Flexible Bayou Bands is an urban planning project designed to mitigate flooding through restoration of natural floodways combined with engineering of detention ponds. A potential site alongside lower Keegans Bayou at its intersection with US-59 has been identified and studied as a representative of the many bayou-freeway intersections throughout Houston.
A hydrological problem of freeway backups, an urban problem of automobile freeway feeds, and a social problem of segregated programs across the bayou urge the design to shift the neighborhood’s orientation from the freeway towards the bayou while simultaneously creating a retreating zone of green space. This is achieved by designing in vertical bands relative to the bayou. Not only do the bands reconfigure the roads to a ladder system favoring cross-bayou connection, but the pattern also provides opportunities for built spaces to shift against one another to increase flexibility. The building blocks are designed through matrixes of basic building geometries, whose combinations create enormous possibilities. In this study, an edge condition block is produced for introverted programs, while a center condition block is produced for more public uses.