Rethinking Houston's core: a case study for organic design

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Jackson, Nicholas Ryan

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At the time of conducting this study there exists several design methodolgies competing for relevance in the continually growing and evolving urban cultures found in cities around the world. Simultaneously modern cities, particularly those in the United States of America, struggle to adapt their infrastructure and sprawling natures to increasing densities and demand for more localized city centers. In this study, I develop a conceptual urban intervention plan for Houston, Texas as a case study of how cities like Houston might revitalize their downtown cores in the future by removing and redeveloping the elevated highways that surround the core. Additionally, I present a case study for the importance of carefully contextual architecture in the form of a high-desnsity mixed-use complex as a driver for the success of such an urban intervention. These interrelated design projects facilitate the testing of design principles in parametricism against more traditional design methods. The results show that there is in fact large demand for residential and retail developments in Houston’s core as well as the potential for increased value along the the area now occupied by highway in the event of more pedestrian and development friendly infrastructure. The results also show one potential example of architectural design that attempts to step down the scale of the urban core and transition more effectively between the core and the surrounding neighborhoods, thus facilitating said potentials.




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