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Everything posted by HoustonIsHome

  1. I believe everyone should have a choice. Developers should have a choice in how many parking spots they offer and tenants have the choice whether they rent in said building or not. Some developers may choose to offer parking anyway. Some tenants may want to pay extra for the convenience of designated parking. Let the people/market decide. Parking minimums should be for schools, hospitals, municipal offices....
  2. Nice interiors but I am not liking the color of the exteriors. It fits in so well with the salvation army but that says something that it blends in well with a decades old building. Would be nice if it had taken elements of the Peacock or even the little building that was on this site before. But infill is infill and at least it blends in with somethings. And I hope this project draws bars and restaurants to that area. I remember this area being dark and dead most nights. That was years ago. Hopefully this helps
  3. They should build out patios. That scaffolding makes the building look more interesting
  4. It has its problems. Getting parking, exiting parking at the end of the day rush hour, some streets are stinky, getting accosted by the homeless... But the amenities in an organically grown business district for me far out-weight any perks of suburban office parks. @Texasota by wholesome I mean being safe and isolated in one's own little car, not having to interact with homeless (or pigeons), cleaner (sterile) less hustle and bustle, safely surrounded by huge lots tucked in to an office parks. In other words, wholesome in the minds of people who appreciate limited city interaction
  5. I would too. I miss the charm of downtown. The plethora of dining options. The ease of transit. The parks. The souless suburban blandness is really depressing. It's like a daily dose of plain oatmeal- wholesome but so unexciting.
  6. Don't think it's bad. Just as long as you don't get too close and don't stare too long it looks fine
  7. I was among the why didn't they just tear the darn thing down and start from scratch crowd until I went past this building Friday and saw how opening the southern exposure let's in so much natural light. It looks like a completely different building on that side but I understand now why it is so much of a frankenbuilding. Makes sense since the area across the street is open Park area for the foreseeable future to have that side opened up. I'm itching to see construction start on other lots.
  8. I agree with responses, but I should have mentioned that I live very close to that area so the climatic conditions are the same. @Luminare I like the Sandy leaf fig too. I was tempted to get some of the variegated ones but I might wait until I prepare a spot in the back yard to give it room to do its thing. @Twinsanity02 yes it is fascinating. Houston straddles between zones 8b through 9b towards the coast. Since most tropicals survive in zone 9 and higher while temperate plants thrive in zone 9 or lower we are able to grow a large variety of plants. @samagon I didn't mean to imply that Houston knows less than other cities ( for example I mentioned that Austin is going away from lawned front yards out of necessity. What I mean to say is that for a city that changes every time you blink your eye, in terms of gardening trends we resist change fiercely. A single family home set in the middle of the lot with vast lawnscape and scant foundation planting is something that has been since about the 1950s. The fact that this style has been the standard says something. It is a really picture perfect style. But for me it is a very boring style. Apart from the negative effects of so much of the landsurface covered in concrete and lawn, I also am not a fan of foundation plantings that often go with the lawns. Plants such as ligustrums are overly used as a foundation plant but it shouldn't be at all. These are trees with an eventual height of 15 plus feet and although they make cute hedges for a few years, eventually it becomes very difficult to Keep it looking pleasant when planted 2 feet from your house. Ligustrums make beautiful ever green trees. Also @samagon although the greens are worse in terms of root depth the rest of the course is still very bad. For beginners the variety of grass used for lawns don't have deep roots to begin with. Then you don't have to cut the grass as low as the greens to have reduced root growth. We usually buy lawn grass in sheets with about an inch of roots. Those roots don't grow much further in the soil even if we don't clip the grass that short. The prairie grasses native to our area have deeper roots and held our soils better and aided in flood mitigation by absorbing water. St Augustine, Bermuda grass etc are not native and have very shallow roots. Kentucky blue Grass and various fescues have much deeper roots. Compacted soil act like the seas of concrete that plague or city. The water just runs off and doesn't help with the flooding. When I bought the house my yard was consistently soupy when it rained and that would last for days. Since I got rid of the grass and planted deeper rooted pants the yard no longer floods and the water gets absorbed days quicker. I am very happy that the poster mentioned the more naturalistic approach the botanical gardens are taking by letting things sit undisturbed for a while and reusing most of what grew on the land instead of hauling it off. Apart from nourishing the soil, using felled trees as edging creates habitats for organisms that also contribute to good soil health and I really like the natural look. Instead of termites, now when I lift a log I see tons of worms, bugs, mushrooms. I am very excited about this project and being 5 minutes from my house I might be a frequent visitor. I love Herman Park, but was hoping the gardens wouldn't be Hermann 2.0 and so far it doesn't sound like it is being planned that way. Crossing my fingers that it will become a medium for showcasing something different for our city.
  9. Modern landscaping is tough on soil health. Ground that is continuously mowed gets compact because mowed grass leads to shallow roots which do little to open up the soil. That's not even taking to account the stress from walking back and forth on the soil by mowing and golfers. Other negative habits we do to keeping things picture perfect is blowing grass clippings and raking up leaves. The plants and grass are actively soaking up nutrients from the soil and what do we do? We actively remove nutrients by blowing away the organic matter. Soils then get depleted of nutrients so what do we do? We buy fertilizers to compensate. As with all things, excessive human intervention corrects one imbalance while Knocking off a range of others. Inorganic fertilizers salt the ground and along with pesticides and herbicides, harm beneficial organisms necessary for good soil health. So I can see why few things grow the first few years. I hate putting down my city but Houston lags in modern trends in landscape design. I hate mowing and find it silly to pay someone 45 bucks every week or two to mow a lawn that I never use so I jumped on the reduced lawn bandwagon. I encircled the yard with native trees and bushes and used the inner portion to grow fruits and veggies. The first few years the plants struggled but now they do their own thing with little intervention from me. Established natives require little watering, the plants feed me and I have a relaxing spot that I use instead of a boring lawn that I never went on. I use the chop and drop method when I prune so that I limit wastage on nutrients. I had a bug problem the first two years but now the few that are left are too insignificant to do that much damage. I am just glad that there is no HOA in my area, but because of the outer ring of evergreens you wouldn't really be able to tell how much of a forest the yard is. I would say Austin is the city in Texas that has caught on to the reduced lawn/native plant bandwagon the most. Not because of trends but it off necessity. It is a less wet city than Houston and quite costly to keep lawns alive over there with recent boughts of drought.
  10. We need a street, Park or square downtown named after Hines. Heck rename the skyline district the Hines district. Very few people have shaped the CBD more. If they ever convert the bank of the SW lot into a square Hines should definitely be a top contender for naming
  11. I understand fully what you mean by the quiet from the storm having recently visited New Orleans. Those courtyard restaurants and stores are a welcomed reprive from the jubilant atmosphere on Royal and Bourbon streets. For such a dirty, smelly and wild neighborhood, the intimacy In the design is magical
  12. Not necessarily true. At this time of year just about everything I stick in the ground or transplant does exceedly well. Even 15 foot trees transplant very well this time of year. Anyway this is a long overdue facelift for this area. It's too visible an an area to look so unattractive. Sad to see all the memories torn down but new ones will be made in construction that is more uplifting for the area.
  13. Houston is still a very spread out City. Just because the immediate area is walkable doesn't mean that everyone will be ok with being 100% carless. In other words just because residents can live carless doesn't mean that they will want to. Work and groceries might be the top places that residents go to, and they would definitely be able to do that without a car on this area but there are other things that people do. Who knows, there might be some that need to go to the airport regularly and doing that on the bus is possible but still not all that convenient. Others might have family spread across the city and need to drive to those places. Downtown has good food, but not all the great good places are downtown. So although a fine existence is possible at that spot without a car, it might not be a good enough existence for everyone
  14. And that is exactly what we need more of in the city's core of Downtown is to keep improving. I know this is an architecture forum but most conversations delve into urban design/ planning and functionality. Pretty buildings check the architectural aspects but function pleases me more. Yeah we wet or undies fantasizing about supertalls, Mandarin Orientals, Ritz... But to me a beautiful building that adds to the residential population excites me way more. Workers love suburban campuses because there is more parking, the homes near by are newer and usually more affordable. There is usually talk about less traffic... If we want all these vacant lots and decaying buildings to be made into better use we need to change that line of reasoning. But if all the housing is higher priced units like the bulk of new developments popping up around downtown in all directions then what is there for the everyday man? The corporations are who benefits the most from suburban campuses. The land is far cheaper, building low- mid rises are more feasible on the larger plots and lower buildings are cheaper to build. Plus the cheaper land allows for abundant surface parking which is loads cheaper than garages. So these corporations boost the benefits of the suburban campuses. A renewal of urban housing stock however increases the critical mass required to attract more grocery options, bars, restaurants, retail... Business cannot thrive on just the upper earners and occasional visitor to downtown. You can clearly see the difference between before and after 5pm downtown. We won't be getting the Exxons and other part companies back in downtown but the smaller relocations can breathe new life in downtown. But it starts with bringing the people closer to these jobs. I miss my easy commute to downtown. Working on the westside is killing my soul. Yes it's newer, lots of parking etc. But the traffic is horrible, the culture is lacking and the outdoor activities are near zero. To me, the more people who can walk, bike or take a quick bus ride to work means less cars on the street during rush hour= less time looking at the rear of the car in front of me while such in traffic. So while the flashy ROD developments or the fancy hotels may wet other posters undies, I for one would rather a pleasant looking building like this one that makes it easier to attract the fancy developments. Sometimes we luck out and manage to make the cart before the horse work but we can get there easier if we put the horse first.
  15. With ~ 100 degree temps day after day recently I would be be dancing on the ceiling right now if an 80 foot building cast a shadow over my property. FYI there are many many plants (including natives) that grow very well in full shade. Heck a lot of the vegetation in my yard are not doing well due to the lack of shade and infrequent rain
  16. I thought the same. I thought it looked unfinished. I was expecting to see it extend all the way down the next couple of days
  17. I have come to the realization that supertal office buildings in low population density areas greatly hinders the urban growth of the area in several ways. That thing would require buckets of parking. Rush hour entry and exodus from said parking will choke the area. Unless we are in a huge boom the market for new buildings will be choked. I would much rather downtown gets filled with 10 to 40 storey buildings first and then an upgrade to mass transit and when that becomes super popular then maybe we can start knocking down those garages to build supertalls. Give me a Texas Tower plus a Preston over a Chase monolith anyday
  18. Then they wonder why some projects fail. In my dream world this would be best Main Street square. Maybe across from forever 21 on that corner of Dallas and Main (Food store). Near Root square would be good too. Extend the activity further south. For someone who spent tons of freetime in and around the galleria, I unfortunately don't get excited about new things there anymore. The vehicular congestion on Westheimer and post oak blunts the excitement for me. I don't want to drive there and don't want to take a bus there. Walking across the street there is out of the question. Easy highway access? Ha!!
  19. I went to the galleria the offer day and it is thriving. The outside looks like crap; nothing new there. It has looked like that for decades, but it was just as packed as always. Not all malls are going the way of the DoDo bird. Was at the Town Center in Pearland and Baybrook too and both seemed to be packed
  20. How I see it is safe keeps the lights on. Houston got to how it is over 200 years; it is not going to be how many of us want it to be over 20 years. Give it time. If this phase takes off we can definitely go further. Sometimes we have to think big and other times we have to think smart. A development like Greenstreet did neither. In these times a downtown doesn't mean the same as it did when cities were cities. We have a constant population density 20+ miles in every direction from this thing. A fraction of the population will ever do more than drive past it on the highway. Yes more people are moving to downtown and around it, but we don't have that active core that we all dream about. We need more of a collaboration of developers and encouragement from the city to tie it all together. Hoping that one developer gets out and the others follow is a risk that is kind of unfair to expect one developer to carry. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Let's hope that that Australian is super successful.
  21. How do the blocks downtown compare in size to other cities? I kinda like rectangular blocks over square ones. Imo our blocks are not long enough but a bit too wide. The way they are now make for a very neat and regular core. But I'm a fan of irregular and chaos. That's my favorite thing about a set up like say Boston. Are the blocks downtown smaller than uptown Nola? I think the narrower streets there change the whole feel. In Houston with the order you know exactly what to expect when you turn the corner. I guess you are right, the super blocks in midtown at least mixes things up a bit, but downtown is a bit too orderly for me. You can move a lot more people in and out quicker, but maybe those people should be staying around for awhile.
  22. Downtown's buildings are huge in termd of floor plates. I wonder how downtown would feel with multiple towers per blocks with alleys in between and narrower streets
  23. I agree Triton. I pulled up my lawn and planted a forest around my house. Sunday I found a praying mantis and a walking-stick bug in my bathroom. Creepy, but that's a small price to pay for enjoying my food forest. Luminare great photos. I wish they would do that with the old Exxon/ Humble Oil building downtown
  24. I don't think there is enough there there to justify a pedestrian promenade just yet. Maybe it can serve double duty where at a certain time the street converts to a pedestrian promenade. Kinda like how certain streets ( Bourbon, Royal) in NOLA are converted after 5
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