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Mister X

22-story Embassy Suites @ Discovery Green

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Niche, that's just like you to go find and post the most unflattering angle of 5 Houston Center to make your point. I wouldn't expect anything less from you. We all know that pic is not a proper representation of 5-HC.

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Not a proper representation? I'm sorry what angles do you approve of?

Edited by porTENT

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I tend to agree with you, PorTENT. That photo is taken from this very website. It even says so on the bottom of the photo.

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well since you asked.., How about an angle taken from Discovery Green that highlights the 3 or 4 story raised section with the curved roof on top. Yeah.., how about that one :D

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Niche, that's just like you to go find and post the most unflattering angle of 5 Houston Center to make your point. I wouldn't expect anything less from you. We all know that pic is not a proper representation of 5-HC.

Good architecture does not have an unflattering angle.

Even at it's best, 5 Houston Center looks like the sort of spec office building that gets built in Westchase. It does not integrate well with the downtown skyline. You can contrast it with Calpine Center, which was completed not too long after 5 Houston Center and has a similar color scheme and pattern, but is far and away the more tasteful building...from any angle.

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well since you asked.., How about an angle taken from Discovery Green that highlights the 3 or 4 story raised section with the curved roof on top. Yeah.., how about that one :D

The only redeeming quality about that photo is having Discovery Green in the foreground. And I don't like One Park Place, next door, either.

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what's a Houton HOMER? Is it an acronym? I've never heard of one before.

I'm a little inclinded to think that a person who feels compelled to drive out if his way to keep his out-of-town friends from seeing a hotel building next to the park has issues. Seeing as how you had to drive through 200 hundred potholes and past a few dozen homeless people to get there, I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and suggest that your friends have already started devleoping their opinion of downtown Houston before they are assaulted by the appalling architectural mediocrity of a mid-priced hotel chain.

Edited by crunchtastic

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My friends do not attribute the poor architecture in Houston to me just because I live here. They would never say, "What the hell is that 'thing' on top of yall's Embassy Suites?" Instead, they would say, "What the hell is that 'thing' you are wearing, Red?" My friends are like that. They attribute to me those things that I control, and attribute to others those things that others control.

Your friends are wierd.

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what's a Houton HOMER? Is it an acronym? I've never heard of one before.

Come on, crunch. You know what a homer is. A hometowner. You're a Houston homer, too.

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Niche, Exactly what do you like? If anything??

You brought up what you try to show visitors and what you try to hide from them...so let's put it this way... My tour of Houston for visitors entails driving from the airport via US 59 to point out the absurdity that is La Luz Del Mundo (because bad architecture can still be funny, which is good), then cutting around downtown via I-10 and I-45, exiting McKinney, and hanging a right on Smith St. to go to the Spec's taj mahal. Going home, I head back up Louisiana St., hang a right on Texas St., and head toward home via Harrisburg, taking Eastwood Street the rest of the way (ideally being stopped for a passing freight train just long enough to feel justified in turning my motor off).

If my guest is going to be in town for a couple days, I'll try to take them on the Galveston Bay loop on the first day, involving SH 225 to Barbour's Cut, then Bayridge Dr. through Morgan's Point, La Porte, and then again from Bayview through Bacliff and San Leon for Gilhooley's, then Galveston for the beach, and then across to Bolivar and to Smith Point at twilight, and then back to Houston via I-10 and back to SH 225 over the Fred Hartman bridge. And then the second day is a jaunt down US 59 to Bellaire Blvd. for a hot pot dinner and then over to Hillcroft for Indian sweets. If they're into the arts, then a visit to the Menil Collection or Hermann Park & the Museum District are waypoints. If they're into shopping, then the Galleria is a waypoint. If they're outdoorsy, then Memorial Park gets added.

Think about these routes. There are lots of ugly things. Some of them are unremarkable and will not be remembered; other things are pretty because they're ugly, or provide opportunity for contemplation. And in other cases, what's along the way are true gems...whether they exist in the rough or are placed upon a pedestal, in light or in dark. The bottom line is this: I don't try to sell Houston for more than it is. I offer my guests an authentic experience. There's warmth and charm in authenticity, and some people can appreciate that; those that cannot are not my guests.

I realize that I have not answered your question directly--but it has been answered, I assure you.

Edited by TheNiche
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My friends do not attribute the poor architecture in Houston to me just because I live here. They would never say, "What the hell is that 'thing' on top of yall's Embassy Suites?" Instead, they would say, "What the hell is that 'thing' you are wearing, Red?" My friends are like that. They attribute to me those things that I control, and attribute to others those things that others control.

Your friends are wierd.

I've been meaning to tell you, Red, I like "Margaritaville" as much as the next guy, but that shirt is frankly appalling.

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Good architecture does not have an unflattering angle.

Even at it's best, 5 Houston Center looks like the sort of spec office building that gets built in Westchase. It does not integrate well with the downtown skyline. You can contrast it with Calpine Center, which was completed not too long after 5 Houston Center and has a similar color scheme and pattern, but is far and away the more tasteful building...from any angle.

I agree that the Calpine is superior in design appeal, but I remember seeing wind studies after Ike and this building was the cause of the vortex that took out all of those windows at Chase. Plus, the elevators hurt people.

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I agree that the Calpine is superior in design appeal, but I remember seeing wind studies after Ike and this building was the cause of the vortex that took out all of those windows at Chase. Plus, the elevators hurt people.

Those are engineering issues, not architecture.

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Come on, crunch. You know what a homer is. A hometowner. You're a Houston homer, too.

srsly, it's a new word for me! But yes, I am. Or would that be 'homette'?

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Houston, like most large cities, has many different cultures to be discovered. Most of my friends that come to visit for the first time have this image of Houston as this big conservative gritty blue collar sprawling oil town with a lot of people but nothing to do. While I wouldn't say that's a total misrepresentation, neither would I say it fully describes my hometown.

I don't try to make Houston out to be something that is not, I simply let my guests know that Houston does also have its sophisticated cosmopolitan side as well. They are always wowed by the variety of the food offerings, the culture of the museum district, the beauty of Hermann Park, the downtown/uptown skylines, the massiveness of the Texas Medical Center, shopping @ the Galleria & Rice/Highland Villages, the urban forest of Memorial Park & points north & west, the heavy industrial feel of the Ship Channel & refineries, & yes even the sprawl!

I don't just visit the sterile environs in H-town, I also expose them to some of the quirkiness, grit and realness of H-town (Montrose, Washington Ave, 3rd ward, SW-side). Interestingly most of my friends always ask about great shopping, nightlife, unique restaurants, parks, urban life etc. so that's what I end up showing them.

I have to respect Niche for his east Houston tour, because hey, that's what he thinks his friends/guests would find interesting. In fact I wouldn't mind taking the tour myself someday.

Bottom line is there all many different types of people that make this world, and this specifically this city, the fascinating place that it is. Different strokes for different folks..., neither is right or wrong..., it's just who we are!

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I have been watching this sucker go up everyday, and yesterday I had the opportunity to drive past through the park from the North. It looks like this building is facing the South -- away from the park -- and overlooking an ugly stretch of downtown. The back of the building -- with one window in the middle of each floor -- faces the park. It is the most unwelcoming, ugly blob. I don't want to sound too shrill, but suffice to say it doesn't make the park experience more inviting. I'm sure there is a reason they faced the building away from the park, maybe because of access issues involved with not owning the entire lot. But crap. It reminds me of the back of ther Mercer. Anyone know why they would face the building away from the park and toward the electrical substation?

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Anyone know why they would face the building away from the park and toward the electrical substation?

Look at the parcel they had to work with. There's no direct street access along Lamar Street, so they had two other options: La Branch or Dallas. Each of those streets faces away from the park, and neither is aesthetically welcoming. The convention center and the Hilton Americas conference spaces require about a half-blockface less walking to get to if the entrance is on Dallas.

As for why the tower is oriented with windows facing east and west, that had entirely to do with the shape of the lot. Highway6 discussed standard hotel layouts earlier, and yeah, they really only just had the option of running the corridors down the long way of the building.

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Look at the parcel they had to work with. There's no direct street access along Lamar Street, so they had two other options: La Branch or Dallas. Each of those streets faces away from the park, and neither is aesthetically welcoming. The convention center and the Hilton Americas conference spaces require about a half-blockface less walking to get to if the entrance is on Dallas.

As for why the tower is oriented with windows facing east and west, that had entirely to do with the shape of the lot. Highway6 discussed standard hotel layouts earlier, and yeah, they really only just had the option of running the corridors down the long way of the building.

Sounds like you got it right. It's just a shame that when you stand in the park you get the ass end -- a very unwelcoming and ugly end -- of that building. At least from a park visitior's perspective, no view was better than that view.

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Sounds like you got it right. It's just a shame that when you stand in the park you get the ass end -- a very unwelcoming and ugly end -- of that building. At least from a park visitior's perspective, no view was better than that view.

Maybe its ass end can be the canvas for some large urban art expression. For instance, a mural of an oil derrick mounted on the side by a space shuttle and atop by a squatting Bagwell.

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Maybe its ass end can be the canvas for some large urban art expression. For instance, a mural of an oil derrick mounted on the side by a space shuttle and atop by a squatting Bagwell.

I wish that the City's sign ordinances would permit large-scale outdoor advertising on the sides of buildings. This (and the abandoned Central Square building) would be a good place for it.

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Maybe the ugly side of this building should have a giant 20-story jumbotron facing the park. Think of advertising revenue. All the haifers that want more lighting for DT at night would be so happy.

Edited by Mister X

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I just don't think, at the end of the day, people not like us, will be at Discovery Green or the GRB and say, "ya know, that's a pretty ugly building, but hey, pretty cool that it's there anyway." They'll just think, "dang, that's kinda ugly."

I don't know, we'll see. I don't mean to pile on the ugly band wagon. My main complaint is it's height and lack of utility.

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I don't know, we'll see. I don't mean to pile on the ugly band wagon. My main complaint is it's height and lack of utility.

Yeah, a 300 room hotel next door to a convention center is pretty useless.

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I don't know, we'll see. I don't mean to pile on the ugly band wagon. My main complaint is it's height and lack of utility.

It's a reasonably intensive use of the site, considering how tiny a parcel of land it is.

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I just don't think, at the end of the day, people not like us, will be at Discovery Green or the GRB and say, "ya know, that's a pretty ugly building, but hey, pretty cool that it's there anyway." They'll just think, "dang, that's kinda ugly."

I don't know, we'll see. I don't mean to pile on the ugly band wagon. My main complaint is it's height and lack of utility.

Good point, thay may be true, but those visitors might be staying at that very hotel lol. :lol:

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I don't have a problem with the height, just the cheapish stucco facade, orientation on the lot, and that "thing" on top. Actually I'd prefer smaller buildings around Discovery Green as opposed to the park being boxed in by super-talls on all sides which would block the expansive views of the rest of downtown from the park.

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Is the remaining parcel of land owned by the hotel for possible parking? If so the utilization of this land was pretty stupid and a bad move fiscally speaking.

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I don't have a problem with the height, just the cheapish stucco facade, orientation on the lot, and that "thing" on top. Actually I'd prefer smaller buildings around Discovery Green as opposed to the park being boxed in by super-talls on all sides which would block the expansive views of the rest of downtown from the park.

You mean the expansive view of downtown, there just one view of expansiveness, and thats towards the north. Parking lots,toyota center, hilton americas, scattered buildings, and more parking lots to the left/west. Parking lots, Discovery Tower, MMP, scattered structures, Harris Co. justice buildings, and more parking lots to the right/east. Not really expansive.And until those parking lots turn into something, I'd prefer a supertall that blocks out that view of the parking lots, but heck a 2 story structure can block that, so it doesn't really have to be a supertall.

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Maybe the ugly side of this building should have a giant 20-story jumbotron facing the park. Think of advertising revenue. All the haifers that want more lighting for DT at night would be so happy.

That reminds me of the fun, heated debate about the tackiness of public jumbo-trons in the Houston Pavilions thread. There was much disagreement. As far as I know, there are still no jumbo-trons at HP and there may never have been any plans for any. We tend to make things up and run with it in this wild west internet place.

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Is the remaining parcel of land owned by the hotel for possible parking? If so the utilization of this land was pretty stupid and a bad move fiscally speaking.

Separate parcel, a fair bit bigger than the one Embassy Suites is on.

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I just don't think, at the end of the day, people not like us, will be at Discovery Green or the GRB and say, "ya know, that's a pretty ugly building, but hey, pretty cool that it's there anyway." They'll just think, "dang, that's kinda ugly."

I think most people at Disco Green will actually be focusing their attention on the cooling waters of the fully functional fountains rather than the buildings surrounding the park. It's hot here, and all. Priorities.

I'll register my disgust with the building's facade by not ever renting a room there. Granted, I probably won't ever rent a room in the same city as where my house is located, but still...

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It's a reasonably intensive use of the site, considering how tiny a parcel of land it is.

I suppose you're right.

I guess we should not expect too much for the east side of downtown anyway. And I actually like the idea of two parcels on one block since that's how a lot of old buildings are, except these won't be touching. It'll make things look more dense though.

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Separate parcel, a fair bit bigger than the one Embassy Suites is on.

Niche, you might be right, but gauging from the live cam, the one embassy suites is on looks much bigger than what remains. ES is on the wider half and the rest is on the skinnier half.

live cam: http://oxblue.com/pro/open/linbeck/embassysuites

maybe the square footage is bigger, but it sure is deceiving.

Also, I assume they have enough parking in the garage? Or else if the other parcel ever gets built on, people will have to use on-street parking. Not that the surface parking has a ton of spaces, what, maybe 40?

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Niche, you might be right, but gauging from the live cam, the one embassy suites is on looks much bigger than what remains. ES is on the wider half and the rest is on the skinnier half.

live cam: http://oxblue.com/pro/open/linbeck/embassysuites

maybe the square footage is bigger, but it sure is deceiving.

Also, I assume they have enough parking in the garage? Or else if the other parcel ever gets built on, people will have to use on-street parking. Not that the surface parking has a ton of spaces, what, maybe 40?

You could very nearly (within 5 or 10 feet) inscribe the Embassy Suites parcel within the adjacent parcel, and there are continuous lines that can be drawn to bisect the adjacent parcel at 340 feet, 275 feet, 270 feet, 210 feet, 200 feet, and so on. The narrowest portion of the parcel is 60 feet, about the width of one tier of the Four Seasons Hotel tower, over a couple blocks.

As for parking, the City enforces parking requirements without very much flexibility. If the hotel is leasing surface spaces as their own anywhere in the vicinity so as to meet City requirements and that parcel gets developed, the hotel (or the new development) will have to come up with new spaces from somewhere, and it would not be on-street parking.

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You mean the expansive view of downtown, there just one view of expansiveness, and thats towards the north. Parking lots,toyota center, hilton americas, scattered buildings, and more parking lots to the left/west. Parking lots, Discovery Tower, MMP, scattered structures, Harris Co. justice buildings, and more parking lots to the right/east. Not really expansive.And until those parking lots turn into something, I'd prefer a supertall that blocks out that view of the parking lots, but heck a 2 story structure can block that, so it doesn't really have to be a supertall.

Well depending on where you're standing in Discovery Green looking west/southwest, you can still see the Enron/Chevron blgs., Continental, Houston Center, etc. as well as many of the taller skyscrapers on the west side of downtown, and if you get @ the right angle on sloped ground near the performance pavillon, you can even see Mainplace.

So that's what I mean by "expansive" -- a view of towers other than just those immediately surrounding the park.

Once you are deep inside the park, the parking lots in the vicinity are hardly noticeable because of the many trees and small structures throughout the park.

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Yep. Only Buckhead could get an Embassy Suites as cool as this...

1770376.jpg

BTW, does Los Angeles even HAVE a downtown?

No not anymore.

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They've removed the covering, exposing the facade.

From johnme at Skyscraperpage:

1785c3d1.jpg

She's a beaut!

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She's a beaut!

is that sarcasm? i'm not gettin' a "beaut" feeling about this at all. it's a far cry from the first rendering. better than a parking lot, yes; attractive addition to discovery green area, nope.

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is that sarcasm? i'm not gettin' a "beaut" feeling about this at all. it's a far cry from the first rendering. better than a parking lot, yes; attractive addition to discovery green area, nope.

LOL yes I was being sarcastic.

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I'm telling you, some urban art or maybe a full-building Rockets ad would do well there. Just put some lipstick on that pig! (and make $ off of it)

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This is very true. But in Velvet J's defense: since when did knowing what the hell you are talking about ever matter at HAIF. Suggesting that all those other cities don't allow ugly buildings to be built is asinine.

Check out this beauty in dt dallas

3048828699_83667faa3c.jpg

For all you haters out there, just be glad that a 19-story building like ES can't make that big of an impact downtown other than infill and to remove a part of a surface lot. But I would also suggest waiting until this building is finished to make your judgments.

I spent about eight hours yesterday driving to and from Dallas. I think that the Sheraton is among the most architecturally interesting buildings in Texas, entirely because the proportions and massing are so classy. It is what makes my mouth water when I drive by downtown Dallas (on my way to the northern suburbs, consistently). Too bad we didn't get something more like that.

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I spent about eight hours yesterday driving to and from Dallas. I think that the Sheraton is among the most architecturally interesting buildings in Texas, entirely because the proportions and massing are so classy. It is what makes my mouth water when I drive by downtown Dallas (on my way to the northern suburbs, consistently). Too bad we didn't get something more like that.

Agreed on the Sheraton - great mid-century modern. Back when it was the Southland Center wasn't it banded in fluorescent lights?

The Embassy Suites just looks so...cheap.

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Cheap is the only way to describe the look of this Embassy Suites. They chopped off 3 floors. They eliminated the roof that would have tied the building a little bit to One Park Place. The worst part though, is they turned their back on the actual park. The UGLIEST part of the building faces the park. Actually, I take that back, the worst part is these developers got public money to help build this thing and this is what we got. For all the folks that cry about regulations, it is my wish that we have some sort of architectural commission for downtown buildings that receive public funds.

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