Rios Clementi Hale Studios had the winning concept to redevelop Jones Plaza in the heart of Houston’s Theatre District. As part of the 2015 Theater District Master Plan, the new design aims to revive the 1.5-acre plaza into a vibrant multi-functional public square for locals and visitors to enjoy. RCHS will collaborate with Houston First Corporation, the City of Houston, and Theater District stakeholders on the project.
“Our design concept, called Urban Choreography, celebrates this dual role which Jones Plaza will play in Downtown Houston. It must be an inviting green oasis that contributes to the daily life of downtown residents, workers and visitors,” said RCHS Managing Studio Director Nate Cormier in a statement. The new Jones Plaza will also accommodate various special events and cultural public programming.
Read on for more about their winning proposal below.
“Downtown is a growing part of Houston as residents and visitors seek a vibrant pedestrian and transit-friendly environment with proximity to jobs, amenities, and high quality open space. Within Downtown, the Theater District and its many venues create a “magnetic field” of culture that generates buzz and catalyzes investment in the surrounding neighborhoods. Jones Plaza, at the epicenter of the Theater District, can provide an inviting green oasis that enhances downtown life and it can flexibly accommodate a wide range of outdoor performances and special events that serve the entire region,” RCHS describes.
“Inspired by the movements of the performing arts, these gestures connect Jones Plaza to the city and articulate diverse spaces for gathering. These spaces will become stages for creative discovery in partnership with the institutions of the Theater District and the citizens of Houston.
The north and south corners of Jones Plaza from Texas Avenue and Capitol Street act as important first impressions and serve as welcoming thresholds. The west and east corners of the plaza are configured as important areas of the park to inhabit and create spaces that are oriented both towards the surrounding streetscapes and into the park. Approaching from the Westside, visitors will encounter the Spring Stage, with water cascading toward the street in the direction of the bayou.
The top of the existing garage structure, requirements for planting depths to support large trees, and retention of significant existing retaining walls were all important considerations in the design process.”
“A proscenium walk, with multifunctional media towers, frames the Center Green of Jones Plaza, and allows for various uses, performances, and activities to utilize the space at a variety of scales. Two hundred indoor and 80 outdoor seats are provided on two levels with a grand stair and elevator connecting the park through the restaurant to Capitol Street.”
“The most important impact Jones Plaza can have is attracting people to live, work, and play Downtown. As a vibrant community resource, it can stimulate density and improve the community’s health and wellbeing. The revitalization of Jones Plaza sets the stage for activities and events that attract urban living and plaza life on a daily basis while serving the entire region with diverse cultural programming.”
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