Projected 22.4 foot surge [Courtesy Gordon Wells, University of Texas]
The Rice Design Alliance, the organization behind this blog, held the first of a two-part forum on Post-Hurricane Ike Planning. Eric Berger, the SciGuy of the Houston Chronicle, moderated the July 15 event, which featured some big-time scientists and engineers, the kind of people mayors and governors call when a hurricane is heading for their town. I left shaken. Their message was clear. We dodged the bullet with Ike. The period after the hurricane, as bad as it was, could have been far, far worse.
Cite 71 was sandwiched in-between several hurricanes. Published in the summer of 2007 — after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and before Hurricane Ike — the issue managed to digest the still-raw lessons learned from the devastation in New Orleans and offered a prescient analysis before the arrival of Ike.
The issue asked experts what the worst-case scenario would be for Houston and what would happen if the region’s petro-chemical infrastructure flooded. Cite 71 explored designing buildings that would better withstand storm surges and winds. The issue also looked into the economic damage of hurricanes.Two years later, the issue continues to resonate as Houston and the Gulf Coast braves the latest hurricane season. So, here’s a look back at the Hurricane Issue. Click on the links below for downloadable PDFs of articles.
Bill Arning, Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) addresses the NoZoning Forum [Photo from CAMH Facebook page]
Metropolitan Theater [Photos courtesy Houston Metropolitan Research Center, via cinemahouston.info]
The cover of David Welling’s book Cinema Houston is a stunning sepia photograph of the interior of the downtown’s lost Metropolitan Theater, known in its time for a booming Wurlitzer, disappearing orchestra pit, and opulent faux-gold Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Its extravagance bears little resemblance to the Houston theaters of the 90s and 00s I grew up in, where the investment was not in decoration but in the number of screens and parking spots. This very American transition from the movie palace to the multiplex, amplified in our city, is given a definitive treatment in Cinema Houston.
Sketch of Lars Lerup [From a celebration announcement, unknown artist]
Stephen Fox delivered the following valedictory on Tuesday May 19, 2009, at a reception in celebration of Lars Lerup’s 16 years of leadership and service as dean of the Rice School of Architecture (RSA). For background, you can read this previous OffCite post, this profile of Lerup in Rice News, and the announcement of John Casbarian as the new RSA dean through the end of the calendar year.
It is with profound gratitude that we gather to pay tribute to Lars Lerup and acknowledge his leadership as dean of the school of architecture since 1993.
Rubix House [Jones, Partners]
Some great events today and tomorrow. This evening, Wednesday, 7:00 pm at the MFAH, is the first of the Rice Design Alliance’s “Post Hurricane Ike Planning” civic forums. Click here for more information.
If you attended the Rice Design Alliance Small House tour in March, or if you generally drool over small modern homes, this event might interest you. Hometta is a collective that includes several Houston-based designers including Interloop—Architecture, Collaborative Designworks, HouMinn Practice, and Brett Zamore Design. The group offers home plans and an array of educational resources meant to make high-quality, modern design accessible and affordable to prospective homeowners. Their opening reception is tomorrow, Thursday, July 16, 2009, at The New World Museum (5230 Center Street) at 8 p.m. Catering by Armandos. Admission is free.
Townhouse being clad with Tyvek and EIFS [Houston Independent Media Center]
The Houston Chronicle published an editorial warning readers of the consequences of a possible Chapter 42 expansion to Beltway 8—namely the construction of townhouses. Meanwhile, a writer for the Houston Independent Media Center posted a satirical take on the relentless tearing down and building within the Loop, and the dramatic variability in quality.
Friday July 10
Click to Build [Architect's Newspaper] “The McMansion has worn out its welcome, hope for prefab is fading, and anyone with a sense of contemporary design taste shudders at what homebuilders are producing these days. But for most people who want to build a modern, “architectural” house, the price is out of their reach. That’s where Hometta, a new Houston-based company, comes in.
International Coffee Building design by Lake/Flato Architects and BNIM [Renderings and historic photos courtesy Buffalo Bayou Partnership, current photos by Jesse Hager]
At the time of the completion of the International Coffee Building in 1910, Commerce and Main Street were bustling with the activities that the street names imply. The International Coffee Building served as a roasting and distribution point for one of the key industries of the era. Since then, rail supplanted shipping and Houston, with the aid of the automobile, moved rapidly out from its historic center at Allen’s Landing. The downtown has shifted its energies away from the water. Buildings now are designed for firms that track materials digitally or sell digital commodities. What was once a vibrant center of city life has been literally overshadowed and left for appropriation by vagrants or artists.
Sims Bayou, Design by Kevin Shanley, SWA Group [Image from ASLA website]