Botanical Research Institute of Texas
CLIENT Botanical Research Institute of Texas / SIZE 12 acres + Green Roof & Walls / STATUS Completed 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture / LEED Platinum Certification
Given the heat and the continuous presence of the Texas sun, the play of light andshade became a design frame. Water management was very important in this project since droughts are followed by torrential rains. The parking lot along with the roofs is part of an active stormwater management system and research field, an ecological working system. Water then needs to be contained, cleaned and stored for drought-period reuse. Additionally, the water collected from roofs is stored in a cistern and reused for supplying a pond and for watering plants in a drought, and the roof. The green roof is also a niche for preserving the beautiful Fort Worth Prairie in a new form for the future.
The main entrance, which unites the Botanical Research Institute to the Botanic Garden consists of a major display of plantings based on “Systematics,” a type of research which is the core mission of BRIT. BRIT describes systematics as research seeking an understanding of evolutionary relationships among species—in other words, looking at species not as fixed entities but as evolving systems. Another element of our design is the representation of the Fort Worth Prairie geological strata: thin limestone and sands are recast as a set of seating ledges for the outdoor education space. The sustainable image of the institute is broadcast also by the walls of the herbarium which are designed with overlapping vines.