The urban history of Houston is really the story of Houston’s highways; they shape and define its landscape and dictate its development. Highway intersections create unique spaces that are the convergence of movement and people. These spaces therefore represent an important place in the city that is largely neglected.

The collateral effects of the intersection create a challenge to the unity of the city. The intersection creates voids where the city disappears and reappears on the other side. This residual space created by the highway’s intricate patterns of circulation has the potential to become a space that is integrated with the urban fabric of the city. Therefore we propose to eliminate this no man’s land, to fill in the void that is created and to activate the space by giving purpose to it.

As the second worst bottleneck in the nation, the intersection of interest is the 610 loop and the interstate 10 exchange. The convergence of these two highways creates an intriguing layering of structure and road, but most importantly, a large expanse of land is left empty and undeveloped because of the challenges associated with its use.

The goal of this proposal then becomes to weave the city over and under the highway; to slip the city into the void that the highway presents and in doing so, eliminating the uniquely separate status that the highway presents.  More specifically this case study will look at the relationship of the highway intersections to its surrounding areas. It is a study of design interventions that will yield a usable space that will better the life and fabric of the city.

RDA Initiatives for Houston 2009


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