Downtown Waiting Room

DOWNTOWN WAITING ROOM Architect Lawrence Speck of Page Southerland Page, architect of the Christ Church Cathedral’s John S. Dunn Outreach Center at Prairie and San Jacinto: “We went to other places that were serving the homeless in Houston and spoke with people. Gosh, they have all the time in the world. They’re very happy to talk to you. One thing that we learned that had not been handled well in Austin was that a whole lot of their lives are about waiting. They’re waiting for the meal; they’re waiting for an appointment; they’re waiting for friends to show up; and there’s no place to hang out. They are constantly being moved or jostled. So on the north side of Dunn center, we built a lot of space for just hanging out. There’s a very deep arcade—about 12 feet deep. It’s got ceiling fans. It’s shady. It’s cool. Then there’s a little buffer of green space, which is very, very important because that makes them not feel like they’re on the sidewalk. . . . Another thing that’s good about the arcade is that it’s on the church’s turf, and so the hotels and the condos and the other office buildings down there feel much more comfortable with the homeless people being in their neighborhood than they did before.” [Architectural Record]

3 Comment

  • Sounds like the architect was commissioned by PETA to design a kinder, gentler stockyard for cattle.

  • As a therapist who has worked with patients and/or co-workers with mental illnes; with limbs missing; with paralysis; quadriplegics in wheelchairs propelled by puff switches, all of whom held down full-time jobs, I have a different perspective on “the homeless.”

  • Larry Speck is a brilliant architect. Take a look at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport or the The Grove restaurant complex at Discovery Green (amongst many others) sometime to see some of his other exceedingly thoughtful creations.