Exhibit Showcases Ten Years of What Will Shape Houston

The face of Houston as a city is ever changing. Houston once as a port town, a space center, and now more increasingly home to the petroleum and medical industry. An exhibit at Houston's American Institute of Architecture is trying to predict where we go next.

The future of development in Houston may very well be on the walls of 315 Capitol Street in Downtown in the form of an exhibit named Houston 20/20 Visions: Ten Years To Clarity.

Covering two entire walls of the center, one side focuses on pictures of ongoing projects like the Buffalo Bayou, and the other on what the city could look like by 2020. Local Architect David W. Robinson was responsible for putting all these ideas together.

"They do range both from the very real brick and mortar projects to those which are purely fictional and unlikely ever to be built but something that casts the net broadly and something that hopefully engages our community with some excitement about what we could be."

Robinson emphasizes that integral to this study was the involvement of the architectural community, the Houston community itself and architecture students. In fact it was a particular idea from a local university that stood out.

"There’s one for Airline Boulevard in the Heights that was developed by a program at the University of Houston. I think that has some real tangible practical applications like what might be done with sidewalks and pedestrian culture along the street. Things that can enhance that area."

While reaching out to the community Robinson noticed a recurring theme of a desire to build more pedestrian areas, also known as livable centers. These are walkable, mixed-use places that offer different transit options while improving the environment and promoting economic development.  Something which Robinson believes shouldn’t be that hard given what Houston has achieved in the past. 

"This is a city of engineers that put men on the moon and built the Astrodome and in this regard some of these projects are actually quite modest when you think about it yet extremely exciting and something to live into in the next decade."

Executive Director of the Houston AIA Rusty Bienvenue has seen a large number of people come through his doors to see this exhibit and says you don’t have to be an architect to get it.

"This is put together in a way that embraces the general public. Anybody can understand this, I’m not an architect I understand it walking through here. It’s brilliant in that aspect that it does allow the everyday Houstonian that has no architectural training at all to understand what Houston could be."

The exhibit Houston 20/20 Visions: Ten Years To Clarity is on display at Houston’s American Institute of Architects in downtown until February 24th.

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...