Remaining Houston Mods To Star in Their Own Movie

The director of a recent documentary about the late architect and educator Samuel Mockbee says he’s already received pledges for about half the money he thinks he and his production team will need to raise for his next project: a feature-length film about midcentury modern architecture in Houston — or what’s left of it. Houston native Sam Wainwright Douglas’s Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio has appeared on PBS, in local theaters, and on the museum circuit since its debut at SXSW last year. Douglas says he hasn’t fixed the lineup for his Houston movie, but he’s hoping to profile local architects Harwood Taylor, Hugo Neuhaus, Howard Barnstone, and William Jenkins and their work, as well as buildings by modernist firms such as MacKie and Kamrath and Lloyd & Morgan. (If he wants to capture any portions of MacKie and Kamrath’s Sugar Land oeuvre, he’ll have to hurry.)


Already in the can: a film shoot of Taylor’s Buffalo Bayou-side Frame House (pictured above) and interviews with its current owners. Earlier this month, Douglas and his Big Beard Productions scored a $25,000 grant from the Architecture Center Houston Foundation for his upcoming project; the same organization’s first annual film festival will feature the Mockbee flick and a Q&A with the director on August 13th.

Photo: Ben Hill

7 Comment

  • Sweet. I’d love to see this movie.

  • And during the closing credits, they run footage of Cherry Demolition, permit in hand, readying the wrecking ball…

  • I am already drooling over this. I can’t wait to see it. I hope this raises the conscious of the importance of the Mid Century Modern design and homes in our city. This is a thought that has been in my mind for some time now: Do the blueprints for these structures still exist (whether the structures are still standing or since demolished notwithstanding)? If the blueprints still exist, would it be cool if someone could come along and rebuild a MCM somewhere site specific and in harmony to the lot/space?

  • For several years I owned a small, inexpensive Samuel Mockbee house in Jackson, MS. He designed it for the mother of a friend of his very early in his career. Could not have been a cooler place to live. It was built in 1985 and the style was definitely post-modern. It even had his signature screened porch on the front. Loved it.

  • My wife and I own a William Jenkins house. He’s welcome to come see it. @ Native Houstonian – Many of these houses would be a lot more expensive to build today with today’s building codes… Not impossible, but adjustments would have to be made. Also, steel, for example is a lot more expensive now.

  • I guess I do not understand the importance of the MCM’s? There are certain architectural styles that have stood the test of time and have wide appeal…MCM is not one of them. A small minority of people really like them.

  • I have an Original Architects Drawing… MacKIE and KAMRATH…of MD Anderson Hospital for Cancer Research.
    It lists Scmidt, Gardeth and Ericks as consulting architects. I inherited this drawing from Euna C Brown who was a long time, highly valued member of the MD Anderson team.

    I am trying to find out more about this drawing, see pictures of the building, and perhaps learn the value of the drawing. Anyone have any info for me? Thank you so much.

    Roseann Leith Jackson, Tampa, FL