Award Winning Landscape Architecture Firm Creates 'High-Rise Oasis' in Downtown Houston

Jul 14, 2009, 10:00 ET from Kudela & Weinheimer

HOUSTON, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A two-tiered swimming pool, 20-foot Medjool date palms, a fire pit, and private cabanas are among the amenities of the 8th floor pool deck at One Park Place, downtown Houston's premier luxury high-rise apartment residence.


Developed by Houston landscape architecture and urban design firm, Kudela & Weinheimer, the terrace was designed as a "resort in the city." The 35,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, located on the 8th floor, has the ambiance of a true coastal resort, helped along by the innovative plantings and secluded niches created on several levels of the pool deck.

Landscaping for the One Park Place pool deck is not only aesthetically stunning but also incorporates the latest in rooftop materials, created for environmentally friendly applications. For example, all planting has been with Hydrotech Lite Top Extensive Blend soil, a lightweight soil with aggregate that helps retain moisture, reducing the amount of water needed.

Drip irrigation was used throughout the entire project to conserve water and promote healthier plants by providing a controlled steady flow to the area closest to the plants' roots - which has proven to be the most efficient method of irrigation.

"Our goal was to create a high-rise oasis," said Thad Kudela, design principal/partner of Kudela & Weinheimer. "We wanted to make it a gathering place for the apartment residents and still incorporate environmentally friendly materials that are key elements of urban design."

The dramatic Medjool date palm trees make a grand statement and create a focal point that complements the entire deck landscape. The heat- and wind-tolerant Medjool, a native of North Africa, boasts a thick canopy of silvery green to dark green, with fronds arching out and downward to create a more tropical look than other palm varieties.

Grass areas of the deck are synthetic field turf, commonly used with great success in sports stadiums. The turf is very low-maintenance and performs well on rooftop applications.

"I thought I could implement a resort-style deck for the One Park Place building, like the one I once visited at a Maui resort. Kudela & Weinheimer worked closely with me to achieve this resort-style deck. It was a challenge because K&W was creating this oasis, not on the beach, but in the middle of downtown Houston, 8 floors up, with limited space available," said the developer of One Park Place, Marvy Finger, president of The Finger Companies. "Kudela & Weinheimer did an outstanding job achieving my vision with the many challenges that were involved."

The 37-story One Park Place and pool deck were planned so that the west side of the building can take advantage of the afternoon sun and the downtown skyline, and the 8th floor is expected to be a center of activity for residents year-round.

The luxurious pool features two tiers, which are connected by a water flow-over from top to lower tier. As the water cascades over natural stone tiles, an ambient background noise adds to the tropical feel.

When they're not swimming in the pool, residents can relax with guests in one of eight 8-foot x 8-foot cabanas, each with its own ceiling fan. The cabanas are built with lightweight aluminum frames to resist corrosion and have natural-colored canvas side curtains that can be completely closed for privacy.

Yet another outdoor amenity is a large fire pit, which is run on natural gas, and four grilling stations throughout the area, also gas-run for safety, maintenance, and usability.

One Park Place, the first high-rise luxury apartment project developed in downtown Houston since the 1970s, opened in May.

For more information on Kudela & Weinheimer's contributions to One Park Place, please contact Nicole Grabow at 713-869-6987.

Kudela & Weinheimer was founded in 1991. The company provides landscape architecture, site planning, master planning and urban design services to architectural, engineering and development firms throughout Texas and the U.S. Kudela & Weinheimer has offices in Houston and San Antonio.

SOURCE Kudela & Weinheimer