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From what I understand, both MD Anderson and a museum in New Mexico finally found a donor who is willing to pay to have the mural removed and delivered to the museum in a single piece. Specially trained workers arrived at the building several weeks ago to detach the mural from the ceiling and floor, and encapsulate the entire mural in a gigantic crate that is 20 ft tall and 50 ft wide. The entire front doorway, vestibule, and porte cohere will have to be dismantled to make way for the crate. They will have to go down to the basement to reinforce the floor underneath the lobby to support the load of the crate as it departs the building. A crane will be brought to lift the crate onto a specially commissioned tractor trailer. The trailer will transport the mural to New Mexico with a convoy of bucket trucks to raise any obstructing power lines between here and there. Once the mural has been removed, the demolition of the building will begin immediately.

Wow. That is going to be one gigantic crate all right. The mural itself is 15 feet by 47 feet, but its size is just part of the problem. You have to remember that the mural wall makes a 90 degree curve around a corner there in the lobby. Removing that entire curved corner in one piece, getting it into the custom designed curved crate, and getting it out of the building is going to be a major feat of careful engineering.

Now we're getting a clear picture of why this is costing so much, and why it's been so hard to find anyone willing to foot that cost.

I do hope one or more of the Houston TV stations is following this to get video of this removal.

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I'm not in the habit of defending the demolition of an architecturally and historically significant building, but this time I'll make an exception. It's just not that great of a building. Its purpose

Ah, but we live in the age of beige.

The thing I don't like about the MDACC rationale, though, is that their cost estimates are based upon repurposing the building for a medical use. I'd like to see the cost of renovating and leaving it

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n/m (from MD Anderson newsletter). Looks like demo will begin in the new year, too:

What's 19 feet tall, 47 feet long and connected to a ceiling? The Peter Hurd mural, "West Texas Farm," located in the lobby of the Houston Main Building (HMB). And the effort to remove the mural will be a feat of engineering and teamwork.

"It's a major undertaking to remove it from the lobby," says John Chachere, project director, Capital Planning and Management. "We're going to work hand-in-hand with the contractors that the donor has hired to remove and transport it."

Employees in Facilities Management will work in parallel with the contractors hired to remove the mural. "While the art specialist gets the piece ready for moving, we'll prepare the pathway for them to remove the mural," says Chachere.

The mural, created on one-inch-thick plaster in the early 1950s, has been exposed to consistent levels of temperature and humidity. The restoration specialist will clean, restore and protect the mural before it's detached from the ceiling. Once it's detached, a contractor will create and install a supportive structure on the back of the mural. "They're going to reinforce and encapsulate the entire mural in a large crate before removing it from the lobby," says Chachere. "They'll also bring in a structural engineer to make sure that the lobby floor can take the load, because there's a basement beneath it."

Creating the pathway for removal also is a complex matter. Facilities Management employees will remove the vestibule, glass entry doors and covered drive entrance to make room for the crated piece.

The final piece of the project-moving the mural to New Mexico-is a challenge that the contractors have developed a unique solution for: a tractor trailer accompanied by a bucket truck will take the mural to its new home. "There are good highways all the way to New Mexico," says Chachere, "but not every overpass and every town you come to has power lines above 20 feet. The bucket truck will be there to raise any obstructions."

The team expects to complete the project in January, after which the demolition process for HMB will begin in earnest.

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Happy to know the mural will be saved, even if it's out-of-state. Would like to see other parts salvaged, as well. I just loved the design of those grounds. And that light stone.

For those who're wondering where the mural is going, it will be either the Wyeth-Hurd Museum in Santa Fe New Mexico, or the Hurd La Rinconada Gallery and Guest Ranch in San Patricio New Mexico. The Hurd and Wyeth families control both. Here's a link to the Museum: http://wyethhurd.com/index.html

Homes at the guest ranch are open to the public for short term rentals. And yes they are pricey. But it's an incredibly beautiful place to spend a few days, or a week, or two or three. http://www.wyethartists.com/guest-homes/guest-homes.htm

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • 1 month later...

More about the mural's future:

With the clock ticking toward demolition and promising deals falling through, time seemed to be running out for Southwestern muralist Peter Hurd's massive, romantic depiction of ranch life in the Texas Medical Center's old Prudential Life Insurance Building.

But even as workers stripped asbestos from the doomed building at 1100 Holcombe Blvd., a wealthy benefactor acting on behalf of tiny Artesia, N.M., — a town in which Hurd once had a studio - saved the day.

Ultimately, the curved 16-foot-by-46-foot ranch scene, valued at around $4 million, will be the centerpiece of the town's new public library.

In coming weeks, workers will coat the painting's back with resin and fiberglass, then surround it with massive trusses. In December or January, they will roll the mural - now weighing 13 tons - from the building, hoist it onto a truck with a crane and drive it to Midland-Odessa, where the painting temporarily will be stored.

[...]

"The mural just sort of fell into our lap," said Hayley Klein, executive director of the Artesia Chamber of Commerce and a member of the library's building committee. "It's really a great opportunity for the community, M.D. Anderson and the art."

Hayley said Artesia, population 11,000, expects to let bids for its new library next summer. The new building will be specifically designed to accommodate the curved mural.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7274348.html

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  • 2 months later...

Swamplot has updated.. the building isn't quite dead yet.

"being demolished today is a “coach canopy” outside the structure, cancer center spokesperson Laura Sussman tells Swamplot. Removal of the canopy will allow workers to extract a large mural from inside the space before the building is demolished."

"couldn’t confirm when demolition of the 18-story former Prudential Life Insurance Building would take place, but a source tells Swamplot it’s been scheduled for the middle of February"

Edited by Highway6
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Please tell me a worthy tower will replace this beautiful building, I really hope it doesnt just become a parking lot or parking garage. I was driving around the area just south of TMC across the bayou and Jesus, Id never seen so much parking in my entire life. I was driving around there at night and I got lost in all those parking lots for about 20 minutes, couldnt find a way out of it. The last thing TMC needs is more parking, its ridiculous.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another update from Swamplot -

Zakheim, the mural's conservator, was fired by Linbeck January 20th. Linbeck is also facing nearing deadlines for demolition. Something weird is going on here - I wonder what Zakheim did (or didn't do) to warrant a termination..

http://swamplot.com/will-m-d-andersons-contractor-bungle-the-largest-fresco-rescue-ever/2011-02-01/

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Please tell me a worthy tower will replace this beautiful building, I really hope it doesnt just become a parking lot or parking garage. I was driving around the area just south of TMC across the bayou and Jesus, Id never seen so much parking in my entire life. I was driving around there at night and I got lost in all those parking lots for about 20 minutes, couldnt find a way out of it. The last thing TMC needs is more parking, its ridiculous.

It will become one of two things:

1. surface parking lot

2. another bland boring box for which houston is known.

Edited by LTAWACS
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  • 3 months later...

Parking within the TMC core is extremely profitable. Standard TMC rates get to $12 at just over 2 hours, which is as long as any doctor visit takes in the TMC. I'm sure MD Anderson will add a new building on the site with a large garage. Hopefully they integrate the adjacent rail stop thoughtfully.

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Parking within the TMC core is extremely profitable. Standard TMC rates get to $12 at just over 2 hours, which is as long as any doctor visit takes in the TMC. I'm sure MD Anderson will add a new building on the site with a large garage. Hopefully they integrate the adjacent rail stop thoughtfully.

Shamrock Hilton, Prudential Bldg. the icons always seem to come down in Houston. As stated before it is truly sad to see the building being taken apart. My brother was able to get some of the marble and granite that was taken down several years ago from the building. Too bad they couldn't salvage those slabs before they implode the building.

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  • 4 weeks later...

What I loved most about this design was the exterior landscape, especially the fountain. Too bad it's suffered such a common fate among older buildings in this city. No respect.

I would like to think the building materials would be of value. Hopefully some parts of the old girl have been salvaged.

I mentioned before, my father worked in that bldg. many years ago. I remember looking out of one of the office windows to the swimming pool, far below.

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Totally agree with the Niche. UT MD Anderson only looked at converting it for medical space. However, professional office space is in high demand in the TMC. Additionally, housing is greatly needed for the thousands of students, interns, and residents who call the TMC home for a few years. I would have liked to have seen the old Prudential turned into an apartment tower, becoming the second one operated by TMC (Favrot Tower).

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  • 2 months later...

Any news on this? We took my son to TCH yesterday and had a good view of this building right outside our window. (Sorry - no camera) It looked completely gutted. But there was not a single worker in sight in the building or around it. Are they going to implode it or knock it down piece by piece?

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  • 1 month later...

Swamplot is reporting that they will now implode the building before the end of the year. They stated that manually demolishing the building would be too loud and would result in poor air quality for too long, thus disturbing patients and employees of TMC.

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  • 1 month later...

http://arch-ive.org/news/?p=58

Demolition day for the Houston Main Building (HMB) will be Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

But don’t make plans to come to campus to watch the implosion, which will take place after the sun comes up that morning. It’s a serious construction activity that requires a lot of attention to safety – for our patients, the public and ourselves.

“Implosions are loud and create a lot of dust, and there will be a lot of street closures,” says John Chachere, project director, Capital Planning and Management. “But safety is the most important thing.. For all these reasons, we’re asking that employees not come to campus unless they’re scheduled to work.”

Chachere points out that the exclusion zone – the area within which no one may be outside during the implosion process – is large. “There’s not any place you can go to view this thing and really see what’s going on.”

The implosion will be videotaped, so everyone will have ample opportunity to watch it later.

[...]

After it’s all gone, the site will be restored to a park-like area for everybody to enjoy.

A highlight of the park-like area will be the “Wave of Life” statue that’s graced the front of HMB since the 1950s.

Contractors will move the statue to a concrete pad at the west end of the Duncan Building prior to the implosion. The statue will return to its original location after all the debris is hauled away.

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The Prudential Building (Currently MD Anderson's Houston Main Building) is scheduled to be demolished on January 8th.

Here's an article from Swamp Lot, and here's the safety perimeter map.

I can see the Prudential building clearly from my lab at TCH but I'm inside the security perimeter so unfortunately I can't watch it from my lab. :( Does anybody have any good ideas about where the best place to watch the demolition will be?

Edited by Jax
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The Prudential Building (Currently MD Anderson's Houston Main Building) is scheduled to be demolished on January 8th.

Here's an article from Swamp Lot, and here's the safety perimeter map.

I can see the Prudential building clearly from my lab at TCH but I'm inside the security perimeter so unfortunately I can't watch it from my lab. :( Does anybody have any good ideas about where the best place to watch the demolition will be?

Why won't you be allowed to be in your lab on that day? Are TCH employees banned from entereing their own building? I have not heard that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I looked at the safety notice again and it seems like it actually says the nobody is allowed outside in the safety perimeter zone on demolition day but, but it seems like maybe we can get away with being inside the building if we enter before the perimeter is closed.

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I plan on being in the Feigen Center that day to watch the implosion. I'll be up on level 15 or so in one of the collaboration spaces. I'll even bring donuts.

I also heard that the Hurd mural got damaged as they were packing it for transport. Apparently the packing material used to keep the mural from being scratched ingnited by friction and smoldered for some time before it was noticed. The restorers will have to deal with smoke damage once it arrives at the final destination.

And I noticed today that if you look real hard at the top of the building you can barely make out the image of the Rock of Gibralta.

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Hey do you work at TCH? Maybe we can have a TCH viewing party! There's a good space on the 15th floor with a view but the window is treated with little white dots or something so it's not totally clear or ideal for photography. :( I wish there was a clear window...

Anyways, here's what it looks like today:

img0992i.jpg

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I looked at the safety notice again and it seems like it actually says the nobody is allowed outside in the safety perimeter zone on demolition day but, but it seems like maybe we can get away with being inside the building if we enter before the perimeter is closed.

Oooo... Maybe a haif camping trip?

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Thanks, I didn't know what that glass coating was called. Yeah it would probably be a great view. I eat up there on 15th all the time but it would definitely not make for good photos. PM me if you find a good spot with clear windows. My lab actually has a view of the Prudential building with clear glass but we're on a lower floor so I don't think it would work so well for photography either.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I don't know if I can even watch the live stream - after going over the maps and thinking about it (too much?) I decided I'm going to go with what I've got - pictures of it as it was. Not only does the crew really want people away, I also don't need that sinking feeling I always get - there's just no (more) thrill in seeing a building getting massacred..

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I've decided to stay home and watch the live stream or video later.

I wonder if people will display this much regret if and when the other "former Prudential building" is torn down? You know, the one on the West Loop (now AT&T).

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^The long "squares" just south of Bissonnet?

Yes, that long ugly thing. Not quite sure of the year it was built.........1977 or so, I'm guessing. I'm sure it was a dissapointment when Prudential employees had to move there. The newness probably wore off quick.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to MD Anderson To Demolish Prudential Life Building

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