The Memorial Guard Post houses volunteer officers as they provide 24-hour supervision of the Houston Police Memorial located between Buffalo Bayou and Memorial Drive near downtown Houston. The post is unique in that it establishes a visible connection to and interaction with the visiting public, drawing awareness to the memorial, its mission, and the heroic officers its presence represents. Placed within the floodplain the Guard Post’s design anticipated flooding events as they have occurred yearly in the city since 2013. The resilient 250 square foot building utilizes flood-resistant materials while allowing floodwaters to enter the structure. Additionally, all internal equipment was elevated in order to withstand the now-too-common, low-elevation floods along Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive.
The building was strategically oriented on the site to take advantage of multiple viewpoints, providing visual connections to the memorial, the surrounding site, and the city’s skyline. As a result, the design provides a secure facility for the officers and a gateway to the memorial. Visitors enter the site under a continuous folding plane of concrete that begins at ground level, wraps over the guard post, and terminates with elevated views of the memorial.
Ten days following the completion of construction, the Memorial site was inundated with the Memorial Day flood of 2015. The mindfulness and care that went into choosing the design and construction materials – solid concrete walls, bulletproof storefront glass, structural brick, and the aforementioned elevated equipment – prevented the memorial from enduring any significant damage. After one thorough power wash and a few minor electrical repairs, the post and Memorial re-opened to the public just a few days later. More recently, Hurricane Harvey completely submerged the Memorial and Guard Post and, once again, the project’s designed durability enabled it to be used shortly after the catastrophic event.