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The Abandoned Astrodome And It’s Future


gambitx

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I love it. Build a Texas Cyclone on it and we practically have AstroWorld back too. What a great way to relish, enjoy and appreciate an exciting part of Houston's history. The 'Astro' era could have its own outdoor/indoor shrine and be a beautiful gateway to Reliant, the Houston Texans and the Rodeo.

Of course, I realize that this doesn't scream corporate functionality and I don't see a clear path to unbridled profits at this time (which seems to be the only thing most shortsighted people at HAIF only care about) but it's a great idea just the same.

Good luck with this one. As someone who just wants to save the dome for the sake of civil pride (don't care about raising your taxes to do it either), I'm willing to throw my support behind just about anything at this point that will preserve this (still) living symbol. The Astrodome is a larger than life monument to one of the greatest, most excessive, exciting periods in our city's history. It's not just another old stadium. It helped to put Houston on the map and deserves more respect than just any old ordinary white elephant.

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I love it. Build a Texas Cyclone on it and we practically have AstroWorld back too. What a great way to relish, enjoy and appreciate an exciting part of Houston's history. The 'Astro' era could have its own outdoor/indoor shrine and be a beautiful gateway to Reliant, the Houston Texans and the Rodeo.

Of course, I realize that this doesn't scream corporate functionality and I don't see a clear path to unbridled profits at this time (which seems to be the only thing most shortsighted people at HAIF only care about) but it's a great idea just the same.

Good luck with this one. As someone who just wants to save the dome for the sake of civil pride (don't care about raising your taxes to do it either), I'm willing to throw my support behind just about anything at this point that will preserve this (still) living symbol. The Astrodome is a larger than life monument to one of the greatest, most excessive, exciting periods in our city's history. It's not just another old stadium. It helped to put Houston on the map and deserves more respect than just any old ordinary white elephant.

This pipe dream is really cool compared to others, and it would be awesome if Reliant would just take lead on making this happen.

I'll agree with the bolded statement, only because decay is a natural part of life!

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  • 4 months later...

I read an article in the HBJ about turning the Astrodome into a giant casino. It's probably very unlikely, and unfortunately it's behind paywall but it's still pretty interesting. Granted, they'd have to legalize gambling first.

 

“Houston is going to get the first piece of Texas casino action. One of my clients, a big name in gaming who must remain confidential, is going to buy the Astrodome and turn it into the world’s biggest gambling pit under one roof, with thousands of slot machines on multiple levels and high-stakes table games on the floor."

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/print-edition/2013/03/15/lucky-louie-likes-odds-on-casino.html?page=all

 

 

Edited by ClutchCity
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Per Ed emmitt, this is a non story

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett does not consider this new information on the Astrodome as changing anything at this point.

"I looked at it briefly (Monday) and all it is, is how much does it cost to demolish the dome," said Emmett.

"That's something that, if and when Harris County Commissioners Court made the decision to do that, then I'm sure we would go out for bids.

"Unless there's something there I didn't see when it came across my desk, all I saw were two or three options for how to demolish it and turn it into a parking lot. I know that's their position. I'm not denigrating it, but that doesn't really move the ball anywhere."

Judge Emmett said he does not immediately plan to do anything with the information from the Texans and the Rodeo.

"Read it and put it on a shelf," Emmett said. "It's not meaningful at all."

Read more: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/21723499/2013/03/19/houston-texans-rodeohouston-proposing-astrodome-implosion#ixzz2O2XcB4I6

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I hope Ed is only tabling turning the area into a parking lot, not demolition. 

 

I think there are still plenty of things they can do with the dome, and certainly I think a lot of Houstonians are at a point where they believe demolition isn't a bad idea. That being said, it would be just like Houston to demo and put in a parking lot. No, lets shake that history and get to a point where we do something purposeful with the land, even if it is a greenspace dedicated to Houston sports history.

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The idea of tearing down the Astrodome is already a dismal enough scenario. But to think that the ground it once stood on gets no more reverence than to become just another parking lot within an ocean of parking lots should be considered an insult by anyone who truly loves the city of Houston. At least leaving the land the dome once stood on as some kind of green space park, small sports museum or some kind of tribute to what it brought to Houston as far as international recognition and the revolutionary architecture that it was at the time it opened would be some small (very small) consolation.  The idea of paving over it and forgetting it like it was just another aluminum building that used to sell cheap furniture back in the 70's on the I-610 feeder road is BEYOND PATHETIC!

 

I understand that nothing could be cheaper and require less thought and imagination than to blow it up and make a parking lot for the Texans and the Rodeo to enjoy more profits on, but Houston is one of the riches cities in the world and if we allow this to happen at a time when our city is booming, I think Houston would lose a lot of respect from the people who matter most - the ones who are here for the long haul.

 

I also understand that it is the "Houston way" to discard old buildings that are no longer profitable or are standing in the way of someone's corporate profits, but this one time we better make an exception. The Astrodome was a game changing, internationally recognizable, unique piece of architecture and those don't come around very often. Houston may never get another one. 

 

Edited by Mister X
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I also understand that it is the "Houston way" to discard old buildings that are no longer profitable or are standing in the way of someone's corporate profits, but this one time we better make an exception. The Astrodome was a game changing, internationally recognizable, unique piece of architecture and those don't come around very often. Houston may never get another one. 

 

I don't know if it's really fair to imply that this is a problem that is specific to Houston, because this kind of demolition of historic stadiums has happened all across the US.  Does anyone know of a successful example of repurposing a facility like this?

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Yes, there have been a ton of old stadiums demolished. However, how many of them were demolished for surface parking and nothing else?

 

I am not in favor of demolishing the astrodome, especially to just replace it with surface parking; but to your question:

 

Shea Stadium comes to mind. 

I think Seattle Kingdome was also demolished and replaced with surface parking for their new foottball stadium. Also:

Milwaukee County Stadium;

Comiskey Park;

Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta;

Veterans Stadium in Philly;

Arlington Stadium;

Mile HIgh Stadium;

Foxboro Stadium (demolished just to replace it with surface parking... later redeveloped);

Giants Stadium at The Meadowlands;

Texas Stadium (used for equipment storage and TxDOT staging area... little different from surface parking);

Three Rivers Stadium;

 

Also arenas were demolished just to be replaced with surface parking lots:

McNichols Sports Arena in Denver;

Market Square Arena in Indy;

the Spectrum in Philly;

Boston Garden;

Chicago Stadium.

 

Edited by Houston19514
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From The Atlantic

 

The former Guru Maharaji once said, "God is like the Astrodome. If you haven’t experienced it personally, you don’t know what it is."

For anyone who grew up immersed in the worlds of modernist architecture or professional sports, entering the Dome is an oddly spiritual experience. Natural light pours in from its ceiling, shining down on the decaying site. The torn-up Astroturf field is still surrounded by the late 90s ephemera of its final days (box-shaped televisions, advertisements, endzone signs for its most famous tenants, the MLB Astros and former NFL Oilers).

It's been a decade since the Astrodome hosted any local sports team, and it's in worse shape than ever before. Each year, Harris County grapples with the choice of spending tens of millions to demolish the stadium, or hundreds of millions to save it.

That debate got a little rowdier earlier this month, when the NFL Texans and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (both organizations occupy surrounding properties) released a study claiming the dome could be demolished for under $30 million, less than half the cost County officials have been reporting.

Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shared his opinion last week, suggesting that a torn down Astrodome could make it easier for its neighbor, Reliant Stadium, to host a Super Bowl by providing the site an extra 2,500 parking spots.

 

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/03/what-should-become-aging-decrepit-astrodome/5095/

 

astro2.jpg

 

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From CultureMap

 

A new Astrodome idea: Strip the dome to its skeleton and put a park underneath the remains

In the wake of a recent recommendation to demolish the Astrodome and put up a 2,500-spot parking lot in its place, here's another suggestion for what to do with the aging icon: Strip it to its skeleton and make it a park.  

The idea comes from Ryan Slattery, a graduate student at the University of Houston, who tackled the troubled structure's future for his School of Architecture Master's Thesis. A friend posted the basics of his plan on Reddit last week:

Underneath the steel skeleton of the Astrodome, some grass and trees can be planted that can serve three purposes. 1) During Texans season, it can be a tailgate area much like the Grove at Ole Miss 2) During the Rodeo, it can be exhibition space, or outdoor grazing land for the Livestock show part of the HLSR. 3) During the year, it's just a ton of greenspace that can be chalked off for a sports complex (Imagine having your kickball beer league underneath the old Astrodome)."

 

http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/03-27-13-a-new-astrodome-idea-strip-the-dome-to-its-skeleton-and-put-a-park-underneath-the-remains/

 

 

 

 

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I love this idea because I think that it creates exactly the kind of symbol that we all would like to see this city have. Taking something that was futuristic and innovative at the time that it was built and repurposing it into something that is futuristic and innovative. If it could be developed in a way to utilize the sunken floor, that would mitigate a lot of the cost.

This could also be used as a great festival space which was one of Ed Emmett's earlier ideas.

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Guess I should have been an architecture student or something, I had this idea years ago.

 

Doesn't mean I don't like the idea any longer, it would be an awesome way to memorialize the stadium.

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Guess I should have been an architecture student or something, I had this idea years ago.

 

Doesn't mean I don't like the idea any longer, it would be an awesome way to memorialize the stadium.

 

Yeah, we discussed this idea on HAIF.  I like the idea too.  (Still prefer to keep the whole buiding and repurpose it, but if that is not possible, I love the idea of keeping the superstructure.)

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Last April 16th I wrote the following on this thread:

 

Here's my idea. To my mind it seems to be the least expensive (except for just letting the 'Dome crumble into the ground), practical, and mindful of the siginicance of the structure.

Demolish the structure and let the larger part of the ground be used for whatever the powers that be think best but . . .

1) Mark where home plate and the 50-yard-line were (sort of like the home plate of the old 'Buff's stadium in th basement of Finger's furniture store.
Oops! I wonder what the fate of that piece of history is now. (Specwriter 3/28/13)

2) Reserve the ground around those two landmarks for a monument to the memories (notice plural) of the dome. I would move the statue of R. E. "Bob" Smith into this area, add a statue of Judge Hofheinz and build a granite wall somewhat like the one at the Vietnam Memorial in D. C. but not as somber of course. The wall might define the location of the baseball diamond. On one side (probably the 'outside') could be images in relief of notable events held at the 'Dome and on the other side a list of names - a hall of fame, if you will, of notable people who played/performed there. This would include greats from the Astros and Oilers, and other athletes (think Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs) as well as other local entertainers for example, Kenny Rogers and Selena.

Well, it's just a thought. Perhaps I should go looking for my old sketch book and Prismacolors. There's just been too many wonderful things that happened in the 'Dome (even apart from great Astros and Oilers games) not to make some gesture acknowledging those events.

 

Saving the superstructure would be very cool also but might involve quite a bit of expense for restoration and making it more resistant to weathering, e.g. expensive "paint" to protect the steel. Remember, it was originally intended to be protected by the building's "skin." I do especially like Mr. Slattery's idea since it would allow the space to server a variety of functions.

 

What ever is done with the land the 'Dome sits on now I hope the new configuration makes some gesture to all the history that has taken place there. It was much more than baseball and football. For sure don't forget Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud. I heard a reference to that classic cult movie on a recent TV show.

 

BTW, I am also a former graduate student of the UofH College of Architecture (M. Arch 1991). That was before Gerald Hines bought the naming rights.

 

My graduate thesis involved turning the old rail platforms on the east side of Union Station into a multi-modal transportation terminal with the station lobby serving much as it did in the past with other services for commuters like a coffee kiosk, dry cleaners drop-off, pharmacy, etc. That was well before most of us had an idea that the land would become the new ball park and that Houston would have any other mode of public transportation besides busses. I see now, from another thread on HAIF, the idea of a multi-modal transportation center is gaining interest once more.

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Yeah, we discussed this idea on HAIF.  I like the idea too.  (Still prefer to keep the whole buiding and repurpose it, but if that is not possible, I love the idea of keeping the superstructure.)

 

Yeah, but after 15 years no one has been able to figure out a way to re-utilize it in any way that makes sense.  If they keep the superstructure maybe someone will have a better idea sometime in the future.

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I don't like the park idea. It seems that's what the city is doing all over. Let's just put a park here. Midtown Superblock idea is now just a park. It seems like a boring idea. Discovery Green was a great idea because it replaced the parking lots that were there before, but when they start talking about doing this in all places, it makes it seem quite drab.

 

Why not something a little more exciting? Like the intermodal station idea with an outdoor public gathering plaza, the largest hotel idea, the indoor ski resort, and what the hell ever happened to the movie studio idea of 2009/2010 timeframe? I guess a park is the next best thing from a parking lot though. I just don't want all of our landmark areas to be parks. Pretty soon, we're going to be know as graseland city. Parks can be overdone too!

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I don't like the park idea. It seems that's what the city is doing all over. Let's just put a park here. Midtown Superblock idea is now just a park. It seems like a boring idea. Discovery Green was a great idea because it replaced the parking lots that were there before, but when they start talking about doing this in all places, it makes it seem quite drab.

 

Why not something a little more exciting? Like the intermodal station idea with an outdoor public gathering plaza, the largest hotel idea, the indoor ski resort, and what the hell ever happened to the movie studio idea of 2009/2010 timeframe? I guess a park is the next best thing from a parking lot though. I just don't want all of our landmark areas to be parks. Pretty soon, we're going to be know as graseland city. Parks can be overdone too!

 

I don't know, when you just say park, it does sound really boring.

 

But, when you say vines and ivy, and lots of hanging plants from the superstructure (how awesome would it be to have trees floating in the air where the hanging speakers were, for example), you start getting into something that would be absolutely unique to Houston.

 

And with the right lighting on everything, this would be an amazing night time spot.

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I don't know, when you just say park, it does sound really boring.

But, when you say vines and ivy, and lots of hanging plants from the superstructure (how awesome would it be to have trees floating in the air where the hanging speakers were, for example), you start getting into something that would be absolutely unique to Houston.

And with the right lighting on everything, this would be an amazing night time spot.

I agree. Could be an amazing performance space also. You could rig a sound and lighting system unlike any other outdoor amphitheater.

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I agree. Could be an amazing performance space also. You could rig a sound and lighting system unlike any other outdoor amphitheater.

 

It could be all these things. A "park" doesn't have to be just grass and trees. Ryan Slatterly's proposal may be my favorite so far. Although, if you added one thing, it might actually work. Build parking under the park. \

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I was just looking at the street course layout for the Indycar race there this Oct. it got me thinking where all the course was going so I google mapped it. Now to my question in the google satelite view I see what looks like a round domed stadium right next to Reliant Stadium, is that the Astro Dome or have they tore down the Astro Dome?    

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Another radio talk show host, this time out of Beaumont 560 AM yesterday stated that he remembers as a child attending Colt 45 ball games in the old Buff stadium. Is it just that they were too young to really remember it right or are their brains fried from too many radio waves. No Colt 45 games was ever played at Buff stadium that I am aware of. I'm 58 years old and I remember the Colt 45 stadium. The stadium was just a metal bleacher type with wooden benches and was located on the north end of what is now Reliant Park. You could see the dome being erected from the seats in the out field.

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That slightly mischaracterizes it, I think. USC has apparently approached HCSCC with an "idea". They are gonna vote on whether to agree to a nondisclosure agreement in order to hear the idea(s) USC claims to have.

Ah ok. I wasn't quite understanding what they were trying to say

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  • The title was changed to Astrodome?
  • The title was changed to The Abandoned Astrodome And It’s Future

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