Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, Houston

From the Jury:

The project was not just about infrastructure, but about bringing to life an idea of public space, recreation, and habitat creation combined with infrastructure. It shows how architects can bring ideas to a much bigger regional scale, adding value to projects like this so that tax dollars go to creating a better quality of life for people.

H-GAPS is a potential surge protection system where the Mid-Bay Barrier Islands and Mid-Bay Gate are envisioned as a cost-effective system that will protect both the vital industrial infrastructure of the Houston Ship Channel and the communities that line the western shore of Galveston Bay.

Given the substantial investment that any storm protection system represents, the elements of that system must perform multiple functions at all times. During storm events, the primary function as a protective barrier is clear, but what happens the rest of the time? The islands will be programmed as active recreational amenities for the Houston and Galveston Bay communities.

From marinas for sailboats and sport craft, to sandy bay-front campsites, to an expansive network of bike, hike, horse, and running trails, the islands will offer new ground and amenities for the enjoyment of the bay by visitors and residents alike. In the way that great infrastructure projects like the Golden Gate Bridge and Chicago’s Navy Pier have contributed to the cultural quality of a region and become celebrated icons of their cities, H-GAPS provides protection while embracing the opportunity to do more for the region.

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