Comment of the Day: Downtown Orthodontia

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DOWNTOWN ORTHODONTIA “I think it looks like the goal is to create a cluster, rather than a monolith. That makes sense in that part of town. As is, to me Houston’s skyline seems to suffer from a ‘gap tooth’ effect created by all of the standalone buildings. I think more blocks with multiple height buildings on them would make our skyline look more interesting. If everything stands out, nothing stands out . . . they can’t all be masterpieces like Pennzoil or Transco (Williams).” [DBG, commenting on A First Look at Some of the 33-Story Apartment Tower Hines Wants To Build in Market Square] Illustration: Lulu

20 Comment

  • Considering the Houston skyline is rated year in and year out on of the best in the world, it seems other don’t seem to mind the “sawtooth” look–Dallas has the same look as well and it’s rated high as well– I guess what you want is the Hong Kong look–even New York and especially the best skyline in the world Chicago has a some what “sawtooth” look–personality I love the look of the Houston skyline-I like that the beautiful building can be seen from all angles and are not hemmed in by mediocre filler buildings –why complain about a great skyline –it’s perfect as it is –some super talls would be nice, but mediocre apt towers, I’ll pass

  • I didn’t know Houston’s skyline is widely considered one of the best in the world. I guess I’ve never heard anybody say that.

    If current trends continue, and some modification of our building/development codes are made, I could see a future Houston in which most of the Innerloop has the kind of density we tend to associate with the world’s urban centers. That great expanse between downtown and the Galleria could very well be one highrise after another one day. Though I suspect the wealthy enclaves of River Oaks and West U may remain stubbornly as is.

  • About time someone said it. Supertalls are so twentieth century.

  • Yes, what a shame River Oaks will “stubbornly” remain as it is–one of the prettiest wealthiest most saught out real estate in the county –I mean who wouldn’t want to change that, right????–

  • My favorite snaggletooth is the Wedge tower.

  • Don’t listen to anyone when they tell you that downtown’s ‘gap tooth’ problem isn’t directly related to River Oaks fabulousness rating in every way. Whenever anyone talks about how some of the vacant blocks downtown cause the Houston skyline to have gaps between some of the tall buildings, what they really mean is that River Oaks needs to be changed. Don’t let them change River Oaks by building another tower downtown. For all practical discussions downtown Houston and River Oaks are actually the same thing. Don’t let anyone ever try and tell you they are two separate regions of the city. That would be like trying to tell someone that Katy and Midtown are not in the same neighborhood. How absurd.

  • Our skyline is solid because it was mostly built in the 80s when trophy towers were in. However, the most important part of Hines’ new Market Square proposal is that it adds to the street scape. In 2013, that’s what matters.

  • Um…not sure I’m getting the drift of the discussion re River Oaks. Perhaps I gave the mistaken impression that I’d like to see the whole neighborhood razed and replaced with condos. That’s not really what I meant.

    It would be cool if some bold and enterprising developer decided to make a statement that reflects the strength and dynamism of the Houston economy. Why not build a giant that could go toe-to-toe with some of the world’s famous towers? I don’t think we need to go for the highest of all, but it would be nice if we had some people who aspire to a grandiosity as well as profit. This golden age is not likely to last forever, so a symbol for future generations would be pretty neat.

  • Unlikely Houston will ever have the density or transit similar to the world’s great urban centers. The inner loop would have to triple in density (current average 5-8k/sq.mi), just to start on that path. Houston is growing, but I don’t see the population tripling any time soon. Think about how many housing units would be required; where would they go? In the predominately single family neighborhoods? At best, the current trend will continue for a few more years until growth plateaus, and we’ll see Houston basically as it looks now; houses with occasional 4-8 story apt. blocks, maybe reaching ~10k density in some areas, but never the 20k+ necessary for real walkable neighborhoods.

    Also, the heat and humidity. That’s never going away.

  • You mean you don’t understand why we are talking about River Oaks since the topic is about the gaps between the towers in downtown Houston? If you need more evidence that there are gaps in the downtown Houston skyline, all I can say is that Montrose is a great neighborhood. I can’t wait for when they build an In N Out in Sugarland so that the citizens can taste a new kind of hamburger. Galveston had a lot of seaweed last year. The new video screen at Reliant Stadium is so big. What’s so difficult to understand?

  • Here’s one of my favorite maps.

    Montrose, on the whole, is about 8-10k/sq.mi., with some finer grain aggregates in 10-15k. Now, imagine doubling the number of people in Montrose, with double the housing units. Then Houston might have one inner-loop neighborhood with a density approaching the average density of NYC or SF.

  • Actually, Houston has a neighborhood with over 60,000 per sq mile density, and several over 30,000. Why did you ignore them? Is it because they are not the correct color?

  • The key thing that makes a skyline is the contrast between the buildings. This is different than most downtown and in that sense it will contribute perfectly. There is still plenty of room downtown…PLENTY….for more super talls so I don’t know why everyone is so worried. No one is going to build more super talls until more people are living downtown. Population growth spurs more population growth. Projects like these, skyhouse and I hope many others will create that environment.

  • Dave, I should have made it more clear that I was replying to Anse’s comment about inner loop neighborhoods achieving that level of density.

    And sure, I spend alot of time pondering the various developments and future of my own neighborhoods. However, I do get out on Bellaire and Westheimer frequently. Some of these areas have very high population density, but how that interacts with a primarily suburban development model (fast/wide streets placed a mile apart, large single use developments, strip malls, sidewalk issues and no shade, etc) is a very interesting conversation for another thread.

  • Building supertall skyscrapers has no correlation with the number of people living in the direct area–no one lived downtown in the 80’s when most of the skyscrapers were built in the first place -trying to develop a correlation is a real stretch

  • I love Houston’s skyline, but I think the most interesting view of it is from the east, looking west. It show the shorter, smaller foot print buildings in front. When viewed from Allen Parkway, the big ones hide the interesting smaller buildings. Hope all of the new planned construction helps. Really hope that new Hines bldg. on Main is very tall. Maybe 90 stores?

  • Well…I didn’t say it could happen tomorrow.

  • P.S. According to my expert Googling skills, Austin’s population density increased 70% in the ten year span between 2000 and 2010. That’s pretty fast. Houston will likely resist the kinds of policies that encourage this kind of increase in urban density, so I imagine it would require much more time. But it could happen. If a dozen other things happen, of course.

  • @outtahere, thanks for the awesome map link! I found a neighborhood (probably a single apartment complex) with over 120K density, on Fondren near Harwin.

  • They should start building in Midtwon to connect the skyline