The Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston, TX

Project Description

Bids had already been solicited by the City of Houston to demolish The Cistern when the design team wrangled an opportunity to drop through a roof hatch and view the space. The defunct underground drinking water reservoir, built in 1927, had been out of service for years and the city was considering proposals for commercial uses of the space such as a parking garage.

The designers saw one of the most powerful and memorable industrial structures ever built in the U.S. The vastness of the space, its complete darkness except for the modest dose of light introduced by open hatches, the relentless rhythm of repetitive structural elements and the 17-second reverberation time that magnifies sound to an almost physical presence all conspire to create an extraordinary architectural experience.



Texas Society of Architects Design Award
CODA Worx, 2017 Best Public Space Exhibition
Interior Design Best Of Year Award, Shining Moment category
Society of American Registered Architects Excellence Award
Architect’s Newspaper Best Of (Adaptive Reuse category)
Contract Magazine Award, Sustainable Category
AIA Austin Design Award
AIA Houston Design Award
IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter Design Excellence Award Government category
Preservation Houston Martha Peterson Good Brick Award

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