Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has completed a three-semester–long study of Houston’s future, given its current sprawling urban conditions and rapid growth. The project, conducted alongside 21 University of Houston students and faculty members Matt Johnson, Peter Zweig, and Jason Logan, focused on ways of addressing the problems that arise from Houston’s historical lack of zoning in conjunction with the largely unregulated growth of industry and capitalism. These approaches include reinventing the current energy infrastructure, changing real estate and density, and leveraging the lack of zoning to generate new ideas.
“Houston is the only major city in the United States without zoning and form-based codes,” said Logan. “Surprisingly, we found a lack of zoning can generate exceptional forms of urbanism and architecture.”
By exploring how to rebuild and rethink the development of the central business district, students were challenged to demonstrate the viability of designs from an economic, cultural, social, and ecological point of view, said Zweig. Their vision proposes a dynamic, optimistic future that is actually occurring faster than anyone has anticipated.
The culmination of the studio project is an exhibition at the College of Architecture and Design’s Mashburn Gallery, which opened on November 30. Additionally, the work is set to be published in a book in fall 2017.
News via: University of Houston