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Found 10 results

  1. The Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects, Houston passed the following Position Statement at its regular meeting on April 10, 2007. The statement will be presented to the Mayor and City Council tomorrow, April 17, by AIA Houston member Peter Boudreaux, AIA, of Curry Boudreaux Architects. AIA Houston POSITION STATEMENT April 10, 2007 RE: The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation Site Lease / Potential Sale The American Institute of Architects, Houston does not support the sale and demolition of the buildings of the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation located at 3550 West Dallas. The Center and the City of Houston are in disagreement over the validity of the site lease, where the Center's architecturally significant facilities are located. Invalidation of the lease may result not only in the destruction of the homes of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities but also the demolition of these historically important works of Houston architecture, which anchor a visible site in heart of the city. The current buildings and prominent site comprise first-class urban design and environmentally propitious use of open land, both concepts AIA Houston supports in general. The Center buildings are important examples of the architectural trend called the New Brutalism. They occupy a significant place in the history of Houston architecture, particularly in the wake of the recent demolition of the Houston Independent School District Headquarters on Richmond Avenue. The New Brutalism was a modernist architectural movement inspired by the work of Le Corbusier that flourished internationally from the 1950s to the 1970s. New Brutalist buildings usually are formed with striking repetitive angular geometries and are often constructed of rough, unadorned poured concrete. Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry designed the Center for the Retarded (1966), as it was originally called. The Cullen Residence Hall (1978) is the work of S.I. Morris & Associates. These architects are significant in Houston's history and these particular buildings are especially important because they represent a high standard of design in service to a community that has been traditionally under served. The buildings are in good condition and will serve their function for a significantly long future. Together Barnstone & Aubry designed several brilliant Houston buildings such as Rothko Chapel (1971); Guinan Hall, Univ. of St. Thomas (1971); Media Center, Rice University (1970); and 3811 Del Monte (1969). Both architects individually are also well-known for their work. S.I. Morris headed a string of firms (including Morris*Aubry), the successor of which is Morris Architects. The full body of Morris work touches almost all of segments of Houston architecture from the Astrodome (1965) to award-winning skyscrapers, to public buildings such as the Central Library (1975) to small houses. Transactional costs for the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation to build a new facility will take away from monies and services that this special needs population urgently requires. The Center for the Retarded, a non-profit organization, invested $7 million (1960's dollars) in the buildings, which probably cannot be recouped (in today's dollars). The $26 million estimated sale price of the land would fund only a portion of the needs for a new facility of comparable size and quality. The cost of comparable new facilities would mirror the inflation rate of the land and construction cost. Loss of this site and its buildings would entail a substantial net loss to the Center and adversely affect its ability to maintain its present level of service. Therefore, because of the outstanding architectural significance of this campus, the Board of Directors of AIA Houston recommends that the City of Houston renew its lease with the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation so that the Center may remain in its current location and continue to provide essential services to the citizens of Harris County. Hanover Square
  2. Elements of an (almost) historic building are incorporated into new apartment tower. Third and Brazos.
  3. Houston-based AmReit has bought Uptown Park, a Galleria-area retail center developed by Giorgio Borlenghi's Interfin, for $68.8 million. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3208551
  4. ------------------- This message has been edited to remove copyrighted material. Please do not post copyrighted photos or articles from newspapers or magazines. We have already received a warning from the Houston Chronicle, and the legal departments of other publications have visited the site. If you would like to discuss a published article, please summarize the article and provide a link to the original source. -------------------
  5. I am surprised nobody has mentioned this news... Lyme Properties of Cambridge, MA has announced that it has closed on property located at 1911 Holcombe between the Spires Condo and the Ronald McDonald House. Plans call for a building that will house 25,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, 125,000 square feet of research and lab space, and 350,000 square feet of medical office space. The best news is that Lyme Properties erects FIRST CLASS projects. Here's a look at a similar sized building rising in Boston's Longwood Medical Center right now. The Blackfan Research Center will have underground parking and rise 300 feet above ground (18 floors). It's also another sign that the Texas Medical Center is really taking off. I cant wait to see what the Houston project will look like. To see more examples of Lyme's work, check out www.lymeproperties.com
  6. Is this an active proposal? Houston Medical Towers 1,000,000 sf, 41-story, 400 units, 480,000 sf residential, 200,000 sf hospitality, with 190 keys, 10,000 sf retail 300 parking spaces Architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz http://www.phila.gov/historical/Documents/Exhibit R(4).pdf
  7. A new 26 story high-rise is going to be built on Montrose where the current M2M clothing store/SkyBar building stands...According to my realtor, the property has been purchased, along with a home and several townhomes behind the building. They will all be torn down....the new building will have 2 floors of retail, 5 floors of parking, and the rest will be residential, including 5 townhomes and 2 huge (6000 sq ft) penthouses. Condo sizes will start around 900 sq ft with pricing from the low $200's. There aren't any publicly available renderings yet.... That's all the detail I can remember from my conversation yesterday - sounds like a neat addition to the area as I think the M2M building (what is that building called?) is not the most attractive.... Now can we get rid of the ugly buildings near the corner of Montrose and Westheimer (the ones beside Taco Cabana)....one of them is already for sale !!
  8. As many of you know, HAIF has a sister site in Chicago called the Chicago Architecture Blog. The blog regularly does interviews with architects and real estate developers in that market about what they're up to, why they designed certain buildings certain ways, and so on. Recently I interviewed John Lahey, the C.E.O. of Solomon Cordwell Buenz. SCB is just starting to expand into the Houston market with a project on Post Oak, one in Rice Village, and a few others. Since I had his ear, I asked him about what it's like designing buildings in Houston, compared with the other cities his company does business in. I've pasted the Houston portion of the interview below. If you're interested in reading the whole thing, it's available here: Thinking Post-Bust, Chicago's SCB Is Planting Flags In Cities Across America For more information on SCB, here is its web site, and here is a profile piece the Chicago blog ran last year: Inside Solomon Cordwell Buenz Lahey: So, things have changed with the economy. We're working in Texas, too. We have three projects in Texas. Two in Houston, one in Austin. In Houston, we're doing one on Post Oak. We're doing another building over in the Montrose area and that's in more of an urban area. Editor: Houston is a whole different market. Lahey: For an urban person, it's not as accommodating. But there is a sprit of Texas that you can't help but like. Even if, politically or whatever, you're not in sync with it, their do-it-yourself identity is really kind of neat. Editor: How is working in Texas different than the other markets you're working in? Lahey: The people that we're working for in Texas are from Texas, so the Texas imprint is very apparent. I would say in Texas it's just not as dense and hard an urban environment, and it's a little more gracious. A little more landscaping when you come into the building. It's hot, but it's sunny a lot. The units are a little bigger. There's a vitality in Texas that is different. Chicago and San Francisco have very established urban areas and you're sort of being part of an established urban framework. Whereas in Texas, you can be more freewheeling, and people want to just celebrate it a little more. The buildings in Chicago have a lot of civility, where in Texas… it's hard to say exactly what's different. In Texas the construction costs aren't as much as they are here, and so you get more for your money. Editor: And no zoning in Houston. Lahey: Austin has zoning. It has a lot of zoning. But the buildings there are large, and we're working on a few smaller ones, too. Editor: In the last few years, people in Houston seem to be coming around to the notion that it's OK to live in a tower instead of a rambler. Lahey: I think there's quite a bit of it. And then there's more stuff starting to happen in downtown. The one that we're doing in Montrose isn't a super-tall tower. It's probably half as tall as this [Rincon Two], but that's tall for there. But what's neat about an area like that where there's already a density and there's restaurants and stuff, when you bring in that many people and do it in a way that still lets the neighborhood be what it is, it's just more people going to these things. Walking to them. And you can see how the urban experience that we all love, will morph into a Texas way of being urban. Austin is a little more urban feeling because of all the music downtown, and it's pretty centralized. And because of the size of Austin, they've probably got a denser core than Houston. But I think Houston is going to be really good. The things that are happening there are really positive. Editor: Are there things that you have to do differently designing a building in Houston? Lahey: It's not so cold, so when you do your amenities, the outdoor — the pools and all that stuff — are really important because you're going to be using that a lot. Balconies… You know, it gets so hot that some people want them and some people don't. Somebody told me that you just don't sit out a lot in Houston. So when we're doing it, there is the thought that people are going to be in their apartments and have the windows closed and have the air conditioning on a lot. Now in Chicago, we have the same thing in the winter — people are going to be inside and have the heat on. So, they're similar. Whereas in Chicago, you're making sure things don't get too dark, in Houston you're making sure things don't get too light. You don't have the short days, what you have is the big hot sun. Here you've got the winter, when it's dark and it's cloudy, and you want to make sure you get enough light into each unit. Editor: Do you need heavier HVAC units and bigger ducts for all that air conditioning in Houston? Lahey: A lot of it is done with natural ventilation, although we do use mechanical ventilation a lot more in Texas than we would here. Here it's mostly natural ventilation because people can just open a window. In Houston, you want fresh air, but you're just not going to touch that window. The old traditional building with the punched openings and small windows, we hardly [ever do that]. We like the more modern, contemporary ones with the views. When you live in a high-rise that's the one great amenity that you have, and when you see the views being limited by the size of windows, that seems wrong. The aesthetic of buildings, people there really do respond to more contemporary buildings today. They like having big amounts of glass in their living rooms. Bedrooms aren't so critical. But that's happening across the board. It's everywhere. That's in Hawaii, that's in California, that's in Texas, that's in Chicago, and it's in Miami. It's everywhere.
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