Comment of the Day: Importing the Right Look for Houston

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IMPORTING THE RIGHT LOOK FOR HOUSTON “Let me get this straight: we’re upset that an Austin-based store looks like it’s from Austin? Has anyone explained to Houstonians that a city 2.5 hours away is a helluva a lot closer to “regionally appropriate” than Tuscany or Greece will ever be?” [cooperella, commenting on Austin Powers the New North Montrose Whole Foods]

29 Comment

  • well, it’s not regionally appropriate when a building relies on stone for its ‘style.’ There IS no stone in our region, just clay.

  • Whatever. If the new Whole Foods facade comprised oil sludge, pine cones and gumbo, people would cry that the pollution, D-bags and mosquitos were overlooked.

  • Mel: love it!!!!!!!!! Too funny.

  • So dumb, people put granite and marble stone in their houses for countertops and flooring. None of those materials are from the Houston region either! So what’s the big deal? Who cares what the style is mimicking…It’s about aesthetics!

  • On the basis of that limestone is a critical ingredient in concrete and that concrete is a component of pretty much every structure in our region, I have to concur that disagreement is absurd.

    But I do have to say, Houston not only imports its building materials; it imports its architecture. And if we’re importing from only 165 miles away, well that’s just lazy! We can do better.

  • Using local materials went out with the invention of cheap mass transportation. Good riddance. Why would we want to go back to the middle ages?

  • Just what the heck is regionally appropriate in style for Houston? That is the most idiotic comment that I have heard. Everything about Houston is imported from someplace else in order replace or augment what is natural to Houston. This include the folks who have moved here over that last 150 years. Going back to the Allen brothers, the whole idea has been to cover up what Houston “Is” and make it into what is is not.

  • They should have made it look “Space Age” like the Chevron Building downtown instead of some homespun hardware store in Wimberly.

    Either way I thik WF is a joke and don’t see my self shopping there anyway.

  • Insert harsh, overly critical comment about _____ building here ____. Insert snide remark about _____ company here ____. Try to look relevant to the “architectural” community on swamplot by adding some well known “fact” about materials/technology/styles/construction here _____.

    Now bash Houston because of ______, and ______. There don’t you feel better?

    Come on people – its a grocery store!

  • Bravo, Eric! Bravo! You just nailed 99% of the most prolific posters on this site.
    Have a nice day, boys and girls!

  • Technically, Houston has a robust Italian and Greek community, so it is only logical that we would have hints of these cultures in our architecture. Look at the old (pre-fire) pics of downtown. -Stirring the pot :)

  • I took the comment as being aimed more at those who had decried the architecture of the proposed new West End Walmart and then praised this new Whole Foods despite the fact that it’s architecture is arguably just as generic. Badge engineering at its finest.

  • Jimbo: If you think the people who are concerned about the West End Walmart are only concerned about architecture, then you have been living under a rock for the past seven months. While not a model of new urbanism, this Whole Foods is 40k sq ft, open 7-10, on the corner of six lane and four lane roads and on the campus of a office complex. Walmart is three times the sq footage, open 24-7, has only a four lane road for access, is surroundend by residential housing on three sides, and is admidst a suburban strip mall. Only you and Ainbinder think the community is against Walmart because of the architecture.

  • I don’t mind either Wal Mart nor the Whole foods basically going up in my backyard. You’re right I probably won’t shop there much, same is true for Wally World. But it’s funny the level of hypocrisy present, Whole food oh please please please come here? Versus Walmart and the incessant b*tching and moaning from some real elitist snobs. Face the facts they’re both being built, so learn to live with it. Also agreed dwelling on building material and architecture/design of a freaking grocery store is not an appealing topic for me, as exciting as trainspotting. Get out of the house people, it’s a sunny day.

  • Walmart=152,000 sq ft, part of a giant strip mall development
    Whole Foods=40,000 sq ft, part of an office plaza with potentially a mid-rise apartment complex being added
    If you can’t see a difference in the two developments, it is clear that your agenda is simply to bash people who have a few more bucks than you do an can afford to shop at Whole Foods. There is no hypocrisy in opposing a massive Walmart being placed on streets that have less capacity that the streets a Whole Foods that is one quarter the size, with no additional strip mall retail.
    And only one has broken ground. The other has a long way to go before it can be built.

  • @12 and 14,
    WF and Walmart are the same to you? Fascinating.

  • Surrounded on 3 sides by residential housing on three sides? Thats a doozy. I assume you are counting the railroad, SJS, Berger Iron Works etc etc as residential housing? By that same metric the Whole Foods site is surrounded on two sides by residential housing. I am not saying both developments are identical. I am saying there are plenty of commonalities that seem to get conceniently overlooked by some.

    Oh and please can you stop referring to yourself as the community. I and many others are also part of that community and have no problem with Walmart.

  • the only thing a Houstonian/Texan should care about would be how much tax revenue the stores will bring to the area. once you start talking about aesthetics, traffic studies, quality of living, etc. then you’re definitely in the wrong neck of the woods.

  • Jimbo: What is on the other side of the railroad tracks? A large group of townhomes. What is to the west of the Walmart tract? Residential streets. What is to the north, on the East side of Bass Street? A large cluster of low income rental homes who will all have to breath in diesel fumes from Walmart’s 8-10 semis coming through every day. Just because there are also railroad tracks and a small iron works doesn’t mean that the majority of the rest of the land isn’t being used for residential housing.

    And yes, you are saying there are commonalities, but the only one you mention is a straw man argument about architecture. The fact of the matter is that the only thing the two have in common is that they are single story retail.

    I will talk all I want about the community because I see the signs in everyone’s yards, and I went to the public meeting with hundreds dressed in red to show their opposition. Just because you are ok with bringing FM 1960 to the West End doesn’t mean the community is too.

  • just to note, only one of these stores is within throwing distance of a major interstate with a brand new feeder going in. traffic/trucks heading to whole foods will probably have to drive through about 5 times as much residential area as going to wal-mart would unless they take memorial/allen pwy and i don’t think they have the clearance to go that route.

    oh well, traffic doesn’t kill people (except the folks heading to uptown in the morning)and this is why residential areas located near major roads/intersections are usually low-income as stated. now if we’re concerned about the living standards of low-income folks then i’m sure they’ll be glad to know that the revenue from a wal-mart would be more than enough to afford them access to chips/medicaid and food stamps…not that they’d ever have a chance of getting it though.

  • Thank you Joel, agreed. And something tells me old school you really couldn’t care less about those rental properties, just more cannon fodder so you can make your point. I lived in Rice Military for over 5 years, and now a happy resident of Alden Place (yup right on West Dallas). And I personally would NEVER have the gaul to say I am the community. Please…

  • I think we should institute a Walmart chip program. You are only alloted x number of times to talk about Walmart per month… when they are gone, they are gone. Choose wisely and be succinct. This would cut down on the constant brow-beating, crucifictions, and smug-fests that spew whenever any type of retail development is mentioned. It’s called living in a city. Sometime you like your neighbors sometime you don’t. There is no reason to go all verbally-Unabomber on anyone whoe doesn’t share your opinion. In a perfect world, you feel you would have the ability to control everything around you and be the final word of approval, but that would suck – not just for everyone else, but for you too.

  • eh, that sounds awfully dull though and probably wouldn’t be good for this blog’s traffic counter.

    what’s the point of having an internet if we can’t get in random arguments, often times about completely disparate topics as the need arises, and make wild accusations against online monikers. don’t tread on me and my freedoms Pax.

  • I’ve agreed with old school before, not likely about _____ world. But to each their own, I like the notion of community, but not deluded enough to believe everyone will always be of the same opinion(s). Trying to avoid my personal ____ ____ quota for the month.

  • “the only thing a Houstonian/Texan should care about would be how much tax revenue the stores will bring to the area. once you start talking about aesthetics, traffic studies, quality of living, etc. then you’re definitely in the wrong neck of the woods.”

    hate to break it to you, but you’re definitely not one who gets to decide who’s in the “wrong neck of the woods.” i can only hope you’re just as understanding if/when people in other places say the same thing about you.

  • sorry, my idealism just gets a little bruised when people place trivial inconveniences over economic growth while living in a city/state with some of the worst rates of poverty, high school graduation, insured, etc. in the greater US.

  • 1) Nearly all of us Houstonians are from somewhere else and are staking claim here.
    2) The topic of “Our” regional architectural style has been raised on Swamplot before: houses on piers / cedar or cypress beams / pine framing and siding, you know, termite food…
    3) Today! let’s establish our style. I put forth: concrete tilt-wall on slab / steel framing / plastic roof panels, you know, recyclable.

  • The video is still live on the Guardian website. Palin’s goons maybe don’t have transatlantic reach.

  • Sorry, wrong blog. Time for another cup of coffee maybe …