Some zoomy conceptual renderings of the University of Texas’s coming Houston campus, centered on the largely undeveloped intersection of Buffalo Spdwy. and Willowbend Blvd., made their debut at last month’s Board of Regents meeting, where the intended purchase of land for the project was announced. Buffalo Spdwy. gently winds through the drawings of the new campus to a track and several baseball diamonds along Holmes Rd. (which runs horizontally across the top of the image above).
Although the images are only “concepts”, the pictures do provide a sense of how the campus might unfold: For example, that linear water feature shown at the center of the campus aligns with an existing drainage ditch on the property, and the 3 long, low structures in the foreground are good candidates for parking garages, which will be needed regardless of the new institution’s yet-to-be-decided purpose.
Existing residential communities and industrial parks are here rendered as sparsely-treed fields — the boundary of the land slated for purchase by UT currently houses several apartment complexes on the north side and the Orkin Industrial Surplus facility to the south.
But another conceptual rendering (this one looking northwest across Holmes Rd. towards the distant Williams Tower) shows the campus in place amongst some of its eclectic neighbors:
The industrial parks currently containing 1-800-RADIATOR HOUSTON, Merry X-Ray, and warehouser Chempak International are visible on the left side of the frame. To the west and north, the locale is surrounded by similar structures housing a smorgasboard of laboratory service companies and medical equipment suppliers.
The sports fields sketched along Holmes Road will be in good company: they are caddy-corner to the Wildcat Golf Club. The 36-hole course’s rolling hills measure up as some of the highest terrain in the county, and originate from the heaping trash piles buried beneath the fairways. For more topography, visit the towering dusty mounds stored at the Houston Crushed Concrete facility, just east past the open saltwater pits of the Texas Brine Company next door. To the north, UT’s new campus is also just a (former) Astroworld away from the Sol Lynn/Industrial Transformers Superfund Site, which is still struggling to keep its PCB-laced groundwater to itself.
Set within the Pierce Junction oil field, which boomed in the 1950s and still pumps out a trickle of crude today, the campus’s location will allow students and researchers an intimate peek into both Houston’s economic history and the modern industrial-medical-residential kaleidoscope. (The titular Junction, where the Houston Tap Railroad tied in to the BBB&C Line in 1856 and cemented the city’s trade importance, is located only a few blocks east down Holmes.)
Though UT has yet to assign a purpose to the campus, the new facilities will be in a primo spot to pass notes with the Texas Medical Center, U of H, Rice, and other well-read medical and research institutions. The Fannin South MetroRail stop is already an achievable 1-mile dash from the site, and the campus (labeled SITE in yellow below) will be well-positioned if those fickle plans for commuter rail along 90A ever take off.
- UT System Plans to Open a New Campus in Houston [Texas Tribune]
- University Of Texas System Announces Plans To Expand In Houston [Houston Public Media]
Images: Houston Public Media