Memorial City Parking Garage Tree Multiplier

Robert Boyd snaps this photo of the new mural on the side of the parking garage for the Fountains at Memorial City condos. The 13-story building is under construction at Gaylord and Bunker Hill, next to the new Cemex headquarters building just east of Memorial City Mall. Writes Boyd:

The mural . . . is nothing especially clever or innovative, but it looks nice and it’s a lot more than most builders do for their parking garages. And it works well with the real trees in front of it.

Photo: Robert Boyd

28 Comment

  • I like it.

    I bet that, on a hot day, people feel cooler looking at it than they would if they were just looking at gray concrete.

    Too bad it doesn’t change colors with the seasons, though.

  • If the open space used a screens like many downtown garages, the screen could complete the image. This is still better than nothing and a nice thought by the developer.

  • I’ve walked by this building many times during construction and really hoped that this was not the final color scheme. I guess it is. Also, why the tiny windows on a high rise? Isn’t one of the benefits of living in a high rise the views from walls of floor to ceiling windows? This looks like a bunker.

  • I think it will look even better as the trees in front of it mature. The image uses a common perspective trick of having more distant object become hazier, lighter and bluer than closer objects. But even the trees closest to the viewer in the image have some “haze”. Consequently, when the real trees are large enough to visually compete with the painted trees, there will be a kind of trompe l’oeil effect.

  • jgriff,

    If I’m not mistaken, that is the back of the building. Larger windows are on the sides and front.

  • Those small windows are for the servant quarters.

    Do pictures of trees fulfill the city requirement of X amount of trees per X amount of parking spaces?

  • Come on. When I first saw this, my friend said “Nice, but what will it look like in 10 years?” The question should be “What will it like like in 3 years?” This is going to fade, mold, and chip. I will be surprised if they maintain it.

    I prefer a brick facade over a faux forest or better yet, a real forest would be nice. We can probably all agree that any option beats faux marble.

  • kjb is correct, and more to the point, that side of the building faces Katy Freeway. So maybe smaller windows on that side also reduces freeway noises (just a guess).

  • Chris: yeah, I wondered how long this would last when I saw it. We’ll see, I guess. But for now, I’m glad they did something instead of nothing, which is the default approach.

  • Unless noise is a factor it should have large windows all around. I’ve got them in my house and the only place I wouldn’t want them is the bathroom. This reminds me of the Urinal Tower on Sage in the Galleria. Why would someone want to live in a high rise without big windows? You get all the downside of a high rise and lose one of the biggest benefits.

  • If noise is a factor on the small windows then they just shouldn’t have built a mid/high rise here. Unless these are really cheap I just don’t see them selling. The location is really not that good, the building is ugly and you probably have a huge maintenance fee. The Fleetwood on Gessner is a much better location. It was finished around the time of the last big downturn in the 80s and if I recall correctly just finally sold the last unit a couple years ago.

  • I don’t know how much the units are selling for or whether any have been sold yet. I have no idea whether or not this building is commercially viable. There’s nothing else like it nearby! On one hand, you are right next door to Hedwig Village and your kids, if you have any, will be going to top-notch schools. On the other hand, you are right next to the freeway, and surrounded by apartments, an office building, and a mall. (I guess it would be handy if you worked for Cemex!)

    The developer, MetroNational, owns pretty much everything from Bunker Hill to the Memorial Hermann hospital and office buildings. The mall, the Cemex building, those three offices at Gessner and Barryknoll, and many other retail buildings. It’s weird that they built this thing when they haven’t finished the mall (the west side still has a gaping gash in it) which was supposed to connect with the pedestrian bridge.

    But they seem to have big plans–they very recently tore down some old retail space (including a pretty good Mexican restaurant/popular neighborhood hangout) on Bunker Hill–presumably with the intent of putting something else there. What, I dunno.

    (This is my neighborhood, by the way.)

  • Sorry, I meant the Tealstone on Gessner.

    RWB: I live near the area also. The surrounding area is great but mainly because it is so wooded. I think I would feel like I was living in a parking lot in this building. To me the building is just ugly. The little balconies hanging off the side all lined up remind me of a high rise housing project. There are townhouses and condos in the area that I would pass this place up for in a second.

  • The floor plan also determines the position of windows.

    The Mercer Tower off Sage has no room on the south side that would need a window except for emergency fire escape and elevator shafts. Rooms on the east and west edges have side windows and/or open to the north with large windows.

    The layout of this building likely has hallways on the side with little windows.

    Also, MetroNational committed $700 million to the redevelopment of the Memorial Mall, Hospital, and Office complexes. Many people don’t realize that this location is demographic center of Houston Region (as long as Galveston is excluded). It’s centrally located to more Houston residents than any other location.

  • Any little spot of green, faux or otherwise, is a welcome sight around new construction. Don’t worry about the windows, unless YOU are planning to buy there.

  • Pretty sure these are actually for rent, as they’re listed in Lincoln Property’s website:

  • The floor plan also determines the position of windows.

    If they didn’t make the layout take advantage of views on both sides then they didn’t do a very good job designing the building.

    You are correct that this area is probably the demographic center of Houston. The area around this building is great. It’s the siting of the building that’s not good. I don’t think people who are going to pay high rise money want to live next to Memorial City mall and the Cemex building. I’m in the income bracket for this building, I live in the area and I never go near Memorial City Mall. I know it’s going to sound elitist but there’s no Neiman Marcus class retail at Memorial City. It’s a mall for people who can’t afford a brand new high rise.

  • Pretty sure these are actually for rent

    Looks like you are correct. $2100-$8500 a month. Who in their right mind is going to pay $8500 a month to live here?

  • In all “fairness” the $8500/month is for a 3×3.5 Penthouse unit…

  • jgriff,

    How is it a design mistake? There are no units on that side of the building that need windows.

  • I’ve heard rumors that Wayne Hays (CEO of MetroNational) has an office in the “crown” of the Memorial Hermann offices. Maybe he’ll take the Fountains’ penthouse, too!

    (By the way, I live in the burbs just south of the mall and while I don’t go to Memorial City (or any mall) a lot, I do go occasionally–it has a movie theater which is handy, and a very convenient Target. I’m sure the average mall goer probably comes from north of Katy Fwy., I’m also sure that many Memorial Villagers also deign to shop there on occasion. That said, the business concept behind The Fountains is starting to seem less and less logical.)

  • And $2100 is about right for a true high end apartment in Houston. This on par with other high end apartments in Houston.

  • I think your are right about that RWB. It’s of the reasons Town and Country Village is so busy. It’s the alternative to going to the Memorial City. it’s amazing how many duplicate stores exist in both facilities.

  • Hi, my name is Eulojio Ortega ( and I’m the artist that was commissioned to paint this mural. I used very high quality exterior paint; it’s guaranteed for 20 to 30 years, also it’s on the north side of the building which does not receive any direct sun all year long; that will add to it’s lifespan. This mural is meant to be seen from far away and near. I encourage anyone to look at it more closely once the project area is open to the public. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of detail and fuller effect that it gives up close. I tried to paint something beautiful and exceptional for the city of Houston to enjoy. Thanks for the interest.
    – Eulojio Ortega
    Ortega Studios

  • Eulogio: Thanks for posting! I’m glad that it will last. I think it looks good now and will look really good as the trees in front of it grow, which combined with the atmospheric perspective effect of the painting itself should make for a rather interesting illusion of depth.

  • As a former employee of MetroNational, it is no surprise that they continue with the most banal, uninspired architectural design imaginable. Frankly, the place is run by a bunch of redneck assholes.

    I was one of the more than 30+ employees laid off with no warning and a paltry, insulting severance. I hope MetroNational goes out of business and crashes and burns.

  • There are many words I could use to describe the top of the Memorial Hermann office building, but “banal” isn’t one of them.

  • jgriff,
    How is it a design mistake? There are no units on that side of the building that need windows.

    Put the common areas in the middle. Use all available walls for views.

    Since I ride past this building on the bus every morning and still see no lights on in any apartment I thought I’d update this thread. I still say $2100-$8500 a month is crazy. I said the same thing about The Mosaic towers also and I was right. They went bankrupt. The bottom line is that you can find a much better place to live in this area for less money and own it instead of renting. I did.