ArchFan

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ArchFan last won the day on June 17 2014

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  1. Hanover builds attractive high-rises. I think we're lucky to have them. Their joint project (Northshore) with Trammell Crow in Austin is nice also. I had high hopes for Arabella, but it is turning out to be a bright white eyesore that I look at every day, and that bugs me. Its been said before, but an advantage of living in such a building is that you don't have to look at it.
  2. New 58 story residential for Austin

    In Seattle, there's a similar Jenga-like condo tower going up. I like the way the architects rotated the blocks slightly about the vertical axis of the building. OTOH, I think the skin of The Independent is more attractive than the Seattle tower, at least judging from the rendering of it.
  3. I have memories of driving from west Houston to Galveston in the late 50s or early 60s. We would take either Memorial or Hwy 90 (now I-10) inbound. If using the Hwy 90 route, we would take Washington Avenue to downtown, then navigate past the then-new Humble (ExxonMobil) Bldg, then hook up with I-45 on the SE edge of downtown. That always seemed to take forever. Humble had a rather cool, antique-y service station on the block just west of the Humble Bldg. I also recall driving to Dallas during the time that I-45 was replacing US 75, segment by segment. AIR, the last segment was often referred to as "The Death Strip", due to being somewhat hilly with basically no shoulders and lots of slow-moving vehicles people dared to try passing. I think that was somewhere between Centerville and Streetman. The latter town was interesting to visit, in that it had once been a prosperous cotton town with a number of banks and businesses, all gone by then. Mostly just a few foundations left to their buildings.
  4. Miniature Golf Courses in Houston

    Not sure if these have been mentioned. In the 60s, there was a Putt-Put course on South Voss Road at I-10 (US 90), where Las Alamedas Restaurant used to be located. It was a pretty cool little course, since they took advantage of the topography there: Briar Branch Creek had a pretty steep ravine at that time. I seem to recall there was another on the triangular plot on Yorktown @ Westheimer, where Ruth's Chris and the Aloft Hotel are now. It would have been adjacent to the little amusement park there, "Wee Wild West".
  5. Regarding the tunnel question, IIRC when Foley's (later Macy's) existed there was a tunnel that connected the main store to Foley's Garage across Travis (i.e., the block in question).
  6. Amazon HQ2

    Re Compaq: my recollection is that the guys who sketched the original design on a paper napkin were (or had been) TI employees at the Stafford plant. It's a shame that Houston lost one of its largest companies, which also happened to be a nationally important tech company for a number of years. Re Amazon: OK, I won't mention that the TMC was built on land that was (or could have been) part of Hermann Park. However, when 610 and 10 were built, they took a lot of land from Memorial Park. Supposedly the Hogg Family that donated Memorial Park to the CoH did so on the condition that the land would revert to them if it was every used for any purpose other than as a park. So ... I'm not sure on the details of how that transfer was done in accordance with that ... perhaps eminent domain?
  7. AT&T Building

    I'm old enough (unfortuately ;-) to remember the original shorter building that had windows. I don't remember exactly when (probably late 60s or 70s), but they added a bunch of floors above, with fewer windows.
  8. Memorial Hermann Hospital

    Frank Lloyd Wright was quoted as having used profanity when expressing his opinion of the Shamrock Hilton (now long since demolished). I didn't like that building either, but at least it had some interesting and over-the-top history associated with it. The MemorialHermann Tower is way worse. I see it every day from my balcony near Uptown and it annoys me every time. It's an embarrassment to Houston. MetroNational has put up a bunch of ugly buildings in their big patch of land out there. Makes me wonder if the family that owns it all has a child that they gave the design contracts to, without concern for aesthetics.
  9. Defunct Houston Restaurants

    About Las Alamedas: the one in La Centerra is owned by the same man who had the one on Katy @ Voss. His son (I think) has a similar restaurant, called Las Ventanas, in the old district of Addicks on Katy and Hwy 6.
  10. Defunct Houston Restaurants

    I remember most of those places, too. The Boston Sea Party was great, but I tend to doubt that an all-you-eat buffet with similar choices could operate today without having to charge exorbitant prices. At Good Time Charlie's (a better-than-average food court), I vaguely recall several good places ... one was a shwarma place. The giant antique music player (can't recall what it was called) was a gem. After they sold it, I hope it went to some place where they maintain it and people can still enjoy it. There is still a Christies at 6029 Westheimer, by the way.
  11. BTW, I grew up (and spent most of my life) nearby and I'm really disappointed with MetroNational's design choices for most of this property. As a child, my sister rode her horse on this property. I liked it better the way it was back then. (I'm reminded of an architecture prof's comment on a building in Austin: "This obviously wasn't designed by an architect ... at least, I hope not."
  12. Well, on the bright side: the new ZaZa may be ugly, but at least it serves to hide the even uglier condo building they built to the south of it. I also don't care for their lame idea to prettify the 2 big parking garages (S and SE from Zaza) by painting their north sides with forest scenes. Looks cheap and tacky when new ... and do they plan to repaint them as they weather? A more attractive and less temporary approach would have been to put actual real, green plants on trellises covering the garage (as is being done a lot more in other cities).
  13. Marlowe: 20-floors, Downtown Condo Tower

    Randall D would (well, might) earn my undying gratitude if he would join the ranks of developers who mitigate the visual impact of their parking podiums by incorporating cascading vines or other greenery onto their facades. I don't expect it to happen, especially in Houston, but one can hope ...
  14. New Dallas Development

    I particularly like the design of AMLI's building. I think maybe part of that is because it draws a bit of attention away from Pei's design next door, which always struck me as being somewhat "wrong" in the massing of shapes. I generally like his work a lot -- not so much the brutalist stuff, but the things he did after that.
  15. Franklin + Milam: 10-Story Garage

    Yuck! I know that Houston developers, in keeping costs down, tend to build the cheapest garages possible. However, I wonder if they overlook possibilities to distinguish their product that don't add much to the budget. Like the vine-covered trellises I've seen on garages in other cities. Perhaps there are one or two here that I can't recall?