Design Studio at UofH
Adjunct Prof. Paul Kweton
Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox
modern architecture. I like elements which are hybrid rather than pure, compromising rather than
clean, distorted rather than straightforward, ambiguous rather than articulated, perverse as well
as impersonal, boring as well as interesting, conventional rather then designed, accommodating
rather than excluding, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent
and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. I include the
non sequitur and proclaim the duality.
Rovert Venturi, Nonstraightforward Architecture: A Gentle Manifesto, 1966
The studio will zoom in to an area located in Houstons Market Square Historic District, the site at 901 Commerce St. that currently houses the (post-Harvey) abandoned Spaghetti Warehouse built in the early 1900s as the Desel- Boettcher Warehouse. The objective is to design a new hybrid (mixed-use) development embedded into and on top of the existing building structure as partial historic renovation. The building will be comprised of a maker space, coworking, and retail program with public access to a panorama terrace as flexible space that can host cultural events. Spaces for workshops, lectures, training, and educational classes are to be woven into the given program This hybrid development aims to strengthen the past and current spirit of the Market Square Historic District with programs that balance the elements of preservation, intervention, and innovation to create various activities geared toward a vibrant (post-oil) future.
The students will investigate Houstons Market Square Historic Districts past and present from various viewpoints and are challenged to generate a project that offers a monumental, functional, aesthetic, and unique design solution which operates as a focal point, landmark and attractor for activities of innovative and cultural character. Also, the students are asked to scrutinize the relationship of the public, the semi-public and private programs and present a building structure that celebrates the meeting and merging points of those spaces. The success of the design is based on the execution of a hybrid building typology that goes beyond utilitarian function and whose form and spatial qualities are derived from the merging process of the building functions and spaces as response to this unique site, historical character, attached natural, programmatic and infrastructural challenges.
University of Houston
College of Architecture and Design