Art / Architecture / Beauty, Houston
This small district of Houston is one of the best preserved residencial neighborhood of Houston with many houses dating back from the end of the XIXth century. Houston has a sad history of tearing down historic buildings and old neighborhoods. This is still happening, to make room for new real estate projects with only immediate profit in mind. So, the fact that this one is preserved (it is a City of Houston Designated Historic District) is to be cherished! It is very pleasant to stroll in these streets ligned with small wooden houses, some lovingly renovated, and some still falling appart from years of neglect. Needless to say, this neighborhood is "gentryfying" rapidly. Plus the view of downtown skyline from there is really nice.
Soon, I'll add specific details on the houses most worth seeing... patience...
In Houston, just North of Memorial Drive and West of Downtown.
District bounded by Memorial Drive, Glenwood Cemetery, Washington Avenue and Houston Avenue. In the center of the neighborhood is the Justin Dow School Park.
This modern fountain, located in the heart of downtown Houston, is beautiful! The spot is also ideal to survey the Houston skyline. This park was built in 1979 by C. Tapley and J. Lunow. Its name derives from the lunar Sea of Tranquility where the first men landed on the Moon with the words "Houston, the Eagle has landed" (Houston is where NASA mission control was and is still located).
Downtown Houston, near Sam Houston Park.
I45 N: exit McKinney
I45 S: take I45 N to Allen Parkway
59 N: exit Capitol
59 S: take I45 N
Parking info at http://www.houstondowntown.com
The Heights is a planned neighborhood built between the 1890' and 1930' along, at the time, a tramway line (Yes, Houston had a tramway then...). At the time, it was the suburbs. Now it is inside the I-610 loop, in Houston itself, kind of North-Northwest part of it.
It is an extremely pleasant neighbourhood to stroll through as most of the old houses were preserved and are now restaured with love.
I particularly suggest you look at the following houses:
1802 Harvard Street (1896, picture)
1525 Cortland Street (1911, intact original bungalow)
347 West 20th Avenue (1907)
1102 Heights Boulevard (1896)
1302 Heights Boulevard (1925, library)
This neighborhood has also a opera/concert hall (Lambert Hall Performing Arts Center, 1703 Heights Blv) and a Farmers Market (every Saturday morning, see my Local Customs tips).
Location: 4 to 6 blocks along the North-South oriented Heights Blvd, between I610 and I-10. Houston.
The Transco Fountain is a huge horseshoe-shaped water wall located near the Galleria shopping mall. It is well worth seing, to admire the hydraulic engineering it requires, to feel the rush of water and its spray and listening to the roaring noise!! You can also spy on the people having their wedding pictures taken by its side! It is a resfreshing sight and feel during the hot and humid days of summer.
The fountain was built in 1983-85, together with the Williams Tower, the tall single sky-scraper that characterizes the Galleria area.
The address is 2800 PostOak Boulevard (South of Westheimer Blvd). The fountain is located just South of the Galleria, in the Post Oak area, the Western side of Houston.
FRANK ZENIS HOUSE ON FLOYD ST IN THE WEST END IS A TREAT FOR THE EYES AND THE IMAGINATION.....WHERE THE TIN HOUSE MOVEMENT BEGAN. DONT MISS IT. THIS HOUSE HAS BEEN FEATURED IN THE _HOUSTON ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE_ PG 200-202, AND IN THE BOOK
_HOUSTON SIMPLY SPECTACULAR_ AND _TEXAS HIGHWAYS_. ALSO CITED BY THE HOUSTON CHAPTER OF THE AIA AND EVEN ARTICLES IN THE _NEW YORK TIMES_ AND THE WALL ST JOURNAL_. GOOGLE FRANK ZENI TO LEARN MORE.....ZENI IS ALSO AN ARTIST KNOWN FOR HIS COLORFUL VISION OF THE CITY PAINTED IN MOSTLY PRIMARY COLORS ON THE CANVAS OF CAR HOODS AND IMMENSE MURALS. HIS PHILOSOPHY INCLUDES THE NOTION THAT THE CITY NEEDS SPACES WHERE PEOPLE CAN MEET PIAZZA STYLE AMONG TOWERING BUILDINGS THAT LOOK LIKE HEAVEN. ZENI ALSO DESIGNED A WONDERFUL ENTRY TO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER MEMORIAL COMPETITION. HIS IMAGINATION MAY JUST INSPIRE YOURS.
Phone: 713 869 0799
Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross St, (713) 525-9400.
One of the finest collections of contemporary art in the US, this small museum is FREE to the public, as the is nearby Rothko Chapel, one of the most fascinating buildings I've ever been in.
This is one of the cars at the ArtCar Museum.
The ArtCar Museum: Museum highlighting art cars of Houston, custom-decorated cars with zany themes prominently displayed in the annual Art Car Parade. Free admission. Open Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 140 Heights Blvd., (713) 861-5526
Americans like architecture and arts. But any community is the place when you can see a lot of identical houses, and maybe start thinking about the monotonous appearance of the city. But this a wrong way - you can notice a lot of details that make the picture variegated. For examples, nice sculptures like that remind you about the thirst of Americans to arts...
As I remember, this sculpture was named 'Back to Youth'. Of course, copyright of its proud creator ;)
This beautiful Hindu temple was completed in 2004 and is the first traditional Hindu Mandir of its kind in North America. The construction material is a combination of Italian marble and Turkish limestone sent to India where it was hand carved by Indian craftsmen and exported to Houston where it was constructed into this magnificent building. Location: 1150 Brand Lane, Stafford, TX 77477
Phone: 281 765 2277
"Life is suffering" is one of the premises of Buddhism, but escape the hustle and bustle of Houston by visiting the Jade Buddha Temple. Built in 1989 and situated in SW Houston, this Temple serves the spiritual needs of its members and also functions as a Buddhist study and research center for many educational institutions, including Rice University, U of H, and the University of Texas. The two-and-a-half acres compound is tucked away behind an apartment complex and offers amazing opportunities for reflection and tranquility. We spend time in quiet reflection in the silence of the meditation room; this is a place I will return to often. Location: Westbranch Drive., Houston, TX 77072.
Phone: (281) 498-1616
IN THE WEST END AMID THE BURGEONING BUILDING BOOM OF TOWN HOMES, YOU WILL FIND AN ARCHITECT'S HOME THAT DEFIES DESCRIPTION. IT IS A HOUSE BUILT OF CORRUGATED ALUMINUM, WITH GIANT POST MODERN COLUMNS.....FROGS STAND GUARD....THE TEMPIETTO (or "small temple") HAS BEEN CITED BY THE AIA, AND BEEN A STOP ON SEVERAL ARCHITECTURAL TOURS.
DONT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY CHANCE TO SEE THIS VISION OF WHAT A HOUSE CAN BE.
AS FRANK ZENI HIMSELF ONCE EXUBERANTLY ASSERTED, _IVE REINVENTED THE HOUSE!_
ONE CAVEAT PLEASE DONT DISTURB THE ARCHITECT'S PRIVACY...IT IS AFTER ALL, A PRIVATE HOME.
ADDRESS IS 5420 FLOYD ST, HOUSTON, TEXAS 77007
Phone: BOOK--HOUSTON ARCH GUIDE PG 200