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Harris County Courthouses And Square

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This is one of those rare times that I can say the building looks better than the photo, in my opinion.

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I would be surprised if they cancelled the plaza. They are going to have to do a lot of work on that lot anyway. They are going to place the jury pools under that lot. It is going to be connected by tunnel to all of the surrounding courthouses. It is supposed to make it a lot easier for all of the jurors to get around. Once the new civil building is complete I believe they are going to rennovate the family law building floor by floor. Not to mention the rennovations already going on at the juvenile law building.

Suzerain

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The rendering looks waaay different from the real thing. if you look, the real one has more arched windows. And I was wondering- is that borwn facade part of the new design, or will it be painted?

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The rendering looks waaay different from the real thing.  if you look, the real one has more arched windows.  And I was wondering- is that borwn facade part of the new design, or will it be painted?

You would hope it was the same color, to match the other building. Besides, a brown dome ontop wouldn't look very good in my opion. I like the one in the drawing better, but I guess I can't judge it until its complete.

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Hmm..looks like it got affected by the Orion somehow.... :P

Still, looks cool!

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CourtsFX.jpg

harris_county_civil1.jpg

Yeah, I agree.

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Was just in Downtown today and the courthouse(the one on the right) is nearly topped out I think. It looks like they are working on the crown.

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It blows compared to the first one...

estoy de acuerdo. in the first rendering it totally matched the other building. in the new one, it looks like some absurd casino. i like the old rendering much better. and they better not cheap out on the top, like they did with 5 houston center or whatever it's called.

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Well, maybe they wanted to make sure the buildins match. :) I mean, we can't have unmatchin buildings now, can't we?

Ricco

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I guess the bricks are darker and the rows of windows on the edges also make the building brighter, but im not sure.

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I find it so funny to see progress on this building. Especially after I got into an argument with a Harris County employee about the building. He insisted it wasn't going to be built. That there was no plan to build it. That it wasn't happening. For some reason he was in total denial.

This was the same employee who came up with all of the financial statistics the anti-rail movement used before the referendum.

Dumbass.

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I find it so funny to see progress on this building.  Especially after I got into an argument with a Harris County employee about the building.  He insisted it wasn't going to be built.  That there was no plan to build it.  That it wasn't happening.  For some reason he was in total denial.

This was the same employee who came up with all of the financial statistics the anti-rail movement used before the referendum.

Dumbass.

:lol:

Serious...

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I find it so funny to see progress on this building.  Especially after I got into an argument with a Harris County employee about the building.  He insisted it wasn't going to be built.  That there was no plan to build it.  That it wasn't happening.  For some reason he was in total denial.

This was the same employee who came up with all of the financial statistics the anti-rail movement used before the referendum.

Dumbass.

They don't look through the Phi Beta Kappa directory for county employees.

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The entire complex of new court buildings is pathetic. Boring. Derivative. Cliched. Poorly planned. Lacking any sense of grace or grandeur. Completely void of any architectural significance. In other words, a typical Harris County project.

As long as Houston and Harris County officials continue to disallow consultant contracts to "outsiders" (out-of-town architects who don't contribute big bucks to local politicos), and refuse to consider design competitions for major projects, we are doomed to having our tax dollars wasted on more mediocre buildings.

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The entire complex of new court buildings is pathetic.  Boring. Derivative. Cliched. Poorly planned. Lacking any sense of grace or grandeur. Completely void of any architectural significance.  In other words, a typical Harris County project.

As long as Houston and Harris County officials continue to disallow consultant contracts to "outsiders" (out-of-town architects who don't contribute big bucks to local politicos), and refuse to consider design competitions for major projects, we are doomed to having our tax dollars wasted on more mediocre buildings.

I'm no architect, but am I the only one who sees beauty in this building?

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I think they are both pretty. Although, I did like the original design of the Civil Court better.

Court buildings shouldn't look modern. They need to look imposing, because people can lose their liberty, money, children or spouse because of what happens inside. It's a serious place that needs serious architecture.

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The entire complex of new court buildings is pathetic.  Boring. Derivative. Cliched. Poorly planned. Lacking any sense of grace or grandeur. Completely void of any architectural significance.  In other words, a typical Harris County project.

As long as Houston and Harris County officials continue to disallow consultant contracts to "outsiders" (out-of-town architects who don't contribute big bucks to local politicos), and refuse to consider design competitions for major projects, we are doomed to having our tax dollars wasted on more mediocre buildings.

although i do like the two buildings, i agree with jtmbin's statement concerning the lack of design competitions. in my opinion, many of the best known and most beautiful buildings in the world are brought forth via design competitions. if a smaller city like Milwaukee can get Calatrava to design a freakin' museum extension, why can't big ol' Houston pull in some sweet international talent?

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I think they are both pretty. Although, I did like the original design of the Civil Court better.

Court buildings shouldn't look modern. They need to look imposing, because people can lose their liberty, money, children or spouse because of what happens inside. It's a serious place that needs serious architecture.

Why should court houses not look modern? According to who? These buildings are skyscrapers! They ARE modern. They should NOT be skyscrapers trying to look like ancient Roman/Grecian statehouses.

Have you been inside the Criminal Courts building? There is absolutely nothing "imposing" about it. It's just an office building. A big boring, non-imposing, non-majestic, non-important looking office building and that's a shame.

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At one time there was such a thing as civic pride. Look at the courthouses, city halls, schools, libraries, even the jails built in the 19th and early 20th century. Some resemble palaces, with fine masonry, marble, ironwork, woodwork and stained glass.

For some reason, that all changed sometime after World War II. Suddenly civic pride was replaced by government resentment. Anything built by the government that wasn't pig ugly was viewed as a waste of tax dollars ("What are they trying to do, build the Taj Mahal?").

Yes, we could probably build something attractive just as cheaply as something ugly, but people would complain. They want ugly. They expect it.

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Other cities takes on civic design:

NY Times

Uncle Sam, Visionary Builder?

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

Published: September 19, 2004

OURO.184.1.jpgExploring the tension between democratic values and a fear of instability: Richard Meier's federal building in Central Islip on Long Island.

OURO.184.blackwhite.jpgMack Scogin Merrill Elam's courthouse in Austin, Tex., in the "Civic Spirit" show.

IN an age when government buildings are viewed more as terrorist targets than emblems of democratic values, the federal government's "Excellence in Architecture" program may seem an anachronism. Created in 1994, less than two years into the Clinton presidency, the program sought to raise the abysmal standards of design set in the 1970's and 80's, when American architecture was at a low point and government projects were typically built by politically connected corporations.

The program focused on what was then a novel idea: to seek out and hire the best talent. Organized by the General Services Administration, the agency that oversees government building projects, the program cut through some red tape and brought in teams of respected architects, planners and designers.

"Civic Spirit: Changing the Course of Federal Design," on view through Nov. 10 at the Center for Architecture in Manhattan, traces the history of that ambitious 10-year undertaking. The exhibition suggests what can happen when a government bureaucracy operates with a modicum of aesthetic awareness. Of the 19 projects in the show, many are first-rate;some rank among the great examples of American civic architecture

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FYI: brises-soleil are horizontal elements which serve to shade the building.

A local example would be the Exxon building.

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That courthouse in Austin looks absolutely soulless and inhumane. Seriously, they could use that exact picture for the cover of a Kafka novel. When did America start wanting to be like Europe?

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I'm no architect, but am I the only one who sees beauty in this building?

No you are not. I was in town over the weekend, and the new building in my opinion looks fantastic. It puts a whole new face on downtown to the East, which had previously been neglected, and seems to tie in Minute Maid with all the other historic buildings. Plus the glass has a really classy tint, much better than in the renderings. It's not cutting edge, avant-garde architecture, but I honestly think it will do more for downtown than the last couple of skyscrapers we've built. In my opinion, this is the sleeper project of the year. Two thumbs up.

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It looked pretty cool outside MM park during the division series and NLCS (on TV that is). At the end of the game during the player interviews the camera is turned towards it.

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<_<

Houston's insecurity with being young, raw, and unappreciated by it's metropolitan peers has gotten the better of itself, as least as the county is concerned. What the hell is that building supposed to be, a Las Vagas casino disguised as something else? Is that excuse for a dome actually functional as one, or is it just a fancy way to hide the mechanical systems and squander tax payer dollars while giving some fat and bloated good ol' boy judges and commisioners a faulty sense of accomplishment?

The supposed "Space City" always suceeds when it embraces its' zeitgeist and looks ahead into the future.

That abomination to our skyline is a just a pathetic attempt to manufacture a history that never existed.

But hey, at least it's not a strip mall.

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That courthouse in Austin looks absolutely soulless and inhumane. Seriously, they could use that exact picture for the cover of a Kafka novel. When did America start wanting to be like Europe?

Ugh. Europe.

Yeah. What do those yokels know about architecture and urban planning? :huh:

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Why do you like the building? Do you like the way it's going to function as a municipal building? Do you like the planning and layout of the design? Do you like the way it relates to the plaza and surrounding buildings? What does it say about Harris County, the city of Houston and the it's people?

I was born at the TMC. I was raised on the west side. I was sentenced to high school in Katy.

NYC is great, it's the Capital of the World. They put much more pride and effort into their city than Houston ever has. Not to say Houston hasn't improved in leaps and bounds within the next decade. I've seen that transformation myself with my own eyes too you know. But we still have a long way to go.

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i too am a little disappointed with the design of this piece of architecture. if you've seen the new breed of courthouses/judicial centers going up around the world, then you'll agree that houston missed the mark with both of these buildings. city governments around the world are building justice centers with CUTTING EDGE, SUSTAINABLE, USER FRIENDLY architecture.

mayor brown and his administrations were amazed with every proposal that came their way, they failed to be appropriately "critical" in areas of design and planning. yes, they facilitated many things; however, i don't believe that the "world view" of these last two administrations was much greater than their own careers and legacy, and don't mention the stadiums or the cotswald project, or the main street project. those ideas were born out of the consensus of houston businesses, developers and architects. the brown administrations simply put their stamp of approval on projects already in the works to garner as much credit for themselves as they could. (mayor brown's legacy will be corruption, greed and red ink.)

this brings me back to an older thread........houston needs an objective design review committee for all major projects within the city limits.

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i too am a little disappointed with the design of this piece of architecture.  if you've seen the new breed of courthouses/judicial centers going up around the world, then you'll agree that houston missed the mark with both of these buildings.  city governments around the world are building justice centers with CUTTING EDGE, SUSTAINABLE, USER FRIENDLY architecture. 

mayor brown and his administrations were amazed with every proposal that came their way, they failed to be appropriately "critical" in areas of design and planning.  yes, they facilitated many things; however, i don't believe that the "world view" of these last two administrations was much greater than their own careers and legacy, and don't mention the stadiums or the cotswald project, or the main street project.  those ideas were born out of the consensus of houston businesses, developers and architects.  the brown administrations simply put their stamp of approval on projects already in the works to garner as much credit for themselves as they could.  (mayor brown's legacy will be corruption, greed and red ink.)

this brings me back to an older thread........houston needs an objective design review committee for all major projects within the city limits.

You Kinda Hatin ain't cha.

When Brown came, one of the 1st things he said was to bring people back to downtown, something he ushered in when he was in Atlanta. His other big thing was to get downtown more commuter and that rail would be a grand idea since he also help usher it in in Atlanta so what are you talking about.

His biggest concern was to stop freeway flooding and that freeway conctruction would cause more, build better drainage.

Corruption was already in Houston before he got there and while Brown was there, Houston made it's biggest strides in the World View and proposals for building were at an all time high since the Oil boom. Like most Mayors, they let their departments head make the decisions, that's how that is handled.

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light rail was a component of the main street project, not mayor brown's idea. the downtown renaissance was in it's infancy before mayor brown was elected. houston was coming back economically AND had a rainy day fund (thank you bob lanier) which brown's administration obliterated and then some.

it's a stretch to say i'm "hatin", disappointed yes, not hateful.

the recent story of mayor brown's former chief of staff is just the tip of the iceburg i'm afraid.

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Bob lanier's light rail plan had failed when he was the mayor for the city. When Lee Brown was the mayor for two terms, Lee Brown went to d.c. for funds for the light rail and they wouldn't give it to him, so he done it anyway, but with the help of Bob Lanier to help push the issue the light rail is here today. All the work you see downtown is from Lee Brown. The work at the airport is, Lee Brown. Lee Brown brung people back downtown cause of the expandsion of GRB Convention Center, and by adding a five star 1200 room Hilton Hotel, etc. If y'all say Lee Brown hasn't done nothing for the city, why he been elected twice to serve houston? This mayor we have today (Bill White) he's only out to fix lights. Wow, fixing lights must be a hard job as a mayor! Lee Brown brung in entertainment for the city. What entertainment Bill White brung in lately? His entertainment is fixing lights.

Some of y'all talking bad about the new court house, that will be the largest in the nation after they get finish. It looks great to me, just another high rise in downtown. And yes, I see alot of hatin in here.

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houstonsemipro proves that getting in front of the camera and announcing other peoples ideas a la lee p. brown makes people believe that you did something great. lee brown obstructed the consensus of elected council members, hand-picked projects to toot his own horn, hand-picked contractors to boost his "support" and scoffed at common conventions of ethical behavior.

believe what you will. ignorance is indeed bliss.

all this aside, the buildings still are less than that that should represent houston.

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I have to say that the building is growing on me. I didn't like the design initially but it's turning out to look better than I expected.

I also agree that Houston seem to have lost it's cutting edge spirit in a lot of things including building design. This is suppose to be Space City. Personally, I would have loved to have had Minute Maid Field, this new Criminal Justice Building, a lot of the new condo towers going up, some of the new projects in the Medical Center etc., with a more "forward" cutting edge look. It appears Atlanta has taken the "future" cutting edge title Houston used to have. Houston, shouldn't forget what it is.

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I am happy not having our funds wasted on a "cutting edge" courthouse for the dregs of society.

These buildings look fine, and are really changing the skyline of this section of downtown.

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