Bayou building renovated to prevent flooding

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Flooding and severe weather are common occurrences in the Houston area. Some architects are working on ways to prevent indoor flooding.

Recent renovations make a downtown building more resilient during flooding.

A stormy day on the banks of the bayou near downtown Houston may bring worry for some, but those at the historic Sunset Coffee Building are ready.

ABC13 took a tour of the building with Florence Tang of the Rice Design Alliance.

"This building flooded about one, one and a half feet during the Tax Day floods," said Tang.

RELATED:Floodwater wreaks havoc on Houston roadways

The level close to the bayou is known to flood, but as Tang explained, the renovation architects prepared for it with huge doors.

"The overhead doors are perforated metal so that water will flow through the metal, and flow through this level, below the building," Tang explained.

From the outside it looks like a solid door, but a closer look reveals the porous material. When opened, the doors act as massive flood vents.

The building is now home to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and is one of several Houston built or renovated commercial and residential buildings to be featured in a recent RDA tour of locations that have been designed to be more resilient to flooding.

Partnership President Anne Olson said Houston has come a long way in understanding the realities of living along the bayou, and architects are creating ways to live in harmony with the bayou system.

"We're often asked if we can have the same kind of development along Buffalo Bayou that they have in San Antonio, and the answer that we always give is no, because the Bayou does flood," said Olson.

More information about the recent architecture tour and the Rice Design Alliance can be found at: RiceDesignAlliance.com

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