Texas Innovates is a non-profit promoting a science, education, and entrepreneurship “hard-tech” innovation ecosystem in Houston, focusing on solving major industry energy challenges, and paving the way for resilient smart urban neighborhoods. The downtown Velasco Campus features an Innovation Center, alongside a micro-apartment and retail center that integrates:
- A new high density live-work-play community, based on a healthy lifestyle and green low impact living/mobility, with up to 500 residents onsite
- The existing local community with open green public spaces, high quality services, affordable housing, and a growing base of new-collar technology jobs
The LEED Platinum Campus includes a power exporting microgrid, water reuse, integrated flood management green spaces and urban agriculture. The design promotes green mobility, especially biking, and growing Houston’s connected green spaces. In case of future extreme weather events, the resilient Campus will serve as a city emergency center.
Texas Innovates will manage the site, providing shared equipment and lab services, and incubation for venture backed and local entrepreneurs. The technology focus areas, and corporate co-location opportunity, will bring the best global startups to Houston, creating benefits for the community and maintaining Houston’s position as the energy capital of the world into the next century.
The proposed program of laboratories, agricultural space, offices, commercial and retail space, and short and long-term residential showcases a cross-section of diverse disciplines and users. The physical arrangement of this program is also designed to provide diversity in the form of spatial arrangements (plazas, courtyards, rooftop gardens, boulevards, park space) to encourage a variety of uses and users. No clear distinction is made between private/public zones, rather they are intertwined to create a dialogue between the building and the surrounding area. With the planned development of properties across the bayou, a pedestrian (or vehicular) bridge would further connect the site to a greater number of potential users.
The design is developed with attention to community needs for green space, artistic collaboration with existing strong Hispanic community and a need for a development that can remediate contaminants on the ground and prevent runoff into the Bayou. Site improvements integrate wetlands, detention pond that doubles up as outdoor amphitheater during dry months and promotes open landscaped spaces for artistic intervention from the community enhancing their historic roots. Sizable area on the elevated podium is allocated for community garden for both the inhabitants of Texas innovates campus as well as its neighbors to grow local food produce. The balconies on the 18-story high rise overlooks the plaza and wetlands on eastern side, downtown view on western side and a panoramic view of the bayou on the north, east and western side of the building. The bioswales encourage the growth and sustainability of the natural habitat. The design integrates inside-out of indoor and outdoor environment with thoughtfully folded form and projections resulting in creatively bringing the nature into the built form. The green walls and green roofs not only keep the building cool but also encourages growth of local/regional flora. The building in raised on podium and all services are elevated form ground to avoid flood damages.