Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Former Prudential Life Building Scheduled for Demolition

january 8th 2011

  • Please log in to reply
111 replies to this topic

#1 tmariar

tmariar
  • Full Member
  • 964 posts
  • Location:Houston Heights

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:04 AM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Excerpt from a recent Houston Chronicle article:

The wrecking ball is not a subtle art critic, but its opinion counts. And when it razes M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's 18-story administration tower next year, it will give a big thumbs down to Peter Hurd's 16-by-47-foot mural depicting life on a West Texas farm.

For 56 years, visitors to the building at 1100 Holcombe have been greeted by the mural's colorful array of galloping horses, mounds of produce and hard-working farm folk bursting with good health. For five years, a New Mexico gallery owned by the artist's son desperately - but unsuccessfully - has looked for someone to save the painting.

The painting is free. But the cost of removing it from the curved wall in the building's foyer, restoring it and installing it elsewhere likely would exceed $500,000.

"We are working with several universities and private individuals," said Ann Hale, director of the Hurd La Rinconada Gallery in San Patricio, N.M., "but so far there are no real solid prospects. People do want the mural. They'd be delighted to have it, but they would have to take on the responsibility of moving it. ... We have until about this August to find a new home for it."

Hale placed the mural's value at more than $3 million.

The fate of Hurd's work, which was painted in the early 1950s in the lobby of what then was the Prudential Life Insurance building, is the latest controversy facing M.D. Anderson in its quest to tear the structure down.

Local and state preservationists have protested the demolition, noting the tower, designed by Houston architect Kenneth Franzheim, was the first corporate high-rise erected outside downtown Houston.


1961 photo of the building.

GHPA mention of the building as endangered.

Some prior HAIF discussion of the building comes up in this thread and other threads - but I didn't see one devoted to the subject.

Edited by tmariar, Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:32 AM.


#2 Vertigo58

Vertigo58
  • Full Member
  • 5131 posts
  • Location:Near East End Houston
  • HAIFing from Asia.

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Hope someone saves the large bronze statues out front? They seem copper or bronze. Can't remember if they are part of that nice fountain or free standing. Pretty sure they are part of this property. :)

The building is really outdated and seems out of place amongst the neighboring modern buildings. Another icon going away.
Boarding up the windows, Hurricane Rita is on her way!- Houston 2005

#3 musicman

musicman
  • Full Member
  • 11038 posts
  • Location:SE Houston
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Hope someone saves the large bronze statues out front? They seem copper or bronze. Can't remember if they are part of that nice fountain or free standing. Pretty sure they are part of this property. :)

The building is really outdated and seems out of place amongst the neighboring modern buildings. Another icon going away.

not sure i'd agree with the outdated. just a different style. unfortunately the fish that sprayed water in the fountain were gone when i skated by there sunday.
The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. -- Ronald Reagan
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

Willomena Slater goin ghetto on Betty Suarez..."come on girl, i'm black and you're mexican. let's not talk around it like a couple of dull white people"

#4 tmariar

tmariar
  • Full Member
  • 964 posts
  • Location:Houston Heights

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Posted Image

Posted Image

From the John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center healthcare facilities postcards site.

Edited by tmariar, Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM.


#5 marmer

marmer
  • Full Member
  • 1412 posts
  • Location:Pearland

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Nooo! I thought it had gotten a reprieve!

#6 sevfiv

sevfiv
  • Moderator
  • 7910 posts
  • Location:SE side
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 10:36 AM

I can't believe this is happening. Or maybe I can.
M.D. Anderson should be ashamed - first bad stewards of the building, now Hurd's mural.

<_<

------
-------------
-----------------------

www.facebook.com/archarchive


#7 Subdude

Subdude
  • Moderator
  • 8730 posts
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:32 PM

I'm sorry to read this. Sorry, but not surprised.
"Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb
like the sun; it shines everywhere"



Real men don't say "veggie".

#8 woolie

woolie
  • Full Member
  • 820 posts
  • Location:Oakland, CA
  • HAIFing from none.

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:45 PM

:(

#9 rsb320

rsb320
  • Full Member
  • 2173 posts
  • Location:Westmoreland Historic District
  • HAIFing from Montrose.
  •  

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:13 PM

This building looked much better with the signage on it. Now, it just looks like an unfinished, blank space. If the building is falling apart, I guess it'll have to come down. It's right on the banks of Brays Bayou and I'm sure the ground is unstable. I'm sure they now take this into consideration regarding the engineering of foundations.

Years ago there was a swimming pool on the ground level.

Prudential must have moved over to the West Loop in the 70's (@ Bellaire). This building on the West Loop was subsequently occupied by SBC after Prudential's departure from Houston.

#10 wernicke

wernicke
  • Full Member
  • 507 posts

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:29 PM

I've been in the building many times, and definitely think it needs to be taken down... that piece of property is prime real estate for the TMC.

MD Anderson's point about the mural having African-Americans working the hay bales while the white people are having leisure time is interesting... I had never considered it previously. Still, the mural should be preserved somewhere.

#11 tmariar

tmariar
  • Full Member
  • 964 posts
  • Location:Houston Heights

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Years ago there was a swimming pool on the ground level.


I was wondering about the pool, which was referenced in the GHPA write-up:

"This finely detailed 18-story skyscraper was the first high-rise office building constructed outside downtown Houston. Architect Kenneth Franzheim designed the building as regional headquarters for the Prudential Insurance Co. At the time, Prudential introduced a high level of amenities for its employees including convenient parking, generous landscaped grounds, public art, tennis courts and a tropically planted swimming pool court (the pool has been filled). The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has owned and occupied the building since 1975. The Prudential Building is scheduled to be demolished and replaced by a new facility within the next four years. GHPA has been in contact with M.D. Anderson, but the institution's administration is not interested in preserving the building."

#12 TexasVines

TexasVines

    User Rank:

  • Associates
  • 745 posts
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 4:01 AM

this is Houston....it is what we do! :D

would be nice to save the painting though

#13 NenaE

NenaE

    NenaE

  • Full Member
  • 2040 posts
  • Location:Collinwood, Collinsport, Maine
  • HAIFing from East End.
  •  

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 10:59 AM

How disappointing...can't say I am surprised though. :angry: Consider myself lucky to have been in the building. My dad's employer, Unocal had offices in the Prudential bldg. when I was young. Remember looking out the window at the swimming pool. Was very far down. Too bad some of the materials can't at least be reused somewhere. I like the bronze look of the details. And the use of landscape in the original plan. :( At least someone has the fountain somewhere.

Can someone please take some pics!!!

Edited by NenaE, Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 11:00 AM.



In Will Hogg's 1929 City Planning Commission Report, Hare & Hare's advise on adopting a city plan to include zoning & parks, ..."the people of Houston and their officials will have to decide whether they are building a great city or merely a great population."

#14 NenaE

NenaE

    NenaE

  • Full Member
  • 2040 posts
  • Location:Collinwood, Collinsport, Maine
  • HAIFing from East End.
  •  

Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Does anyone know the demolition date?

A quote from the AIA Architecturlal Guide (Stephen Fox) edition, "Since acquiring the building in 1975 the University of Texas has maintained it with the consideration that it deserves". What happened? :(


In Will Hogg's 1929 City Planning Commission Report, Hare & Hare's advise on adopting a city plan to include zoning & parks, ..."the people of Houston and their officials will have to decide whether they are building a great city or merely a great population."

#15 musicman

musicman
  • Full Member
  • 11038 posts
  • Location:SE Houston
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 at 11:20 AM

i was talking to my aunt who worked there in the 50's and 60's. she said she had some fond memories of the building. she said the pool was monstrous. my mom said that she got her tickets to go swim there but my aunt didn't remember. she also said the food in the cafeteria was wonderful.
The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. -- Ronald Reagan
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

Willomena Slater goin ghetto on Betty Suarez..."come on girl, i'm black and you're mexican. let's not talk around it like a couple of dull white people"

#16 sevfiv

sevfiv
  • Moderator
  • 7910 posts
  • Location:SE side
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 at 12:19 PM

I know some folks that work at MDACC and they know less than we do :(
I'll keep asking around, though.

------
-------------
-----------------------

www.facebook.com/archarchive


#17 jmancuso

jmancuso
  • Moderator
  • 982 posts
  • Location:New Hampshire
  • HAIFing from New England.
  •  

Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I can't believe this is happening. Or maybe I can.
M.D. Anderson should be ashamed - first bad stewards of the building, now Hurd's mural.

<_<


i agree.
Member since November 2002.

#18 Fringe

Fringe
  • Full Member
  • 2033 posts
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 at 2:48 PM

How disappointing...can't say I am surprised though. :angry: Consider myself lucky to have been in the building. My dad's employer, Unocal had offices in the Prudential bldg. when I was young. Remember looking out the window at the swimming pool. Was very far down. Too bad some of the materials can't at least be reused somewhere. I like the bronze look of the details. And the use of landscape in the original plan. :( At least someone has the fountain somewhere.


My Dad worked there also for UnoCal. Went there a lot in the late 50’s early 60’s when I was a kid. I use to sometimes hang with the receptionist/operator. (I think her name was LaVeda) This was back when she had to plug wires into a console to redirect a call. She would let me help her.

I worked for a while in the building in the late 80's when I was with UTHSC. It was pretty cool but definitely outdated even then.

#19 yuan1274

yuan1274
  • Full Member
  • 62 posts
  • HAIFing from I move around a lot.

Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 4:53 PM

Hope someone saves the large bronze statues out front? They seem copper or bronze. Can't remember if they are part of that nice fountain or free standing. Pretty sure they are part of this property. :)

The building is really outdated and seems out of place amongst the neighboring modern buildings. Another icon going away.



It sounds like "a piece of the Rock" will soon be "pieces of rock."

Attached Files



#20 yuan1274

yuan1274
  • Full Member
  • 62 posts
  • HAIFing from I move around a lot.

Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I've been in the building many times, and definitely think it needs to be taken down... that piece of property is prime real estate for the TMC.

MD Anderson's point about the mural having African-Americans working the hay bales while the white people are having leisure time is interesting... I had never considered it previously. Still, the mural should be preserved somewhere.



Someone said the Prudential building was on Holcombe. Does anyone know the address number?

#21 sevfiv

sevfiv
  • Moderator
  • 7910 posts
  • Location:SE side
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Someone said the Prudential building was on Holcombe. Does anyone know the address number?


1100 Holcombe - near the southeast corner of the Holcombe-Fannin intersection

------
-------------
-----------------------

www.facebook.com/archarchive


#22 kylejack

kylejack
  • Full Member
  • 4795 posts
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM

My grandfather used to have a big office in there. I believe he was the Southwest sales VP for Prudential.

#23 readam

readam
  • Full Member
  • 155 posts
  • Location:Sugar Land

Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Bro works there for UTTV ( UT/ Med center in-house productions) and they have already moved to the TB Pickens Tower. I had a friend whose Dad worked for Prudential back in the 60s and I had many opportunities to go to the pool at the building. It was quite a sight and place for splashing around. Great locker facilities and underwater glass for looking into the pool if I recall correctly. Hope they salvage some of the granite from the building as well as the fountain. As said before, another icon will go up in a cloud of smoke and debris

#24 Fringe

Fringe
  • Full Member
  • 2033 posts
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 at 11:42 AM

The Houston Main Building (HMB) closes Thursday, April 1, to prepare for its eventual demolition, most likely in Fiscal Year 2011.After April 1, the building will be surrounded by construction fencing, and pedestrian traffic through the building no longer will be permitted. Pedestrians must use the existing sidewalks to travel around the building. Follow the walkway to the Mays Clinic west lobby to access the Mays Clinic and the Cancer Prevention Building.Signs will be posted to guide pedestrians along the proper pathways. In the past few weeks, departments that had offices in HMB have been relocated. Group exercise classes have temporarily relocated to the Cancer Prevention Building, Floor 8 (CPB8.302) until their permanent location in the Pickens Academic Tower fitness and wellness center is available.


Quoted from MD Anderson. HMB being the old Prudential building. 



#25 ricco67

ricco67

    The Town Character

  • Full Member
  • 6775 posts
  • Location:Webster Purgatory...
  • HAIFing from Deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  

Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Looks like it's time for pictures for a before, during, and after construction is due.

I elect Jax. He's closer than anyone else, and that corner is a pain to get to.
"If you have more than one person honking at you when you're driving in a short amount of time, you might need to rethink the way you drive, moron."
-Me
***

Want to kill American jobs? Shop at Walmart.

#26 NenaE

NenaE

    NenaE

  • Full Member
  • 2040 posts
  • Location:Collinwood, Collinsport, Maine
  • HAIFing from East End.
  •  

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 8:06 AM

What a huge loss this one will be, can't believe they can't or won't save that mural. Some of those details (fixtures) in that bldg. are magnificent. Not to mention the landscape architecture, it has always inspired me.


In Will Hogg's 1929 City Planning Commission Report, Hare & Hare's advise on adopting a city plan to include zoning & parks, ..."the people of Houston and their officials will have to decide whether they are building a great city or merely a great population."

#27 DMac

DMac
  • Full Member
  • 138 posts

Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Excerpt from a recent Houston Chronicle article:



1961 photo of the building.

GHPA mention of the building as endangered.

Some prior HAIF discussion of the building comes up in this thread and other threads - but I didn't see one devoted to the subject.

What is the painting made of & how is it attached to the wall that makes it so costly to remove?
Respectfully
Danny Mac

#28 KinkaidAlum

KinkaidAlum
  • Full Member
  • 3003 posts
  • Location:People's Republic of Boston
  • HAIFing from No longer in Texas.

Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I always held out hope that somehow this one would be saved. Oh well, we're the city that never seems to learn...

#29 FilioScotia

FilioScotia
  • Full Member
  • 1252 posts

Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 6:06 PM

What is the painting made of & how is it attached to the wall that makes it so costly to remove?

The mural isn't painted "on" the wall. The mural "is" the wall. It's a fresco, which means it was painted on the wall while the plaster was still wet and soft, before it dried and became solid. The paint is mixed with the plaster.

To save this mural, the entire wall has to be removed in small sections, very carefully, so the sections can be taken out the much smaller doors and put together again somewhere else.

Making the job even harder, the mural is painted on a corner in the lobby. Over about 40 feet, the mural curves around the corner and makes a 90 degree turn. Removing the mural, moving it, and storing it safely until a permanent home can be found is going to be very expensive. At least half a million dollars, according to those in the know.

The Hurd Museum in New Mexico has made every effort to find the money, with no success that I've heard of. They also haven't been able to find anybody interested in providing a permanent space for it.

Even the art world doesn't care much what happens to it. It's not just MD Anderson. They've worked with the Hurd Museum for more than five years on this, with no success. So don't blame MD Anderson.

#30 plumber2

plumber2
  • Full Member
  • 1248 posts
  • Location:Western Galveston County
  • HAIFing from none.
  •  

Posted Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 9:19 AM

I once gave a proposal to replace the cooling towers and associated piping in the HMB building. The cooling towers are located on the high roof behind big architectural louvers. It was an elaborate plan envolving erecting a hoist over the side of the building. It was apparently too expensive though.

I also gave a proposal to convert the public toilets to ADA. I was amazed to find a full chase behind each toilet room that a maintenance man could walk into. You never see this type of space allowed for such things these days. I did get that job.

I also gave a proposal to remove the pool equipment and piping. It was behind the employee lockers on the ground floor and basement areas. I must have been too high on that bid though.

This was all around 1992 or 1993. MDACC was apparently looking longer term on this building back in those days.