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  1. Quite a different attitude towards guns, immigrants, social obligations and inequality in Toronto than in Texas. We live in a fortress society to some extent to protect us from the chaos that we sometimes mistake for liberty.
  2. Visited the Menil and the Rothko Chapel campus on Saturday. Would have been nice to have a drink at the bar of the hotel afterwards. In terms of scale, vibe and tone, I think it will be a good addition to the neighborhood.
  3. I think that the design is in keeping with the tradition of enclosed gardens in Persia and India and is appropriate for its intended use. . It's not a place of commerce, or finance or mass entertainment , but rather a place more contemplative and a refuge from all of that; a sacred space amid the profane. It's certainly more connected to the physical environment and a more meditative environment than some of the other houses of worship in Houston that have a regional or national reputation, e.g. Lakewood Church, Second Baptist or the Cathedral downtown. It doesn't shout " Look at Me" or attempt to dominate or intimidate . Given that we experience most of the built environment in Houston as a drive by, I assume that there will be many who pass by this center on Allen Parkway on a daily basis and will have no clue as to the garden and architectural spaces. But not all. There are many who avail themselves of the trails along Buffalo Bayou and I think it will pique their curiosity. In the way that it doesn't give it all away at the street level , it's quite seductive. If the center develops a program of lectures and concerts and other public events it will be experienced by many Houstonians of all faiths, including non-believers. Security has to be a major concern to a large Islamic center of worship in the US , and especially in Texas with its open carry laws. It would be unwise to have people with guns walking in off the street into this center without having to pass through a security checkpoint.
  4. One of the out door areas looks like they stole Turrell's oculus from the Rice Skyspace, supersized it and neglected the magical lighting effects that makes it buzz. I used to live in Hedwig Village within walking distance to the mall. MetroNational has produced average buildings with no architectural distinction and little sense of place . Memorial City defined by its parking lots, maze of interior walkways and bridges on the hospital side and location adjacent to a 24 lane freeway. I walked over there, but a pedestrian friendly location it is not .
  5. My experience with private dining rooms in NY and Florida is that when well run the service is more courteous and deferential than what one gets in a restaurant, even if one is a regular customer ; the food is OK, but nothing special and the members like it that way. Like Trump and his taco bowl, they tend to order one or two things and will let their guests know that it is the best thing on the menu. These settings used to work well for business entertaining because the guest can't pick up the check. For someone who isn't going to have their business pick up the initiation fees, monthly dues and the monthly required expenditures for food and beverages, they make no sense.
  6. Seems like a good match between use and location. It's not an A plus location that merits a five star hotel or luxury condo building. I'd rather have the tax revenue flowing from a vacant site than having it sit there empty for decades, as many other parcels in this city do.
  7. I think it is still too soon to understand the impact of the pandemic on retail/consumer activity and foot traffic at retail locations. At super high priced luxury malls, smaller boutiques and stores not supported by global giants don't have the resources to stick it out and make mid-course changes. ROD doesn't draw on the presence of office workers to the extent that downtown locations do in America's cities. But what we see in places like NY and Chi is that without a steady influx of suburban office workers into downtowns on a five day a week basis , the retail and restaurants in the area aren't going to make their numbers to support their pre-pandemic rents.
  8. The work to integrate the the new land bridge elements with the existing landscape continues. 6A8F7264-8038-4D21-B5CF-B1ABAFCA71D1_1_201_a.heic 472F76E7-7440-4536-8C61-74539DA67F22_1_201_a.heic 2D645A83-3B04-44D8-8ECC-7B482ABBB821_1_201_a.heic AECF87E9-3D4D-44EA-B520-2933A25002CB_1_201_a.heic
  9. re sugarfactoryexpress: A menu only a profit-oriented cardiac surgeon could love.
  10. It's not showing in the aerial photo but the lot where La Peep used to be located is also vacant and should be considered part of this same development.
  11. I misspoke. The government taken as a whole, including the Army Corps of Engineers, our Congressional representatives, our state legislature, county and city government has failed to address the problem. It's a fools errand to point fingers at any one group, because floods control affects allocation of Federal resource and the Army Corps expertise and operational control , buckets of funding allocated to the state by the Feds and direct state revenue, and the resources available to the counties , especially their land use planning and building code divisions, the flood control districts, and the city operations and funding that is available as well. It wouldn't have taken any extraordinary funding for the county to clearly indicate in the land records that certain property was within the limits of the reservoir and subject to flooding, or for the county board to amend the land use regulations to make such land unsuitable for development. But I could only assume that cash passed in the form of legal political contributions from the land developers to the elected officials to look the other way when the land became ripe for development. . This region has been governed by the ethos of uncontrolled development, build em and sell em fast and cheap and move on, and didn't hold free riders accountable for the risks they passed on to others downstream. If you look at recent aerial photos of development in Waller County just past Katy, the development process continues unabated and thousands of homes and supporting businesses will be built on the prairie in the next ten years, precluding any coordinated effort to allow it to exist as a retention and detention zone for the urban agglomeration to the east.
  12. Re Katy Freeway tunnel : NYC gets 90% of its water from a reservoir system fed by a watershed of approx 2000 sq miles that sits on the western side of the Hudson River. The water travels under the river through tunnels and then proceeds to a series of processing plants and reservoirs into the five boroughs. The water is not pumped and is totally powered by gravity. By the time it reaches Manhattan there is still enough head on the flow to let it rise to the level of a six story building without additional pumping. So yes, a tunnel system from West Houston to an outlet in Galveston Bay could use a siphon to power the flow and would not need the help of mechanical pumps. The sad thing about Houston's management of this problem is that didn't act to buy additional land to extend the public owned land within these reservoirs to the fill line and allowed private residential development to exist within the basins; didn't start the tunnel project while it was rebuilding the Katy Freeway and use the reconstruction to deal with more than moving cars from Katy to downtown and back; and it still is woefully behind in agreeing upon and designing major flood control projects and the risk of flooding will remain for at least a decade or more.,
  13. The corner site with the pseudo-Mansard would be a great location for an Eatally. Roof garden bar restaurant. Grab and go on the first floor, stack a couple of parking levels and a few more food display court levels and bring the building out to the sidewalk.
  14. It will be great to have the west side of the boulevard fill in if and when this site and the Apache site get developed. The only other major parcel will be the 2 story apartment complex next to Uptown Park that was a condominium bought out by a developer a few economic cycles ago. The building the corner of Westheimer and Post Oak could you a redo. It's odd that the east side is still a hodge lodge of an empty lot, strip malls, small retail and a few high rises , while the west side has been pretty much redeveloped.
  15. There are several in Banff National Park in Canada as well. And Olmstead and Vaux did something similar with the Central Park cross town roads and in the weaving of pedestrian , horse and vehicle trails elsewhere.
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