Houston’s Levy Park, a 5.9-acre park redesign project by OJB, has been named a winner of the 2018 Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Urban Open Space Award. The annual competition recognizes successful public spaces that have socially and economically enriched and revitalized their surrounding communities.
This is OJB’s third urban park to be recognized by the ULI as OJB previously won consecutive Urban Open Space Awards for Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City (2015) and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas (2014).
As one of the only public green spaces in Houston’s Upper Kirby District, the once underused park has been reimagined as an active, vibrant civic destination. A daily roster of free, day and night-time activities, including concerts, fitness classes, performances, movie nights, story hour and a public arts program have been incorporated into the park. OJB’s design accommodates a variety of programmed events and provides a multitude of spaces for all, while preserving the site’s legacy live oaks. The park features two activity lawns, a performance pavilion, dog park, water features, community garden and rain garden, which harvests and reuses stormwater. At the heart of the park is a unique children’s garden, which features imaginative interactive sculptures, playful fountains and a 150-foot-long ADA accessible tree house that sits between several large legacy live oak trees that were relocated from the site and provide a magnificent canopy.
Built with public funds and sustained primarily by private lease agreements with Midway, this successful public/private partnership provides a sustainable financing instrument for future maintenance and operation of the park. Class-A office space, residential space and food and beverage establishments have been integrated on two of the park’s corners and provide Levy Park with users. This provides complementary adjacent amenities for park patrons. The new developments generate the funds needed to maintain and program the park for the next 99 years, completely independent of the City of Houston budget and without dependence on charitable giving.
Since opening in February of 2017, the park has seen attendance catapult from pre-renovation numbers of up to 75 visitors per week to between 5,000 and 10,000 weekly. Levy Park now acts as an important open space for the Upper Kirby District and an exceptional outdoor entertainment and recreation destination for the City of Houston.
OJB worked closely with the Levy Park Conservancy, Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority, Midway and the entire Levy Park project team. Throughout design and construction of this project, OJB assembled and led a talented project team including:
Architect: Natalye Appel + Associates
Civil Engineer: Ward, Getz & Associates
Structural Engineer: Matrix Structural Engineers
MEP: Wylie Consulting Engineers
Water Feature Consultant: Fountain Source
Park Consultant: Biederman Redevelopment Ventures
Security/WiFi: 4b Technology
Wayfinding: Minor Design
Soil Consultant: Dirt N Turf
General Contractor: Burton Construction
Hardscape/Landscape/Water Feature/Irrigation Contractor: B&D Contractors