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Posts posted by fernz

  1. So what. Is this project dead? I thought construction was supposed to in the near future. Has anyone heard any promising news?

    Randall Davis has such a succesful track record that he has a hoard of investors following him anywhere he goes - of course when I say succesful I'm talking about the investor point of view, and NOT the architectural point of view!!!

    That rendering from the ZCA postcard shown above is over two years old. In the meantime, he must have done his due dilligence, refined his market study, talked to his investors and his lenders, redesigned the building to look like the newer rendering (based on the market response) and finally launched his website and presales effort, which is probably a requiremnt from the lenders.

    As ugly as most of his buildings are (yes, that is my opinion) at least he knows what he's doing. I would say that if he's gotten this far in the course of two years it means the project is definetly not dead.

  2. I agree. I couldn't care less if Houston sprawls outward with suburban development after suburban development... I don't have to live there if I don't want to. All I would like to see is for Houston to also develop a more densely populated, urban area... for those who like that type of lifestyle. Hopefully we are seeing the beginning of that occuring Downtown!

    Unfortunately that goes against basic market forces. As long as inexpensive housing keeps sprwaling further out, the prices for housing in the inner core will be on the high end of the choices. If development was forbidden outside (for example) of the grand parkway - not that this would ever happen - as was done in Portland, the cheap exurban housing would no longer be an option and developers would have to build in the city. As long as the cheap option is available, people will take it, even if it means longer commute times. Besides, because Houston has no zoning, there's nothing stopping developpers to keep building employement centers on the outskirts, which means commute times don't necesserilly have to climb. There is no market or regulatory incentive for developers to build dense urban areas, there is only a niche market for them and that's why so little is being built.

    Finally, for those who think it doesn't matter because they choose to live in the city, what do you think happens as the city annexes all that new development? Who do you think pays for all those services? The less compact a city is, the more expensive the services per capita are. And why do you think the city's public transportation is so inneficient? It's too expensive to serve such a large area. The city, county and state prefer to spend tax dollars by building more freeway lanes and adding even more loops, rather than a transit system that is underused and can never catch up with the sprawl. So even if you choose to live in the city, you are still paying a premium for a city living experience that is sub-par.

    It's sad, but that's what's happening in Houston...

  3. Am I the only one who finds the renderings above of HOB kinda underwhelming? I'm curious as to the cladding material shown as gray rectangles. It is supposed to be stone, or *gasp* vinyl siding from Sears (or some other type of similar material). They are obviously going for the industrial loft style with the exposed girders and what I suppose is cement.

    Most likely metal panels. Either painted aluminum or, if they get fancy, zinc.

  4. ...simbolically, he wanted the Cathedral to stand in the middle of the secular center of the city as a reminder of the importance of the religious life coexisting with the secular world.

    Here is the exact quote:

    "This glorious cathedral will stand as a powerful symbol of the transcendence of God, and as an affirmation of the existence and importance of faith in a secular and disbelieving world. The Cathedral will serve as a soul and conscience of the city, reminding us of the importance of the spiritual amind the bustle of the commercial and corporate worlds - of the fact that God exists and faith matters."

  5. You know- i guess i never really thought of that. i am glad the catholic community had some say in it. i am also glad it got the official nod from the Pope. time will tell, yes.

    Here is my biggest concern. We all are aware of the plans the Houston 2025 Vision Team has for DT in the next few years. My concern is that this cathedral will get lost- not stand as a beacon.

    m. :mellow:

    I know what you mean, and I sure do hope that the vision becomes reality.

    However the Diocese, and especially Bishop Fiorenza never wanted the building to stand out as a beacon (although I bet the architects would've loved that). His primary goal was to build a Cathedral of the apropriate size to hold the major events held there, and simbolically, he wanted the Cathedral to stand in the middle of the secular center of the city as a reminder of the importance of the religious life coexisting with the secular world. He specifically didn't want to Cathedral to be a grand, ostentatious building. A perfect example is that he specifically asked the architects not to do a tall dome, and most importantly, not to do a gold leafed dome. When Mr. Ziegler suggested to do a gold color painted dome (assuming the issue was cost), the Bishop said he didn't want to even give the illusion of a gold dome.

    Yes, a Meier designed cathedral (or pick your favorite star architect) would've been a wonderful addition to Downtown, but that is not what the Bishop had in mind.

  6. 21st Century churches are a joke! I like my churches 14th century.
    I can probably bet a substantial amount of money on the fact that decades or generations from now- this particular structure will not be showcased as a trendsetting movement.

    Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and, obviously, opinions will vary. In this forum alone, some people have complained that the building is too modern and some have compalined that it is not modern enough. Without adding to the varying opinions, I will quote a studio teacher from school, who very likely got this from Philip Johnson: "Great architecture comes from great architects working with great clients." I will not get into the debate of whether this design constitutes great architecture, that debate should happen five or ten years from now, but I will say that the client's wishes and opinions should not be ignored, nor should be those of the community. And to that, I will add this picture, which shows a couple of satisfied clients, and will remind every one that during the design phase the architects and the Diocese were very involved with the Houston catholic community and with the Downtown community.

    I don't know how to post a picture, look at the second image at this site: http://www.zieglercooper.com/cathedral_building.htm

  7. The word "basilica" is used to describe the style of architecture that's been used in building churches since ancient times. It refers to form, instead of function. Whereas, the term "cathedral" refers to function instead of form"

    You are only talking about the architectural meaning of the word basilica. In the cannonical sense, the designation of a basilica has nothing to do with the form of the building, but with its artistic and historical significance, as well as the importance it plays in the liturgical and pastoral ministry of the diocese.

    Basilica is a title assigned by formal concession or immemorial custom to certain more important churches, in virtue of which they enjoy privileges of an honorific character.

  8. To answer your question, yes. Of course.

    I never said that there weren't costs to having no zoning. But the net benefits are greater, IMO, without it than with it.

    Urban economists have gone down this road before, there are several studies trying to answer the question "What would a city without zoning look like?". Of course most of these studies point to Houston as an example, and the answer in most cases goes along the line of "market forces will shape the development of a zone-free city and the end result is a city with no zoning would not be very different from a city with zoning."

    The reason housing is booming in the suburbs and not in the city center is indeed market forces. Land prices in the suburbs allow for far cheaper housing. Even when you add the cost of commuting, most people (as evidenced by market sales) would rather live in the suburbs at suburb prices. It's not even a question of detached housing versus condos, look at the success of condo projects in places like the Woodlands, Sugarland, Clear lake and West Houston.

    That said, public policy can and will influence the market. If the county and state hadn't spent so much money in raods and infrastructure in the suburbs, development costs would be greater than they are and the gap in cost of housing between the city and the suburbs would shrink. The seemingly endless land supply in the exurbs and the continuous investment in road expansion is one of the reasons housing in Houston is far below the national average.

  9. The L.A. Cathedral is a great example of modern religious architecture. I know of course a lot of people prefer the old-style and decry the death of classic church design, but that is not new and thankfully has never stopped architects from trying different things:

    The term Gothic was first used by art critics, during the Renaissance, who were referring negatively to the style of art and architecture that did not conform to the Classicism of Greece and Rome. The critics came up with the term because they thought the Goths had invented the style. They were incorrect in their thinking that it was the Goths who, in their opinion, were responsible for the destruction of the good and true Classical style. The people of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries recognized the originality of the style and referred to it as "opus modernum" (modern work)."

    Why "Gothic?" Because that was the term applied to a style of architecture (dominant from the C12 through the C15) that was itself regarded as crude and primitive in contrast to the beauty, symmetry, and formality of classical (ancient Greek) architecture"

  10. to me it looks very cold and institutional - very 2000's


    I agree, it looks very 2000's. Is that a bad thing for a church being built in .... 2006? I still can't understand Houston's obsession (and most of the US for that matter) of wanting churches to be built in some sort of neo-whatever style. If anything, this Cathedral is not modern enough! What would the gothic cathedrals be like if they had been built to mimic previous styles?

  11. :D i am open to suggestions on Realtors in the Midtown area to assist me in buying a condo.

    been looking for a while and know that is the exact area i want to be in.

    thanks to everyone in advance!


    Tom Montalbano, he knows Midtown quite well:



  12. I did notice that they will not be installing any windows near the ground... I think this is more to deter vandals than to provide clerestory lighting.

    That is not accurate. There are several strip windows going all the way to the ground, separating all the curved chapels from the main walls. Clerestory lighting was in fact a design element. Some lower windows were removed beacause there were concerns they would be too distrcting from the interior.

    I don't like the dome on it. You can tell they designed it using CAD because its too perfect. Looks good in line drawings but from the street perspective its to shallow. Reminds me of Moe's hair cut from the 3 stooges.

    If you visit the architect's office you will see several models that were used for the design, some of them for the dome only. It is my understanding that it was the Bishop's desire to have a shallow dome, because of a particular church that he likes in Italy that has that type of dome.

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