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IronTiger

3 Buildings to Save

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OK, Haifers:

If you had a time machine and could spare three buildings anywhere within the City Limits of Houston so that they'd be viable today, which three would you spare?

(General rules, three structures only, so unfortunately you can't spare Astroworld, the building would remain in the same place, any consequences would happen--if I wanted to save something on the Interstate 10 corridor, then other buildings would have to be demolished to make up for it, if I save something downtown then redevelopment won't happen)

1. The Shamrock Hotel (leaves possibility for reopening under new names)

2. The McDonald's at University of Houston (truly unique!)

3. That first air conditioning house seen on Swamplot that's being torn down for townhomes

Maybe my choices are pretty poor, but I want to hear yours.

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Can this include towers currently under threat of abandonment/demolition/exterior renovation?

 

1. 800 Bell Street - Keeping the current facade and only sprucing up the interior. Preferably residential

2. That old Hospital off of Allen Parkway that was torn down quite some time ago.

3. The Great Southwest Building.

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The Rosonian (I'll have to find a picture - cool old Condo/Apartment building circa 1910s that was torn down not too far from the Savoy Hotel).

Prudential Building at TMC.

Any of the old Downtown Theatres that were demo'd over the past 50-70 years.

 

I'd also LOVE to keep the old Sam Houston Coliseum.  It would have been a nice mid-size (indoor!) music venue in todays scene.

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Found the Rossonian!

$T2eC16NHJHQFFhyNzkFjBR)OyIij0g~~60_35.J

Built in 1911!  Love this little building and would have made a great hotel or nice condo conversion if it still was around in Downtown.

 

I think - not certain - that it had a roof top garden of sorts?

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/print-edition/2011/01/28/high-rise-apartment-buildings-were.html?page=all

Edited by arche_757

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1.  The Shamrock - not so much for being an architectural masterpiece, as much as for what it meant for Houston

2.  Sheraton-Lincoln - mid-century modern jewel with killer proportions

3.  The Lamar Hotel / Loews State / Metropolitan theater complex.  I'm counting it as one since it was constructed as one structure with multiple uses.  I would qualify preservation however as being pre-mid-1960s "modernization" which basically ruined it.  

 

As a runner-up I would agree with Monty on the Jefferson Davis hospital on Allen Parkway.  

 

 

The Rossonian was indeed a beautiful building, with, at least initially, a roof garden.  It morphed into the Ambassador Hotel, and I believe the structure was there until around 1970.   The site is now the entrance to Two Houston Center.

 

I would guess if you rerun this topic in another ten years you'll get some votes for 3400 Montrose.  

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not going to overthink this, but if we wish for the Rossonian's return we ought not to wish for the Rice Hotel to go away, which might happen if the Texas Capitol circa 1837'd stuck around.  So that's one off of my list.  Likewise we have to measure importance, and the Cynthia/George Mitchell home on Wickwood didn't have much that you can't still find in Dallas' earlier Gillin home by F.L. Wright.

 

So how about a 1,2,3:

 

Fifth Ward in toto, before it was vivisected by I-10 and 59...  this one matters enough to break the category rules. 

Los Troncos, 1516 Westheimer

Victoria Station, 7807 Kirby, both a chain and not the only 1970s railroad restaurant environment in town - there was also the Railhead - but this one had a homey afterlife well into the 2000s as a good hangout where one could personalize the walls, and students from Jones' Vanguard often did.  The interior retained its Clapham Junction and other BritRail signage, but customized for Droubi's restaurant and import grocery use.  This place, in the same vein as the first two, allowed for the vernacular to take shape in real time.  That's a fancy way of stating that our buildings should absorb our care.  The best places still do -- not just up front, from the constructors and designers who are on the clock, but post-occupancy, when we can really spend time with them.  PM me if you know of newish buildings around Houston-Galveston that encourage this.  

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I took my senior prom date to Los Troncos.  I don't recall the food at all (which says something), but I do remember having the table lowered in front of us, and even more privacy than what I later enjoyed at Marfreless.

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I'm not surprised that the Rossonian was a victim, the Houston Center pre-construction (if you saw my scans/the Chron slideshow) wiped out a good third of downtown. In terms of building demolitions, it did incredible damage to older buildings, just as much (plus some) as the freeways did.

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Medical Arts Building

 

Downtown YMCA

 

Houston Club 

 

since these weren't mentioned yet. The Houston Club is nothing great but would have made a nice apartment tower. Loved the operable windows and the brick. So worried that Skanska wont break ground and will have another scar in the heart of downtown. There are no guarantees.

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Is that one of the buildings cleared in the Houston Center land clearing?

It makes me wonder if anyone else remembers when they actually cleared the land. The freeways may have flattened several blocks of homes, but the Houston Center took out an amazing chunk of downtown for a mega-development that was dramatically downscaled.

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Is that one of the buildings cleared in the Houston Center land clearing?

It makes me wonder if anyone else remembers when they actually cleared the land. The freeways may have flattened several blocks of homes, but the Houston Center took out an amazing chunk of downtown for a mega-development that was dramatically downscaled.

 

No, it was on the 200 block of Main on the east side.  It was demolished for parking.  

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Shamrock, Prudential, Astrodome.   Hard to limit it to just three, though.

 

If I borrow strickn's logic, Montrose's housing stock.

 

Also: Maryland Manor! and Josephine!

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I know I've already had my three, but I'm not just real super-comfortable with the economics that killed Wilshire Village and downtown Foley's.   I honestly think the city was better off with thriving downtown department stores and moderately priced, architect-designed, centrally located apartments with a historic pedigree.  So I might want to save those.

 

Or Cullinan's house, "Shadyside."

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The way I read this is : Pick three buildings already gone that you wish we had saved.  And those three buildings remaining will not remove from existence the buildings that replaced them.

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The way I read this is : Pick three buildings already gone that you wish we had saved.  And those three buildings remaining will not remove from existence the buildings that replaced them.

Eh, sort of. The buildings have to have been already razed, and it would replace them, but not necessarily remove from existence the buildings. If I wanted to save Maryland Manor (probably multiple buildings, but common ownership), then the Ashby high-rise wouldn't exist...but would be built elsewhere (Midtown?)

 

The building's facade would be presumably maintained but not necessarily the businesses inside.

 

This would complicate things due to the first rule: if you save a building in an Interstate's ROW that wouldn't mean the Interstate would be cancelled or downscaled, it would mean something else would have to go in its place. 

 

All of these "rules" keep it constrained in a derived version of reality--there may be demolitions that we wish wouldn't have happened but is it a net gain? What would happen if the building was never razed?

 

Take the Wilshire Village apartments example above: so under that, the H-E-B there wouldn't exist. But assuming market forces still exist, what if it took over Richmont Square instead, or maybe just gave up on the area?

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A few that nobody has mentioned:

 

Foley's II (or III?)

 

822a0e68c8866425d05961de14c9e277.jpg

 

 

The rest of that block (middle one visible in pic above), and the Binz building (arguable first skyscraper) further down:

 

4e9eb82eca018.image.jpg

 

 

Old City Hall

 

HoustonCityHall1913.png

 

(This would maybe be tops if not for the Market Square location. Reminds me of a train station nestled in some valley in central Europe.)

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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Great Richardsonian Romanesque style building.  I didn't list that one (earlier) since it was so badly damaged by fire in the 1960s that I think it was pretty much impossible to save? 

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Great Richardsonian Romanesque style building.  I didn't list that one (earlier) since it was so badly damaged by fire in the 1960s that I think it was pretty much impossible to save? 

 

Yes, I believe so.  Prior to that it was serving as a bus station.

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Great Richardsonian Romanesque style building. I didn't list that one (earlier) since it was so badly damaged by fire in the 1960s that I think it was pretty much impossible to save?

Well, the question was which "would you spare." I would have spared it from fire. :)

Also notice the Kennedy Corner bakery at the bottom right of the pic. What was the story on its demo?

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Well, the question was which "would you spare." I would have spared it from fire. :)

Also notice the Kennedy Corner bakery at the bottom right of the pic. What was the story on its demo?

 

Once again, fire - this one much more recent.  However, the former Kennedy Bakery is actually the slender two story building next to it on Capitol, known as La Carafe for the last fifty plus years.

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Not an obvious choice, perhaps, but one I would have liked to have been saved was the Best Products Showroom.  One rarely sees architecture with a bit of wit about it.

 

04-01_site_projects_inc-_met_maples-jone

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Once again, fire - this one much more recent.  However, the former Kennedy Bakery is actually the slender two story building next to it on Capitol, known as La Carafe for the last fifty plus years.

 

I thought they were both Kennedy buildings? So the little one was the bakery and the big one was like a general store?

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I don't know nearly as much of the history of the building that was on the corner as I do of La Carafe (BTW, no TVs, no food beyond chips, beer and wine only, cash only, but there's an ATM back in the corner by the restrooms) and its building.   ;)

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Cool topic. Being from the Heights, I have to mention the Cooley house on East 18th and Heights Blvd and Alamo Elementary on East 27th covering the block between Harvard and Cortlandt. Shame they are both now memories.

My third stay of execution would have to go to Robertson Stadium. People tend to call it a dump, outdated, and unfit, but the history that Robertson in its many years there can never be replaced. Never thought I'd live to see the old Jeppesen brought to the ground. Sure hope I don't if and when they decide to bring down Rice, lol.

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