The Grove at Discovery Green
The Grove revels in being an extension of its memorable site, Discovery Green park, in the heart of a downtown Houston. This 17,180-square-foot restaurant is a series of long thin bars that run parallel to a magnificent double row of live oak trees. The first bar contains dining spaces above and below in a steel frame with large fixed and operable glass panels. Each space has a different vista into the complex web of trunks and branches through various kinds of glass that admit soft north light.
The view under the tree canopy connects diners to the primary lawn of Discovery Green and to glimpses of intensely colorful, commissioned art work by Austin artist Margo Sawyer. The second bar is made of a ruddy Gulf Coast brick and houses two grand exterior stairs as well as bathrooms, an elevator and interior circulation. The third, containing the kitchen, is wrapped in sustainably farmed ipe wood. The final bar is brick again and houses delivery and administration.
Downstairs, the main bar is located at the west end of the building, affording a view of the downtown skyline as well as the live oaks. Private decks allow the main dining room to spill out under the trees in fine weather, giving a strong sense of connection to nature in all seasons. At the east end, two private dining spaces can be enclosed from the dining room or opened to it via massive, sliding glass walls.
Upstairs, the outdoor dining experience is dominant, with a skyline view to the west that is even more dramatic than below. The “treehouse,” shaded decks that nestle into the upper branches of the live oaks, offers informal spaces for a drink or light meal. In inclement weather, these rooms can be fully enclosed by sliding glass panels.
Terraces on the back side of the restaurant serve a dual purpose. They act as both "green" roofs which improve air quality, help retain stormwater and moderate urban heat island effects, and as herb gardens to supply the restaurant's kitchen.
By breaking the restaurant into a series of smaller parts defined by function and by using a range of warm, tactile materials, the building becomes a natural extension of the park and the trees with a scale, texture and color palette that complements its surroundings. The Grove, along with the entire park, has achieved Gold LEED certification.
"View From Above." Contract, April 2009.
“The Grove in Discovery Green.” Architect, March 2009.
Into the Woods. Hospitality Design, November 2008.
AIA Houston, Design Award for Architecture
IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter. Design Excellence for Hospitality.
Society of American Registered Architects Design Award of Excellence
Gulf Coast Chapter, ASID. Best of Hospitality
Gulf Coast Chapter, ASID. Best in Show - Commercial
Publications + News
- How Green Space Can Spur Economic Development
- Transforming An Urban Core: Discovery Green's Ten Year Anniversary
- Page Architectural Tour of Downtown Houston