The Cotswold Project began with the dream of a private foundation. It envisioned a waterway in place of a street to spur development of the area. In 1998, the foundation turned the project over to the City of Houston who contracted with the Houston Downtown Management District to deliver the improvements. “Cotswold” became a $62 million project that rebuilt streets “from the underground up” and provided a number of entertaining public amenities. The City preserved the foundation’s original water concept by incorporating a number of exciting water features as focal points for the historic district. Trees for Houston, Scenic Houston and The Downtown District also are underwriting improvements to the area.
Public art is an integral part of the city’s vision for Cotswold. Artists worked with the Cotswold design team to realize a key objective of the Master Plan: “to foster a thoughtful and vibrant sense of street life through the introduction of visual elements which range from intimate in scale to monumental.”
The Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (CACHH) is coordinating the Cotswold art program. Artworks chosen for the area focus primarily on paving enhancements and water features to create a unique sense of place for visitors, business owners and residents. These features include sidewalk mosaics, bike racks, decorative grates, fountains and grand water “vessels” for the Central Amenity Zone of the Cotswold Project.
This 14-foot columns crowned with greenery along Prairie are some of the many architectural features added to the Cotswold Project to enliven the streetscape. Reminiscent of decorative obelisks used throughout history to mark significant locations, they add visual interest and a “sense of place” to this part of downtown. Sidewalks around these columns have been widened to reduce the width of the street and make it more attractive to pedestrians. Eleven of them have been placed at intervals along Prairie St. between Louisiana and Crawford.
Texas Downtown Association – 2003
Awards Winners Public Improvement Big City American Consulting
Engineers Council – Engineering Excellence Award
AIA Houston Design Award – Architecture Honor Design
Award American Planning Association – Highest Honor Award