HOUSTON – (By Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report) – Los Angeles architect James Richards is back, trying to promote his plan to strip the skin off the historic Astrodome.
Leave the steel supports of the Dome in place and put in a little park around it. It could be like the Eiffel Tower or something, he says. Surely, Houstonians would love climbing up the Dome skeleton on a balmy August afternoon. No, they wouldn’t. For one thing, the Dome is no Eiffel Tower. Secondly, the raison d’etre for having an air-conditioned domed stadium is that Houston’s summers are hot – too hellish to sit in the bleachers and watch a baseball game.
Skeletal relics are meaningless. Would people want to climb to the top of the Empire State Building, if all that was standing were its steel girders?
I would have been thrilled to meet one of my favorite authors, the late Pat Conroy. But as much as I admire his work, his remains have no value. His bones are empty.
Skeletons have no life, no heart and no soul.
We do not need the skeleton of the Astrodome. We need no replica, no relic.
The Astrodome is the Eighth Wonder of the World – the most recognized building in Houston for many Americans.
The historic Dome, a symbol of Houston’s can-do spirit, is the sacred place where the Soul of Houston dwells. It can’t be torn down. It can’t be reduced to a skeleton.
The Astrodome needs to be restored to its proper place as the Eighth Wonder of the World again. A new visionary must arise to articulate a plan that will once again make the Astrodome the most talked-about place on the planet.
The people of Houston own 300 acres there. It should be more than acres of parking lot pavement around hulking buildings where the lights are turned off most of the time.
Let’s quit wringing our hands about how much it will cost to put in a new air conditioning system in the Dome. If Judge Roy Hofheinz would have stumbled over little things like air conditioning, the Dome would have never been built.
We need a new vision for the Astrodome. It needs to be so ambitious and so audacious that it honors the man who made the Astrodome happen in the first place – Roy Hofheinz.
Hofheinz overcame hordes of naysayers and on the day the Dome opened – April 9, 1965 – President Lyndon Baines Johnson was in attendance and Mickey Mantle hit the first home run.
Dec. 16, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019
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