Studio PAULBAUT Paul Kweton, AIA



Hotel+Urban Park+Parking Garage+Tunnels=?


Design Studio at UofH

Adjunct Prof. Paul Kweton

Studio Topic

Recent planning initiatives including the Western Downtown Facilities Masterplan (ongoing) and North Houston Highway Improvement Project identify the need for intensive planning and redevelopment of private and public facilities in western Downtown. Many buildings/properties have surpassed their useful lifespans and are neither functioning properly nor inviting for the general public and downtown workforce. Downtown across all sectors is experiencing a strong development peak, yet City of Houston facilities based in Downtown are lagging behind the local market and competitive peer cities. Present efforts of the City of Houston to consolidate its facilities will create new space and provide opportunities for new public and private development. The studio will zoom into one specific area of the Western Downtown Facilities Masterplan, Tranquillity Park. The studios objective is to design a holistic, hybrid development comprised of a hotel, urban park, parking garage and tunnel program.

The students are challenged to question and analyze the archetypical design/program of a hotel, urban park, parking garage and the Houston tunnel and propose a hybrid (mixed-use) building / development including the four program mentioned above that offers a functional, aesthetic, monumental and unique solution that operates as a focal point, landmark and event attractor for Downtown Houston, its inhabitants and visitors. In addition, the students are asked to scrutinize the relationship of the private hotel program, the public / private parking, the public urban park program in conjunction with the semi-private tunnel program and present a unified building structure that celebrates and highlights the meeting and merging points of the four different programs. The success of the design is based on the execution of a hybrid building typology that goes beyond utilitarian function and whose form and spatial qualities are derived from the merging process of the building functions and spaces as response to this unique site, historical depth (dedicated to the lunar landing) and attached natural challenges (prone to flooding).


University of Houston
College of Architecture and Design