DESTINATION FOR PLAY
Discovery Green is a 12-acre park in the heart of downtown Houston, Texas that opened to the public in April 2008. The park was transformed from an undeveloped, concrete eyesore into a beautiful and vibrant destination adjacent to the George R Brown Convention Centre, redefining the Houston downtown and instilling new civic pride in the city.
Originally a high-end residential inner-city neighbourhood, by the late 20th Century the Discovery Green site had been reduced to housing two large parking lots for the convention centre. Driven by a clear mission to provide an uncommonly beautiful urban greenspace in the heart of Houston that would serve as a village green for the city, a source of health and happiness for its citizens and a window into the incredible diversity of talents and traditions that enrich cultural life in Houston, the city acquired the land in 2002 with the support of a number of philanthropic partners and began its transformation.
As a final element of the development, and in preparation for the 2017 Super Bowl, the City of Houston created a pedestrian area that would become “Super Bowl El Centro”, a focal point for the city’s Super Bowl related play activities that was crowned by a significant catenary lighting installation from Ronstan.
In reshaping Discovery Green, Avenida de las Americas, at the East end of the Green, was reduced from eight traffic lanes to three to create space for a landscaped pedestrian mall and forecourt for the convention centre. Landscape designers, SWA Group, outfitted the space with a Ronstan Linear Grid catenary lighting feature to light and define the outdoor entertainment space.
The lighting structure allowed the designers to play with the mood and create a unique and welcoming atmosphere beneath a transparent ceiling. The final result is a safe and inviting public space that encourages visitors to congregate and enjoy community activities.
Ronstan’s role in the project included the design and analysis of the cable net, manufacture and supply of all cable net components and supervision of the installation. Ronstan managed the design process for the lighting system from Melbourne, Australia, adhering to an approach that has seen the company complete catenary lighting structures on three continents.
Ronstan understands how cables behave, how they will stretch and perform in a wide variety of conditions and specific load cases, which are ascertained for each project through a process of modelling and analysis. In essence, Ronstan “applies the science up-front” and arrives onsite, in this case in downtown Houston, with all elements of the structure clearly defined and ready to install to the exact planned geometry. All elements are premade to minimise site works.
The City of Houston believes that great cities are defined by their public spaces. The creation of Discovery Green with its catenary lighting structure has helped to rejuvenate the city and reactivate the downtown area.
Client Houston First
Architect/Landscape Designers SWA Group
Engineer Walter P Moore
Contractor/Builder Renfrow Co Metalsmiths
Design/Installation Ronstan Tensile Architecture and Vaughn Construction
Photography SWA Group | Jonnu Singleton
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