BOB WATSON EDUCATION CENTER
$8.9M PROJECT BUDGET
PUBLIC + NON-PROFIT PARTNERSHIP
EARLY DESIGN PHASE ENERGY MODELING
A partnership consisting of The City of Houston and an independent, non-profit organization hired English + Associates to assist them with designing a flexible, high-performance building that would allow them to carry out their unique mission: function as a no-kill animal adoption facility, conduct animal awareness and public outreach, offer low-cost veterinary services to the community, provide an on-site dog park and operate a public-access facility for events – all while being responsible stewards of our environment. No precedent for a building of this type currently exists within the city of Houston. Being a complex project with a multitude of stake-holders, we began by cultivating a thorough understanding of the business model. Information gathering, identifying the project’s goals and understanding the underlying vision culminated in a full-day design charrette during which the project’s direction was established.
One of the greatest challenges and brightest virtues was the project site itself. The site rests along one of Bray’s Bayou’s tributaries and only 400 feet from the bayou, itself. The potential for picturesque views and interaction with one of Houston’s most unique and defining environments – the bayou system – was compelling. The truth was less palpable. Boulders of construction debris from years-old local development, garbage from upstream and dumping by irresponsible individuals barely hinted at the potential offered by such a promising location. Particularly challenging was the questionable nature of the ground itself. The potential for buried construction waste, unstable soil composition and a site that slopes toward the gully all contributed to careful site planning to ensure the building would last well beyond typical short-sighted development. We believe this long-term approach adds value to our projects. Internal planning also ties back to our own values, offering flexible space that can readily be adapted for future uses, should the current function leave the building.