A new park by SWA, RDC, Studio Red, and Halff in Houston moves forward

Hill on Sims

A new park by SWA, RDC, Studio Red, and Halff in Houston moves forward

Sims Basin (Courtesy SWA)

In Houston, the Harris County Commissioners Court recently approved a spending package that will help fund a new park designed by SWA, Studio Red Architects, RDC, and Halff. Hill at Sims is a forthcoming green space in Sunnyside sited along Sims Bayou—a 20-mile bayou that meanders across Southwest Houston.

The project kicked off in 2019 thanks to a $7.5 million donation from the Brown Foundation. With the recently approved $28.3 million in funding, Hill at Sims will primarily serve Sunnyside, South Acres, and Crestmont Park—parts of town that have long been deprived of civic resources.

Rodney Ellis, a Houston politician who grew up in Sunnyside, has long fought for the project. “While we still have some distance to go, we can right some wrongs along the way,” Ellis said after the funding was approved. “Today, we’re celebrating something that’s being done right. This is park equity in action.”

The park offers 360-degree views of Houston, its skyline, and the surrounding landscape afforded by other nearby greenspaces. (Courtesy SWA)

The new park by SWA will offer visitors 360-degree views of Houston vis-a-vis a new pavilion at hill crest, roughly seven miles from downtown. It will also provide a new pedestrian bridge spanning the bayou, and 4.5 miles of trails for biking and hiking.

The trails will seamlessly link pedestrians to nearby parks, schools, and health facilities. It will also connect to the Sims Bayou Greenway, another project by SWA’s Houston studio in the area.

Another pavilion is also planned for the site (Courtesy SWA)

The project is a collaboration between SWA, the Houston Parks Board, and a long list of agencies, advocates, designers, and community leaders who have worked to build a new park on site. Minor Design is responsible for signage and interpretation.

Construction is happening in phases. Phase one commenced in 2022, which prepared much of the site for the future. Phase two will deliver new pavilions throughout the park for the public to enjoy.

Hill at Sims anticipates welcoming parkgoers and visitors in late 2025.