Sketching the Growth of the Hermann Park Garden Center

This is what Hermann Park says it would like to look like when it turns 100 next year: This drawing of Centennial Gardens from Chicago landscape architecture firm Hoerr Schaudt shows the blossoming of the current 15-acre Garden Center that’s between the museums and golf course along Hermann Dr. Looking forward to its centennial in 2014, the park conservancy has also recruited Peter Bohlin, the architect behind the Highland Village Apple Store, to design a new entrance:


That envelope-like entrance seems to come to a vanishing point inside what the conservancy’s calling Centennial Gardens; it opens up to flowering promenades:

Here’s the view from that ziggurat-like hill, looking back toward the entrance pavilion:

Plans show further upgrades to the rose garden . . .

. . . and the introduction of what the conservancy calls an “arid garden:”

And the entrance pavilion, heading back toward the parking lot and a second promenade:

Images: Hoerr Schaudt (gardens) and Bohlin Cwynski Jackson (buildings) via Hermann Park Conservancy

16 Comment

  • Houston’s park renaissance is pretty darn cool.
    Houston could have FOUR world class parks:
    Discovery green, Buffalo Bayou park, Herman (after these updates), AND Memorial (hopefully after the TIRZ annexation and $ infusion).

  • I don’t know about World Class anything if there are 4 of em in Houston. Know what I’m saying? I hear you tho.

  • Good choice of architect. Should be a very nice entrance building.

  • There’s no wow factor, and if there is. I missed it.

  • There uas been a lot of redevelopment in Hermann lately (restored carriage trail, Coates bike bridge, night lighting, Brays Bayou hike/bike trail, et al).

    I just hope TXDOT doesn’t F up the momentum by puttign their Med Center connector ramp through or over the park.

  • the “wow” factor will be in 2015 when it is a homeless tent city

  • Valentin.
    Seriously, that doesn’t please you? Perhaps you could raise some money and volunteer your time to improve it to the “wow” you desire.

    I think it is great, and good for Houston. As the city becomes more dense, these parks will play an ever more important role in our lives.

    Great job Hermann Park! Another reason to be proud of Houston.

  • Too bad it’s apparently fenced off from the rest of the park. I guess they have to do that for their special events, but it kind of makes Hermann Park smaller.

  • How much concrete are we talking about? Is that a concrete entry, or would it be permeable?

  • The landscape architect who drew the rendering with the sidewalk of canopying, flowering trees must have neglected to look up Houston’s weather and realize that spring doesn’t exist there, and consequently, that trees don’t bloom with flowers like they do up in Chicago (or any other half-decent place in the world for that matter.)

  • @Bobby Hadley—landscape architects are usually not aware of the types of plants that will work best in our climate or in a given situation. I work in the industry, and the level of ignorance of the growth habits of plants among landscape architects is just appalling. If they had to take at least 9 hours of horticulture classes for their degree they would be much better informed.

  • Red buds? I don’t know if they are “native” to this area of the south/gulf coast, but they do seem to bloom in the spring. But they’re obviously not using exclusively native plants.

  • Bobby/Shady: If you ever want to volunteer some landscaping design services, we have a bunch of places that are ripe for redesign (hell, just any “Design” at all :)
    But I love Herman park. That’s why I don’t understand why property around Almeda&Southmore by 288 is so cheap. Homes are dirt cheap, rents are dirt cheap (apts in the $400-$600 range), yet you’re close to freeways, parks, schools, downtown, midtown, Rice, med center, etc.
    Never understood why someone would drop $$ on a big house out in nowhere land when there are awesome houses “close in” for the same price or less.

  • I have to admit that I’ve not given the Herman Park Conservancy enough leeway in the past. I had thought that the realignment of Macgregor would have created some traffic problems and detracted from the experience of the park. And it does a little bit; but that was so completely outweighed by all the good that came of it.

    I’m looking forward to good things that will come of the garden center redesign.

    @ Cody: The Almeda @ Southmore neighborhood is no more seedy than Montrose by my observation, however it has more black residents and the schools that it feeds into are also regarded as being slower to turn around as a consequence of that fact and of how they are zoned. Whether a prospective homebuyer or investor is racist or not, a reasonable person should anticipate that there are a sufficient number of racist homebuyers or of homebuyers that believe that there are many racist homebuyers that one should substantially discount a neighborhood that is of such character. I’m not justifying that morally, however I think that its a reasonable theory backed by empirical observation.

    Consequently, I think that this area should be attractive to apartment developers that offer luxurious, new, safe and secure apartments for rent — as well as the steady trickle of new gated townhome clusters for sale; however the older housing stock will probably continue to be neglected because the tenant base and physical layout will seem unsafe on some subconscious level by white people and affluent minorities, too.

  • Too bad it’s apparently fenced off from the rest of the park. I guess they have to do that for their special events, but it kind of makes Hermann Park smaller.

    If I remember correctly from the Bohlin’s presentation at the MFA a while back, this is taking the place of the current Houston Garden Center, which is currently fenced off as well, so it’s kind of a wash. However, I believe the intention is that this space will be accessible to the public when there are no special events scheduled.

  • Cody – There is a decent amount of proposed apartment activity right near Hermann Park, adjacent to 288. The proforma rents are not exactly what I would call “cheap” at >$2/SF. As for the houses in those neighborhoods, while they are pretty, IMO, there are a lot of duplexes/quadplexes which may be preventing people from wanting to buy next door. Nothing wrong with du/quadplexes, but many in those neighborhoods are poorly kept.