OJB Landscape Architecture Unveils Houston’s New Open Space at Levy Park Re-Opening
Redesigned amenity-rich park celebrates City’s history and welcomes future
Houston – February 23, 2017 – OJB Landscape Architecture, winner of the 2015 ASLA Firm Award, today announced the opening of its latest project, Levy Park, a highly anticipated open space in Houston’s Upper Kirby District. The Levy Park Conservancy, a private not-for-profit corporation, which manages the public park’s operations including programming, events, fundraising, marketing, and maintenance will officially open the park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m.
The 5.9-acre urban park has been completely redesigned to leverage innovative environmental practices and to facilitate a multitude of programming needs for the bustling Upper Kirby neighborhood and for people from throughout Greater Houston. Renovated streetscapes strengthen pedestrian and vehicular connectivity to the park for several mixed-use residential and office buildings located on the periphery. Birdseye views from surrounding buildings were considered, ensuring the Park’s design is memorable from all vantage points. Expected to spur continued economic growth and development, the highly programmed green space will become the new heart of Upper Kirby. The project will work to attract and retain residents and businesses in the surrounding district and contribute to a renaissance of parks, bayous, and public spaces throughout the metropolitan area.
“Located at the center of Upper Kirby, the new Levy Park reimagines the urban oasis. The Park’s design highlights cutting-edge sustainability practices while offering visitors various opportunities to reconnect with nature and replenish the spirit,” said OJB Principal Chip Trageser. “The Park’s modern, eco-conscious design, comprehensive and accessible programming, and unique appointments make Levy Park a must-see destination for locals and visitors.”
The design of Levy Park focused heavily on environmental sustainability. The 7,500-square-foot rain garden harvests and reuses stormwater, creatively mitigating Houston’s frequent flooding and becoming an attractive on-site amenity. The garden presents a rich botanical experience while offering unique views from an observation deck. The site’s 40 to 70-year-old legacy live oaks helped shape the forms of the park and are strategically incorporated into the design as key components of the elevated boardwalk and tree house located in the children’s garden. A lively community garden provides an interactive opportunity for community engagement and investment in the park. The site of the park’s future restaurant is immediately adjacent to the garden, facilitating farm-to-table harvesting of menu ingredients. The adjacent parking lot was designed to accommodate a pop-up farmer’s market ensuring the social importance of the space.
Doug Overman, Executive Director of the Levy Park Conservancy sees extraordinary potential for the park to become a regular and highly popular Houston destination. “We see tremendous potential for Levy Park as an urban commons: a place people of all ages and backgrounds come to experience community, to eat, cultivate, play, be inspired by art and performance, and escape the frenetic nature of urban life,” said Overman.
Programming for the park includes a multi-purpose performance pavilion and two large event lawns designed to accommodate the area’s growing community. Several water features and a dog park afford additional interactive recreational opportunities. A generous promenade circling the park connects a games area, play berms, decomposed granite seating courts, and a restaurant and food kiosks to be developed in the coming year. The gaming and reading areas offer ping pong, foosball, a putting green, chess, checkers, a piano and a shade arbor. In addition to the children’s garden, a creative play area is accessible to all children and features a 150’ long tree house platform that rises at an ADA accessible grade and spans the legacy live oaks. Additional play area elements include a rain shower interactive fountain, a berm slide, and a rock climbing wall.
Food and Beverage options will be located on three corners of the Park ensuring easy access for visitors. The Park’s restaurant is sited to take advantage of sightlines to the performance pavilion and event lawns. The retired Upper Kirby District Double-decker Bus will be given new life as a food kiosk located near the community garden and features a seating terrace and specialty lighting. Another food kiosk will be sited next to the gaming area, activity lawn, and promenade.
Levy Park is poised to become a social hub for Houston with its valuable programming initiatives including educational opportunities and scheduled cultural events. The artfully designed park provides the perfect backdrop for the daily roster of activities developed by the Levy Park Conservancy and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures of New York, including music, fitness and arts programs.
To learn more about OJB Landscape Architecture and the firm’s design of Levy Park visit www.ojb.com.
Founded in 1989, The Office of James Burnett began with a focus on creating landscapes that provide unique and unforgettable sensory experiences. OJB’s recent work has focused on the rejuvenation of American cities through the creation of distinctive public park spaces including ULI Urban Open Space Award-winning Klyde Warren Park in Dallas and Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City. Other notable projects include the artfully planted Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage, CA and urban park projects such as Levy Park in Houston and East Village Green in San Diego. Follow OJB on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Levy Park Treehouse Boardwalk. Photo courtesy of Levy Park.
Levy Park Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Levy Park.
Levy Park Children’s Play Area. Photo courtesy of Levy Park.
Levy Park Children’s Play Area. Photo: OJB
Levy Park Children’s Play Area. Photo: OJB
Levy Park Community Garden. Photo: OJB