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Nate99

Annunciation Catholic Church Courtyard Renovation

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The subject has popped up on the Nau Center thread, but it looks like they are staring work now to move the old house over (looks like foundation piers were poured and the blocks with rebar are being built right now).

 

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It looks like they moved that house to the corner from where it was

 

Edit:

Or I could have just waited for Nate99 to answer all questions

Edited by cspwal

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It looks like they moved that house to the corner from where it was

 

They did. They poured a foundation with integrated piers rising up from the ground. They just recently moved the house over the piers. It is not off of the moving rig yet, however.

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The Foley house move will give us better office space, teaching space and will give the pastor and msr. better living space. I teach RCIA at the Parrish and currently we have to meet inside the church because we don't have proper classrooms.

 

anyone interested in learning about the faith or better forming their faith I invite them to our adult education course this Thursday night.

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I honestly think this will both look better and be a better use for the house than the Nau cultural center was going to be

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Why doesn't the city just give them the Cohn house too? Since Nau Center isn't happening, atleast clear that block instead of leaving its remnants to rot. With all this work on going in the convention district, the historic Cohn house looks just terrible here now. There's space next to the Foley house on Annuciation's grounds (if they don't build that other structure). If not that, move it to Sam Houston Park pronto.

Also, I'd hope the move the train to some where on Minute Maid's grounds. Maybe the green space along Crawford north of Legends Plaza?

Edited by tigereye
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The Foley house move will give us better office space, teaching space and will give the pastor and msr. better living space. I teach RCIA at the Parrish and currently we have to meet inside the church because we don't have proper classrooms.

anyone interested in learning about the faith or better forming their faith I invite them to our adult education course this Thursday night.

Outstanding!

Turning the house into office/function/education space as well as some living quarters is an outstanding use for this building.

I did not like the Nau center (it just felt wrong to me.... I just didn't get it) and I really didn't like how the house fit in. I like this use with the church. Turns the building into something functional rather than an appendix.

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What is strange to me is how this Catholic organization (Annunciation) is allowed and trusted to take these significant homes to preserve and keep them  while Incarnate Word Academy, just earlier this year, on the same block, has no problems dismissing and destroying Nicholas Clayton's Building, claiming that it was obsolete.  What is to say that these old homes won't soon be determined that they "obsolete" and torn down? I am sorry, but trusting the Catholic Church with our architecture never works out well for us in the end.   

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What is strange to me is how this Catholic organization (Annunciation) is allowed and trusted to take these significant homes to preserve and keep them  while Incarnate Word Academy, just earlier this year, on the same block, has no problems dismissing and destroying Nicholas Clayton's Building, claiming that it was obsolete.  What is to say that these old homes won't soon be determined that they "obsolete" and torn down? I am sorry, but trusting the Catholic Church with our architecture never works out well for us in the end.   

 

The same church that gave Philip Johnson his first commission in Houston and is responsible for the only historic mansion still standing on Montrose Blvd.? I guess Dominique de Menil didn't know better than to trust the Catholic Church with architecture...

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What is strange to me is how this Catholic organization (Annunciation) is allowed and trusted to take these significant homes to preserve and keep them  while Incarnate Word Academy, just earlier this year, on the same block, has no problems dismissing and destroying Nicholas Clayton's Building, claiming that it was obsolete.  What is to say that these old homes won't soon be determined that they "obsolete" and torn down? I am sorry, but trusting the Catholic Church with our architecture never works out well for us in the end.   

 

Foley house is a good fit at Annunciation. Foley was a parishioner of Annunciation, his family was very active and generous in the early days of the parish. I think he would be happy that the parish was putting the home to good use.

 

Not sure why you think the church is on some demolition free for all? Does the Catholic church have some history of not preserving it's buildings that we don't know about?

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You have to be joking. The Catholic church preserves historical buildings better than anyone. Ever been to Europe? The oldest building in every town tends to be a Catholic church.

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I'm talking about "our architecture" as in our local structures. The neglectful treatment of our regional architectural treasures is what I am referring to.  The Clayton building which was demolished in March is irreplaceable.   But, typical in the church's local thinking.  When the Archdiocese decided that it was finally time to divest itself of the Bishop's Palace, in Galveston, it did so in such a way to maximize it's profits, rather than transfer it to good hands.  If the Archdiocese was interested in preserving The Palace, it could have made a deal/arrangements for it to be transferred to the GHF rather than make them compete to become the highest bidder.  If the church were at all interested in preserving our local architectural history, I think that they would have handled the destruction of the Clayton Building in Houston or the sale of the Bishops Palace in Galveston differently. 

 

The point about St. Thomas is a good one, however.  Does anyone know if they affiliated with the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese?  Is the Archdiocese over all Catholic entities in the region? 

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I'm talking about "our architecture" as in our local structures. The neglectful treatment of our regional architectural treasures is what I am referring to.  The Clayton building which was demolished in March is irreplaceable.   But, typical in the church's local thinking. 

 

You have no idea what you're talking about. But you are free to have that opinion.

 

As for facts. The city put a clause in the deal that would require Annunciation to maintain the hisotrical archecture of Foley House for at least 30 years. And even if Annunciation wanted to raze it one day, the city would have the option to take it back.

 

http://houston.novusagenda.com/agendapublic//CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=4927&MeetingID=106

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You have no idea what you're talking about. But you are free to have that opinion.

 

As for facts. The city put a clause in the deal that would require Annunciation to maintain the hisotrical archecture of Foley House for at least 30 years. And even if Annunciation wanted to raze it one day, the city would have the option to take it back.

 

http://houston.novusagenda.com/agendapublic//CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=4927&MeetingID=106

 

The Clayton Building was just torn down on the exact same block. Just to repeat.

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The Clayton Building was just torn down on the exact same block. Just to repeat.

 

I am aware. I go to church on that block.

 

That's one building. Not exactly a pattern of demolishing buildings.

 

Quite the opposite, the church has a rich history of preserving buildings for centuries. Can we preserve all of them? No. But I can't think of any organization that has done a better job preserving architecture.

 

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Here is an article about Bishop's Palace sale.  The Archdiocese gave GHF one month to come up with $3,000,000 or to Match highest bidder.  No small task for any non-profit organization. 

 

 

What exactly is your complaint?

 

Earlier your grievance was that the archdiocese tore down the clayton building.

 

In this case they are no longer able to maintain bishop's palace as a museum and would rather sell it and use that money for other ministries and other repairs and maintenance for other buildings on Galveston.

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My complaint about the Galveston-Houston Diocese is that they do a very poor job of preserving the architectural history in the possession.  The Clayton Building is a Prime Example as is the Sale of the Bishop's Palace.  In the case of The Bishop's Palace, if the Diocese could've gotten one more dollar from P-Diddy, or Randall Davis, for the building, then they would've, regardless of the intentions of the buyer. This sounds like Maximizing profit from the sale and nothing about preserving the richness of the history.  So, I guess I am concerned that more historic buildings are being transferred to the "care" of the Diocese. 

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More money for ministries like feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick, serving those in prisons, etc is not a bad thing. The Church is in the business of saving souls not maintaining empty palaces.

 

To say nothing of the fact about the skilled tradesman and architectural artisans that the Archdiocese will employ to maintain other historical buildings on the island with the money from the sale of the palace.

 

There are lots of architectural destroyers in our city. The Church is not one of them.

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Yeah, calling that "one building" is a bit disingenuous. The archdiocese has owned a huge number historic buildings, but that does not make it a particularly good caretaker of them. They might be better than HISD in that respect, but that's not saying much.

 

It's also worth noting that a building actually had to be torn down to make room for the Foley House.

Edited by Texasota

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They have maintained the old Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral despite their original intent to demolish. And the Annunciation Church itself still looks good. You said it "never" works out well when they have an historic building.

I do wish the 1870 building had been saved.

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It's also worth noting that a building actually had to be torn down to make room for the Foley House.

 

 

Yes the old rectory was torn down. But the plan from the beginning was to refurbish it not raze it. For lots of reasons i won't get into, the refurbishment plan was no longer viable. But i will say that one complexity that did not exist a hundred years ago is that today there has to be a much more defined space that seperates the living/sleeping space of the pastor and the church offices. The eventual plan is to have a seperate rectory and a seperate church office. Our pastor is a saint and would never hurt or abuse anyone but the seperated space is a must in today's world and the new plan accomidates that better.

 

Once the decision of razing the old rectory was made then the Foley House plan made a lot of sense. Foley house gets preserved, that city block gets cleared away for future city of houston development. The church gets a new office, etc...

 

The parish could have razed the old rectory and built new construction instead, but it should be noted that they chose instead the harder task of litteraly moving a building and restoring it that otherwise would have set empty.

 

Yes, we are not HISD indeed.

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Thank you. Another excellent example into how the the Archdiocese thinks.

My concern is that in 40 years, when these old homes are no longer effiencet in the effort of Saving Souls then they too will be disposed of. Let's hope someone then shows enough concern to save them, the way that the public in Galveston has to save Sacred Heart and Bishop's Palace.

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The point about St. Thomas is a good one, however.  Does anyone know if they affiliated with the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese?  Is the Archdiocese over all Catholic entities in the region? 

 

Generally a religious order is governed separately from the local diocese. This is true of both the Basilian Fathers (St. Thomas), based in Toronto, and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (Incarnate Word Academy), based in France. They do typically try to work with the local diocese and pay respect to the diocese's initiatives, since that acknowledges the bishop as head of the church for that city. But decisions on whether to keep or get rid of a building they make on their own.

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They have maintained the old Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral despite their original intent to demolish. And the Annunciation Church itself still looks good. You said it "never" works out well when they have an historic building.

I do wish the 1870 building had been saved.

Speaking of the old Co-cathedral, do they use it for anything? Do they have plans for it?

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Thanks for the follow-up H-town Man.  I will give the Basillian Fathers credit.  They have made some great choices with St. Thomas University. 

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Speaking of the old Co-cathedral, do they use it for anything? Do they have plans for it?

 

Not sure about the old co-catherdral church building but the old co-cathedral offices are currently being used by Annunciation during this construction phase.

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On 9/30/2015 at 6:56 PM, 102IAHexpress said:

 

 

Yes the old rectory was torn down. But the plan from the beginning was to refurbish it not raze it. For lots of reasons i won't get into, the refurbishment plan was no longer viable. But i will say that one complexity that did not exist a hundred years ago is that today there has to be a much more defined space that seperates the living/sleeping space of the pastor and the church offices. The eventual plan is to have a seperate rectory and a seperate church office. Our pastor is a saint and would never hurt or abuse anyone but the seperated space is a must in today's world and the new plan accomidates that better.

 

Once the decision of razing the old rectory was made then the Foley House plan made a lot of sense. Foley house gets preserved, that city block gets cleared away for future city of houston development. The church gets a new office, etc...

 

The parish could have razed the old rectory and built new construction instead, but it should be noted that they chose instead the harder task of litteraly moving a building and restoring it that otherwise would have set empty.

 

Yes, we are not HISD indeed.

Was trying to recall if it was at the Foley house or the Cohn house where Annunciation preschoolers attended class back in the early 80s?

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14 hours ago, Texasota said:

"was not salvaged" does not necessarily equal "not salvageable"

Perhaps. Doesn’t seem like enough is left to have bothered at this point. Maybe the columns are being restored off site, but they looked very rotten, along with the rest of the exterior wood. 

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5 hours ago, Nate99 said:

Perhaps. Doesn’t seem like enough is left to have bothered at this point. Maybe the columns are being restored off site, but they looked very rotten, along with the rest of the exterior wood. 

 

Siding on a house is a short-lived component, good for replacement about every 30 years. The remainder of the structure is very well worth salvaging as it was most likely built out of longleaf pine, which is 20-30% stronger than yellow pine used today, not allowing for the frequent knots in modern lumber which widens the gap. And the dimensions of the original lumber are larger than current (full 2" thick studs versus 1 1/2" today, 6x6 or larger sills, etc.), widening the gap even further. Obviously there would be some decay and insect damage to the old lumber but probably less than one would think - longleaf pine is much more decay resistant than modern yellow pine.

 

Edited by H-Town Man

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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Siding on a house is a short-lived component, good for replacement about every 30 years. The remainder of the structure is very well worth salvaging as it was most likely built out of longleaf pine, which is 20-30% stronger than yellow pine used today, not allowing for the frequent knots in modern lumber which widens the gap. And the dimensions of the original lumber are larger than current (full 2" thick studs versus 1 1/2" today, 6x6 or larger sills, etc.), widening the gap even further. Obviously there would be some decay and insect damage to the old lumber but probably less than one would think - longleaf pine is much more decay resistant than modern yellow pine.

 

 

I agree, the framing that is left does indeed look fine. I suppose I meant to say, if they weren't of a mind to salvage as much as they could on this project for the sake of preservation, they wouldn't have left the framing either.  Modern quality aside, I'm fairly sure they could have replicated the structure that is left for much less cost than they have in the project thus far.  

 

They did add some new temporary framing on the interior to shore things up. Will be interesting to see how they work around the old structure. 

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If that siding had been white pine then replacing it every 30 years would be reasonable, but it was either cypress or longleaf. This house also probably had cedar interior shiplap. 

 

I do not understand why they wanted this house if this is what they're doing to it.

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16 hours ago, Texasota said:

If that siding had been white pine then replacing it every 30 years would be reasonable, but it was either cypress or longleaf. This house also probably had cedar interior shiplap. 

 

I do not understand why they wanted this house if this is what they're doing to it.

 

You are right, cypress or longleaf would last much longer, but even they deteriorate eventually, after a century of rains. I did not see the condition it was in so can't really judge.

 

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16 hours ago, Nate99 said:

 

I agree, the framing that is left does indeed look fine. I suppose I meant to say, if they weren't of a mind to salvage as much as they could on this project for the sake of preservation, they wouldn't have left the framing either.  Modern quality aside, I'm fairly sure they could have replicated the structure that is left for much less cost than they have in the project thus far.  

 

They did add some new temporary framing on the interior to shore things up. Will be interesting to see how they work around the old structure. 

 

It may indeed have cost less to build new two-story frame houses than to transport and renovate these. But when you do a "Sunset Coffee" and rebuild an old building new, you lose an intangible. There is a reason the world flocks to southern England with its crooked, leaning old homes and inns with uneven floors. The interesting question for me will be if they restore these so much that they effectively lose their character anyway.

 

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I tend to agree. The church already showed their lack of  interest or concern in historic architecture, and the restoration of the Clayton building. So why would they care about those houses. 

I can't wait to see what they replace the siding with. Hope it's not Hardee plank. There was plenty of room for the building they replaced the Clayton building with, to have gone in this site where they have deconstructed the Foley house. They could have used the Clayton building for a museum or a visitor center or an outreach office for community development.

 

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Not to mention, they had to tear down an existing building to make room for the Foley House. None of this makes any sense at all.

 

And it will be hardieboard. I absolutely guarantee it.

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This approach seems to have the downside of preservation without any of the upside.  They will be able to tell people that the frame of their office was built 100 years ago, despite everything that you see, touch, and smell being brand new. 

 

Preservation is not really high on my own list of things to pay extra for, but I can completely understand why people like it and I appreciate that many people and organizations spend the extra money to do it. This approach doesn't seem to do anyone any good. 

Edited by Nate99
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