Save the Prudential Building!
April 23, 2004 3:11 PM   Subscribe

After 25 years away, I've recently moved back to the metropolis of my birth, Houston, Texas, and have been reminded that a lot of my favorite buildings here are from the Modern Movement in architecture. However, many of these buildings--much less than a century old!--are now giving way to newer ones, and many unique residences fast being replaced with McMansions. Even the Astrodome's fate is in the air. HoustonMod is trying to preserve these buildings and their place in history. More power to 'em.
posted by WolfDaddy (21 comments total)
Welcome back. Beware of the light rail.

I was driving around the Rice Village area yesterday and was struck by how different all of the houses looked and how much character more character they all had, as opposed to the cookie cutter look so common in the newer suburban areas. Too bad it cost half-a-mil for a shack 'round those parts.
posted by Cyrano at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2004

An intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief.
posted by the fire you left me at 3:35 PM on April 23, 2004

I've always wanted to go to the Rothko Chapel... A redeeming quality of Houston.
posted by Eekacat at 3:48 PM on April 23, 2004

Houston actually has a good rep for art and architecture--for Texas, of course. ; >

List here of some great buildings there.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on April 23, 2004

I do love an architecture thread. 60's architecture has gotten such a bad rap over the years, perhaps because it doesn't age well, perhaps because the lines are simple and no gaudy. And lord knows were a gaudy people.
posted by pejamo at 3:59 PM on April 23, 2004

posted by taz at 4:08 PM on April 23, 2004

tfylm, when my parents got divorced, I was sent to a therapist. When he realized that it wasn't me he needed to be talking to, we spent each hour sitting in the Rothko Chapel talking about anything. It was so peaceful, and actually ended up being, well, theraputic for me. Six weeks later, my mom found out and stopped paying. Ah, the Me Generation.

Also, how stunned was I when I discovered the Compaq Center, nee the Houston Summit, will soon be a not-so-intimate sanctuary for the Lakewood Church? I saw Asia there in the 80s! It's just not right.

The Highland Village renovation is equally amazing to me.

posted by WolfDaddy at 4:22 PM on April 23, 2004

Even the Astrodome's fate is in the air

The Astrodome gave the world Astroturf. For that alone it needs to be destroyed.
posted by jonmc at 4:25 PM on April 23, 2004

The Asstrodome can suck it. But I agree with you on the rest.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 PM on April 23, 2004

Isn't it funny how the word "modern" can come to describe a movement that's now in the past? I would have thought that the word would always mean "what's happening now" but it doesn't. Think of the literary Modernists. They're practically a century behind us now.

Don't even ask me what we're supposed to say now that even "post-modernist" is completely rooted in the past and used up. We'll have to start coming up with real names again, I guess.
posted by scarabic at 5:54 PM on April 23, 2004

Hey welcome back Fuzzy Dad! It hasn't been the same without ya. ;)

As to the topic at hand, Dallas is seeing the same sort of destruction. Fabulous old houses are being torn down and zero lot McMansions put in their place. It's so sad. Just a couple of weeks ago, someone bulldozed one of the last FL Wright houses...Good for HoustonMod that they're trying to preserve some of the cool architecture.
posted by dejah420 at 7:56 PM on April 23, 2004

wolfdaddy...! finally, balance has been restored to the metaforce. welcome back :-)

someone bulldozed one of the last FL Wright houses

*gasp* i thought those houses were sought after and or protected...

toronto and montreal both have a shameful history of destroying their beautiful and historic architecture. montreal especially. my mom has this huge picture book featuring most of the stuff that was foolishly torn down; and when you see what it was all replaced with, it's both heartbreaking and infuriating.
posted by t r a c y at 8:44 PM on April 23, 2004

Significant modern buildings are be demolished all the time. There was a Neutra house that didn't even have a demo permit that was flattened. Being an architect I am more sensitive to this, especially given that my beliefs are towards the aspirations and goals of most of the architects that have been brought up. There is an organization that deals with attempts to preserve significant modern buildings. They are known as DoCoMoMo. (Link is to the US chapter)
posted by grimley at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2004

I have both strong like and strong dislike for texas culture.

When I was scanning this post, somehow, "Metropolis" became.....


That said, I've gotta love a State in which a riot broke out on the State Legislature floor and the midst of the full out brawl - four Senators climbed up on a table and sang together as a barbershop quartet.

Texas - the very best, and very worst of the human spirit.
posted by troutfishing at 11:19 AM on April 25, 2004

In Massachusetts, folks are just coy about their prejudices, drunk, mean, and repressed. And politically correct, at least in public.
posted by troutfishing at 11:21 AM on April 25, 2004

Did I really just say that?
posted by troutfishing at 11:21 AM on April 25, 2004

Oh - and that was "Necropolis"
posted by troutfishing at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2004

"Yes, and I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from. Oh, yeah. You tear your history down, man! '30 years old, let's smash it to the floor and put a car park here!' I have seen it in stories. I saw something in a program on something in Miami, and they were saying, 'We've redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!' And people were going, 'No, surely not, no. No one was alive then!'" --Eddit Izzard
posted by kevspace at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2004

Eddit Izzard? Damn, that's a joke that makes itself.
posted by kevspace at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2004

posted by kevspace at 12:23 PM on April 25, 2004

NY Mag weighs in, from the currrent issue.
posted by amberglow at 12:59 PM on April 25, 2004

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