Four years ago, the Energy Corridor District unleashed the creativity of budding landscape architecture and urban planning students from College Station to reimagine a future where people and businesses are better connected, transportation is more accessible and places become popular, walkable destinations.
The results have been nothing less than stunning, says Clark Martinson, executive director for the Energy Corridor District.
Below, we’ll take a look back at those concepts, with links provided to the presentations and design renderings.
Martinson sowed what became a fertile collaboration over the years with the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. The collaboration began with a bold re-imagining of the Addicks Park & Ride with students led by Dr. Hwanyong Kim.
Soon, the student design studio led by Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim, TAMU assistant professor of landscape architecture, joined the collaboration. Kim wanted real-world challenges for his students, and the District – then in the midst of creating a long-range master plan – become a canvas for fresh ideas from students with unblemished vision.
Now Kim is moving on to new career opportunities. But not before his studio classes created and presented a host of designs that paired perfectly with The District’s master plan vision.
“It’s been rewarding collaboration for both the students and the Energy Corridor District, one that created innovative designs that could rejuvenate the built environment and help manage future growth in The Energy Corridor,” says Martinson. “We will miss working with Dr. Kim and hope our paths meet soon as we continue developing plans to make West Houston eminently livable.”
The students got real world experience and exposure to well-known Houston transportation and planning experts, as they presented their concepts at special meetings with The District’s board. And one student from the very first collaboration, Fabiana Demarie, went full circle – becoming hired as the District’s urban planner and then partnering with her former professor to lead the TAMU collaboration.
As for Kim – whose tenor working in the Energy Corridor found him flying drones to help students map land use – he found the collaboration to be “an exciting planning and design experience.”
"Students and faculty members at Texas A&M University have benefited by the invaluable opportunities involving in service-learning projects, supported by the Energy Corridor District staff,” says Dr. Kim. “All projects provided students high-impact learning opportunities dealing with the real problems of real-world sites. The students and I sincerely appreciate all project opportunities – which have demonstrating our strong partnership to develop a future vision for the ECD.
“Each project offered students not only enhanced learning opportunities, but also financial supports for more than 10 students,” Dr. Kim explains. “Student design groups also won four student design competition awards, which are highly competitive in our field."
All of the TAMU student plans can be found – along with The District’s own master plan – online at the Energy Corridor District’s resource library here. Or, simply click on the links in the project highlights below to go directly to specific plans.
2014-2016 Addicks Park & Ride & Park Ten Master Plan
It was a bold idea: develop a future design for the Addicks Park & Ride area to create a special place that can better connect employees, residents and the Energy Corridor community. And TAMU students led by Dr. Hwanyong Kim and Dr. Jung-Hyun Kim delivered. Explore the stunning concepts here.
2015 Grisby Square Master Plan
Seeking to enhance land use around Grisby Square off IH-10, students designed an office, retail and residential center, a pedestrian-friendly street with shops, a plaza and a parking garage with a “green” roof. The plan, “Grisby Square Revitalization,” was created by Yu Tong and Lingyue Cao, MLA candidates, in a studio steered by Dr. Jung-Hyun Kim. Read the article here.
2016 Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition
In a competition to design a pedestrian / bicycle bridge over IH-10, TAMU students developed stylish concepts that made strong statements as landmark destinations for the Energy Corridor. Check out the winning posters that bring to life these inventive ideas here.
2016 Landscape Artchitecture Frontiers Publication - Addicks Park & Ride & Park Ten Master Plan
The TAMU student team that created the Addicks Park and Ride Comprehensive Plan during 2014-2015 garnered global recognition when their paper was published in the Landscape Architecture Frontiers, an international magazine. The paper was a vital part of the magazine’s Reflection on New Urbanization and Sustainability, published in both English and Chinese. See why these TAMU students earned international acclaim here.
2016 St. Mary’s Neighborhood Plan
TAMU student design team’s inventive re-envisioning for the Threadneedle neighborhood off Dairy Ashford earned a 2017 Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Texas Chapter (TX-ASLA). Designed to improve livability and attractiveness – while promoting multimodal transportation and sustainable practices – the “Threadneedle Neighborhood: The Energy Corridor District” redevelopment plan was created by TAMU undergraduate students Christina Anderson, Stephen Parsons, Andrew Toungate and Ashton Williams in a studio led by Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim. Read how students imagine a reinvigorated neighborhood here.
2017 Addicks Dam and Terry Hershey Park Neighborhood Plan
A fresh vision for the neighborhood at the base of Addicks Dam was created by the Landscape Architecture class and a team of MLA students. With a large amount of undeveloped land, the site currently lacks housing options and amenities. Students designed a new neighborhood built to attract new residents, industries and businesses by creating an unconventional residential neighborhood; a multimodal transportation system along Park Row to promote walkability and bikeability; and an environmental friendly design approach. Read about this unconventional neighborhood design here.
2017 Water Resource Manage Publication - WARM Article
Fabiana Demarie went from TAMU Landscape Architecture student to Urban Planner for the District. Her graduate dissertation focused on the Energy Corridor and identified strategies to support sustainable, long-term developments, while minimizing minimize urban sprawl. On June 17, her dissertation, co-authored by Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim and Dr. Hwanyong Kim, was recognized and published on the international journal Water Resources Management. The article can be found here.