Buffalo Bayou Sabine to Bagby Promenade

The Buffalo Bayou Lighting and Public Art Master Plan is a larger initiative enhancing public appreciation, access, and use of the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. This project revitalized a blighted urban neighborhood, turning an underused and crumbling waterway downtown into a popular public space with walking trails, bike paths and other recreational facilities.


Lighting elements located in the bayou change from white to blue to reflect changes in the lunar cycle. In the new moon the lighting is all blue, echoing the darker night sky and allowing for optimal viewing of the stars that are visible at this time. The lights progressively switch to white along the bayou as the moon waxes, turning all white during the full moon. The brighter white lights appear to scatter the moonlight throughout the promenade, bringing the festive mood of a full moon to the visitors. Light fixtures are mounted under the bridges and aimed down at the water, avoiding light pollution to the night sky while using the reflectivity of the water to magnify the lighting effects. Fixtures are also integrated into the handrails and footpaths, illuminating only what is needed for safety and comfort while avoiding any glare or light spill.



Location Houston, Texas, USA
Date Completed 2006
Architect SWA Group
Artist Stephen Korns
Client Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Type Exterior + Landscapes
size1,000,000 ft2 / 90,000 m2
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Jeff Taylor
Project Team Papon Kasettratat
Press Architectural Record, May 2007
LD+A, Dec 2006
The Architect's Newspaper, May 2006
Photo Credits Jim Olive, L'O