[ Editor's Note: The following comment was left onÂ archpaper.com in response to our Unveiled on the Gensler-designed Alessandra Hotel in Houston (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW).Â Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper.Â ANÂ welcomesÂ reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please emailÂ email@example.com.Â ]
â€œGlass ceilings permit guests in theÂ lobby to see through to the top floorÂ restaurant.â€ That lobby will become theÂ biggest gentlemenâ€™s club in Houston.
Rangeview High School
[Editor's Note:Â The following areÂ reader-submitted responsesÂ to the editorialÂ â€œAcceptable if not Nobleâ€ (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW), which considered the imminent demolition ofÂ John Johansenâ€™sÂ Mummerâ€™s TheaterÂ in Oklahoma City and the renovation ofÂ Ulrich Franzenâ€™s Alley Theatre in Houston. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper.Â ANÂ welcomesÂ reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please emailÂ firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
There were local groups working hardÂ to preserve and repurpose the Mummers Theater and conceptual plans put forth that incorporated the existing theater into a larger cultural and commercial mixed-use complex. My father supported and encouraged these efforts as an important and necessary evolution of this building, and architecture in general, to reinvent itself by adapting and embracing new ideas and technology.
Although Houston has been expanding outward for decades, its bus system has hardly kept up. This is not surprising given the track record for many American cities where cars take precedence over public transit. But what is unexpectedâ€”to the point of being radicalâ€”is a proposal that will grant greater, more efficient access to Houstonâ€™s commuters for not a penny more than its current cost.
Dunlavey Street in central Houston typifies the image of a Southwestern city street. It’s a sprawling, four lane affair that is approximately 50 percent usable, 80 percent pedestrian unsafe, and, in this case, 100 percent in need of an update. Transportation officials are evening out the numbers forÂ a proposed road diet that would reduce the four-lane street to two and using the outer lane space for parking, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes.
Soto: The Houston Penetrable
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
ThroughÂ September 1, 2014
The final installation in JesÃºs Rafael Sotoâ€™s Penetrables seriesâ€”Houston Penetrableâ€”will be on view at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as of May 8. An interactive display of 24,000 PVC tubes, each hand painted and tied, will hang from the second story of the museumâ€™s Cullinan Hall.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
1001 Bissonnet, Houston
Through May 26
The Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection is one of the most remarkable decorative arts collections in the world, and goes a long way toward challenging the idea that there is a difference between decorative and high art. Although primarily American in scope, it also encompasses significant pieces by acclaimed international artists.
AN recently profiled the emerging architectural typology of spaceports across the country, and now there’s news fromÂ the Houston site that helped launch the dream of space travel decades ago.Â Independence Shuttle, a full-scale replica of NASAâ€™s iconic Space Shuttle, recently was moved from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) to its next-door neighbor, Space Center Houston.
To some people, the relocation was a matter of mere logistics. To others, however, the transfer symbolized not just a lessening of power and precedence associated with Johnson Space Center, but with NASAâ€™s space program as a whole.
Houston is set to double the amount of tax breaks it gives toÂ developers for downtownÂ apartments and condos to try to lure people to the city’s sleepy business district.Â The City Council unanimously agreed to expand the Downtown Living Initiative, which first launched a year and a half ago, to offer tax breaks for 5,000 residential units, up from a previous cap of 2,500.
The historic Niels Esperson Building has lit up the Houston skyline since 1927, but far below the tower’s neo-Classical cupola, a basement space connecting to a series of tunnels meanderingÂ underneath the city has remainedÂ out of the spotlight. Now, the buildingâ€™s basement gets to play catch up in the fame game with a $2.5 million renovation spearheaded by architectural firm Page.
Never mind! After all that fussÂ to preserve the iconic Texas tin structure, Rice University’sÂ Art Barn met the Grim Reaper on Wednesday, April 16. While a group was able to salvage the buildingâ€™s corrugated metal siding, wrecking crews tore away at the Martel Center’s structure, marking a definitive end to efforts of preservationists to move the building to another site in Houston. Andy Warholâ€™s famous oak tree planted in front of the former structure will remain intact, but once the dust clears only a grass lawn will serve as tombstone. A rogue power line temporarily stalled the demolition, thereby buying a commemorative moment for the Art Barnâ€™s historical and cultural import. The buildingâ€™s spirit will live on through the Menil Collection it once housed, as well as its legacy with other tin houses.
Leaving campus the way it came inâ€”amid a swirl of shifting plans and controversyâ€”seems to be the modus operandi for Rice Universityâ€™s Martel Center, more colloquially known as â€œthe Art Barn.â€ After reports last month that the building would be demolished, Rice University changed its mind and announced that it would, instead, relocate the historic structure to the Fourth Ward area of Houston, just west of downtown.
The Art Barn has graced Rice Universityâ€™s campus since 1969. Originally conceived by John and Dominique de Menil as what was meant to be a quick-fix housing solution for their prestigious private art collection, the squatter became father to a generation of its kind, and established itself as a cultural mainstay not just within the university, but the community as a whole.
Itâ€™s no secret that Houston is going through a growth spurt. The city currentlyÂ has four central business districts that, if separated, would each be among the countryâ€™s top 15 employment centers. In the next 30 years, 3.5 million people are projected to move to the 8-county region, with two million of those concentrated in Harris County.