, the nation’s largest BMX venue. The Rockstar Energy Bike Park opened to the greater Houston community on August 16th, with city officials and world-class riders showing off bike tracks and amenities for recreation, training, and races.
Designed by OJB Landscape Architecture (OJB), the Bike Park is located just minutes from Bush Intercontinental Airport and adjoins the 10-acre North Houston Skate Park, the largest skate park in North America. OJB developed the site master plan and designed both parks, reimagining a former wastewater treatment plant into a unique 23-acre public amenity. Working with the Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority, these free-to-use public spaces are conceived as a mechanism for neighborhood revitalization and community activation.
“This one-of-a-kind park is a keystone to a redeveloping neighborhood in Houston,” said Chip Trageser, Managing Principal and project design director at OJB. “The design balances different types of experiences, from the novice or expert rider, to the visitor or sport spectator. The park is a destination for BMX riders and spectators, while at the same time welcomes all to enjoy a public space, whether for active or passive recreation.”
OJB’s master plan for the park takes into account form, pattern, and spatial needs for programming to shape the distinct program and create connections and transitions between the park elements. The size of the site allowed for the expression of unique features for bike riders, such as dirt tracks for BMX racing, as well as areas for freestyle and jump ramps, as well as expansive areas to accommodate special events and places to walk, sit, gather and spectate.
“We wanted the park to reflect the active and exciting spirit of BMX racing. The unique forms of the park are as dynamic as the sport,” added Trageser.
The park creates movement and connection between experiences, whether as a rider or a spectator. An immersive landscape, filled with native and adaptive planting, changes throughout the seasons and provides abundant opportunities to experience nature.
The park features an array of specialty bike tracks and elements including a Supercross Track, Pump and Dirt Jump Tracks, an urban riding plaza, 25,000 SF of concrete bike bowls, and a tot-track. Promenades run from the north to south end of the park, framing an event lawn, and creating a variety of pedestrian gathering spaces. Bike activity happens to the east and west of the promenades and along the perimeter of the park, allowing for an active experience for all visitors within distinct zones of the park.
Four scaled buildings by architects EndreStudio and Brett Zamore serve visitor needs. Two main starting ramps sit atop the BMX Center, which has a concessions area, classroom, restrooms, and offices. An events center overlooks the BMX track, with a VIP observation deck. Connecting the buildings on the north side of the park is a 223-foot long pedestrian viewing bridge, spanning over rideable bridge columns. Both structures offer distinctive vantage points and birds-eye views of the riders below. A welcome center greets park guests, and a performance pavilion overlooks the expansive event lawn.
Since the park is within a floodway next to the North Fork of Greens Bayou, it is designed to flood. Sustainable design elements include 3.5-acres of 100% permeable parking lots, which allow for water storage that exceeds the city’s requirements for stormwater management. The responsive detention strategy also utilizes the event lawn, rain gardens along the promenade, and bike bowls to hold water in flood conditions, which keeps the park usable and active during seasons of frequent storms.
Prior to its opening, the park was competitively selected as the location for the 2020 UCI BMX World Championships in May, which is expected to draw 3,000 amateur participants and 300 professional athletes from over 40 countries. The event is the last stop on the BMX circuit, and a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Other planned events include the Texas state competition in September, U.S. Nationals in October 2019 and April 2020, as well as regular Friday night racing events.
To learn more about the park, visit: http://northhoustonsportcomplex.com/
The start gate and ramp accommodate eight riders at once. The Park will host the US UCI BMX Championships in May, the last qualifying race for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A 223 foot-long pedestrian bridge straddles the concrete bowl area, providing an elevated viewing platform onto the activity below.
Riders and spectators can experience a wide variety of activities throughout the Park, including areas for gathering and social recreation.
Client: North Houston Development Corporation (formerly Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority)
Landscape Architect and Prime Consultant: OJB Landscape Architecture
Operator: Houston Sports Authority
Civil Engineer: Walter P Moore
MEP: Wylie Consulting Engineers
Architect + Structural: EndreStudio (Pavilion + Bridge)
Architect: Brett Zamore Design (Event Center + BMX Building/Welcome Center)
Structural for Buildings: CSF Engineers
Irrigation: Carter Design Group
Security: 4b Technology
Graphics: Minor Design
Bike Elements & Trail Designer: SITE Design Group
Owners Rep: Jones|Carter
BMX Bike Track Design: Stantec
Photos: Geoff Lyon