Dance, Building, Dance: Houston Ballet Makes a Downtown Debut

What’s the Houston Ballet’s new $53 million, 120,000-sq.-ft. Downtown headquarters building going to look like? Two renderings of the 6-story building planned for the block between Smith, Louisiana, Congress, and Preston Sts. have appeared on an architecture website based in the U.K.

A connecting skybridge would prevent tutus from wilting on the long journey between the new ballet practice facilities and the Wortham Center, which is catty-corner to the site. The new building will also house the ballet’s offices and wardrobe shop, as well as the the Ben Stevenson Academy.

The two views of the building don’t exactly gibe — a likely sign that the design is not final:


Gensler design director Marshall Strabala, the building’s architect, said in an interview appearing on the e-Architect website that the Houston ballet building was his second-favorite design project he’s worked on.

If fundraising goes well, the building will be complete by 2011, according to the British website. Under current economic conditions, that’s got to be a big “if.” Jennifer Dawson reports in the Houston Business Journal that the Houston Ballet sold its current main building at 1912 W. Gray — together with half of the downtown block it had purchased — to a joint venture between Dienna Nelson Augustine and Atlanta-based Novare Group last year, but is leasing the facility back only until the end of May 2010. The new owners have put the West Gray building and the Downtown half-block back on the market.

5 Comment

  • I am so sick and tired of Houston spending money to build BORING architecture. The only building downtown with some resemblance of creativity is the Hobby Center. I drove by the Houston Pavillions last weekend and was VERY dissapointed b/c it’s so unnatractive and it blends in with the office buildings. What is the point of building a shopping complex if it’s going to look similar to the office buildings. It even took me two circles around the block to find the House of Blues. Houston we have a problem…outdated and uncreative architecture!!!

  • I actually like the new ballet building. I do not care for the Hobby Center, though.

  • I HATE the Hobby Center. It’s Houston’s civic version of a Pulte Home.

  • If you consider the Hobby Center attractive… Wow.

    I think some of the weathered columns of the expressway have more character and value than that monstrosity.

  • Houston has allowed famous architects to do some of their “worst work” in Houston.
    Finally, the award-winner Strabala has designed something worth while for Houston performing arts.
    I love the stone facade and all that glass.