by: Laurie Johnson, May 18, 2006 12:05:00 am
Brays Bayou is undergoing a $450 million makeover to reduce the risk of flood damage and restore greenspace and wildlife. Caleb Joyce is a recent graduate of the University of Houston's graphic design department. He was chosen, along with several classmates, to design proposals for beautifying a section of the bayou located in Houston's East End. To prepare for the design project, he and the others researched Project Brays and took a tour of the area they wanted to improve and Joyce was inspired by the wetlands areas.
"I saw it as an opportunity to put somewhat of a deck and an informational sign kind of stating that -- I named it the Mason Marsh -- and as people are walking along this trail they'd see this sign 'The Mason Marsh' and it would show them that it's not just a swamp but it also filters the water, keeping Galveston cleaner, it -- you know -- brings in birds, it also helps with flooding, in essence it's a big sponge so it helps water stay out of these people's homes so it really just educates the community."
Right now, many parts of the Bayou are constructed from concrete and retain little aesthetics. But as Project Brays progresses, county officials want to add more amenities along the waterway. UH Associate Professor Patrick Peters says the graphic design students developed signage and path markers, while his students came up with ideas for structures that would fit into the environment.
"The kind of improvements are quite -- vary a great deal. The architectural students developed, primarily, buildings and landscapes associated with those buildings, such as a 100 percent recycling center, public amphitheatre and ecological center as well as recreational center. And those are primarily built structures that take advantage of the location along the bayou."
The students' designs are just that at this point. There's no promises that they'll get any further than blueprints and mock-ups. But UH Associate Professor Cheryl Beckett says the designs will go on public display in June when Houstonians will see for themselves the kinds of improvements that could be made to Brays Bayou.
"From our standpoint we would, of course, love for these to be considered as serious proposals that may be implemented. But I think maybe more importantly than that, is that you want the city itself to become excited about the possibilities of this project and all the things that it could possibly implement."
The Brays Bayou Design Project will be on display through the summer at One Houston Center. For more information on Project Brays and flood mitigation efforts along the bayou, visit our website kuhf dot org. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.