07/19/16 11:30am

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002
First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002A dumpster was spotted last week loitering around the Travis St. entrance of the Mod-ish Brutal-ish teal-ish former Christian Science church downtown, which, per the language on a building permit issued this month, is now being converted into a nightclub. The name listed on the permit (Club Spire) marks something of a shift in the tone previously set by the new owners this spring, when the group connected to Clé bar sought a TABC permit for the building under the name 1720 Main Reception Hall.

A curious reader sends the Friday afternoon shot above, along with an inquiry as to the fate of any interior furnishings and materials to be stripped away (the outside being fairly naked already, save for the gold-and-blue soon-to-be-eponymous spire). Here’s a last look from inside, around, and on top of the church’s sanctuary and courtyard as it was just prior to the finalization of the sale this spring — the elongated diamond-slash-triangle motif that covers the area behind the altar is carried through much of the rest of the building, from the stained-glass windows to the furniture: 

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Born Again on Main St.
03/01/16 10:15am

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002A new gig appears to be on the horizon for the turquoise-and-concrete Christian Science church at 1720 Main St. A notice announcing an application for a TABC license for the spot is up at the site; the license is being sought by an entity under the name of 1720 Main Reception Hall. Attached to that name, in the public notice for the application, is another: Salim Dehkordi (of nightclub Clé Bar down the road at 2301 Main) is listed as president, secretary, and treasurer.

The Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects put in a bid on the space back in January, hoping to use the sci-fi Brutalist building as their new headquarters. The organization purportedly lost out to a cash buyer asking for no due diligence period, spurring suspicions that the structure would be torn down. It seems, however, that the building will be maintained in some form by its next owners (though there could be a very different set of activities going on beneath that geometric gold spire).  A new setup for the interior might be on the horizon as well:

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Getting Saved Downtown
01/22/16 3:30pm

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

Take in this nice long view of the gleaming spire atop the part-Modernist-part-Brutalist-part-Islamic-part-1960s-science-fiction sanctuary of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, which was listed on HAR and now seems to be circling in on a finalized deal.  The church received a large number of offers on the property despite a short bid period, and the Houston AIA chapter’s hopes to buy the building as its new headquarters were dashed over the weekend.

Once the church changes hands, members of the congregation will move to any of the other CS branches in the Greater Houston area (which number at least 7). While the sale wraps up, a service is still being held on the first Sunday of each month in the turquoise glow of the inner sanctum:

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Selling a Space-Age Sanctuary
01/20/16 4:00pm

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002Now pending: the sale of the First Church of Christ the Scientist at 1720 Main St., north of Jefferson St. The 1961 structure, designed by Texas architect Milton Foy Martin, was listed for $2.25 million; the listing caught the attention of the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who had hoped to buy the building and move into it.

The organization made an offer, and even got Mayor Annise Parker to write a letter to the Church’s congregation in early December — Parker’s letter asked the Church to consider selling the building to AIA for the sake of historical preservation, citing fears that “any other purchaser would tear the building down.”

AIA was apparently outbid, however, by a cash buyer asking for no due diligence period. The sale is currently listed as pending on HAR. More detailed photos of the inside and out below, including that golden spire and turquoise tile:

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It’s Blue Inside
04/29/15 2:45pm

American Brakeshoe Company Building, 3315 W. 12th St., Inner Loop Northwest, Houston

A lowslung brick 1965 building in the warehouse district in the northwest quadrant of the Inner Loop west of Timbergrove Manor and Lazybrook scored landmark status from the city today, marking the first such designation for an industrial, Modern, and suburban (well, at least used-to-be suburban) structure. NuSmile, a company that manufactures pediatric dental crowns, bought the former American Brakeshoe Company building in 2011 and then renovated it, adding a taller 6,140-sq.-ft. metal-wrapped extension to the back of the 8,584-sq.-ft. structure in 2013 and winning a Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston in the process. A report the company submitted with the application notes that “no records of an architect, contractor, or developer have been found” for the original building. Among the former tenants of the property at 3315 W. 12th St.: Smith Industries, TelTex, and TD Rowe Amusements.

Photo: SWCA

NuSmile on Building
04/24/15 3:00pm

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Until neighboring homes now under construction weigh in, the largest home — by just a couple sq. ft. — on its Museum District block in Jandor Gardens is a custom 2006 contemporary by Stern & Bucek. The home stacks up on one side of a wide, slightly terraced, slightly dog-legged lot. The property avoids pesky back neighbors entirely — the lawn, landscaping, and pristine pool extend to the street behind. Earlier this week, the listing appeared on the market with a $3.95 million price tag.

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Back Stretch
04/16/15 12:45pm

IT’S THURSDAY, APRIL 16TH. WHERE’S THAT RIVERSIDE TERRACE MOD WE CAN SMASH UP? Bar from Home in Riverside Terrace, HoustonThis was the appointed day we were all supposed learn the address of a certain 1950s Mod “tear-down” estate sale somewhere in Riverside Terrace where all would be welcome to bring hammers and crowbars to wrestle loose a few well-installed vintage items. So where is it? Sorry — gotta wait 1 more day to find out, the listing from JBD Estate Sales tells us. On account of the weather, the sale has been postponed until this Saturday and Sunday, April 18th and 19th. Accordingly, the big location reveal will have to wait for tomorrow. But 97 photos of the wares offered have now been posted, and they include a few crowbar-worthy items, such as the custom cabinetry pictured here. What’s the occasion? “Desiring a change of lifestyle and design, my clients sold their old home in Old Braeswood and bought this house to tear down and build a new smaller contemporary home for retirement,” reads the copy. “Furnishing for sale in this 4000 sq. ft. house are a combination from both houses plus some consigned items.” [EstateSales.net] Photo: JBD Estate Sales

04/08/15 5:00pm

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To take a dip in the atrium pool of a sleek Glendower Court home in Upper Kirby, you’ll need to head up a level. It’s a second floor feature of the 2006 contemporary by Steve Howard Designs. Located east of Westgate and north of Fairview, the April Fools Day listing has a no-joke $4.3 million asking price.

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Pooling Resources
04/02/15 4:00pm

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The craggy terrain backing Buffalo Bayou in River Oaks near the neighborhood’s decorative gates at Shepherd Dr. sprouted several Usonian-design inspired homes by the architecture firm of MacKie & Kamrath back in the fifties. One of the modernist properties that still remains on the Tiel Way loop landed on the market Monday — and it’s in near original shape, right down to the redwood siding and built-in furnishings. A 1957 structure noted in architectural circles for its angles, wedges, cantilevered terraces, and detail-layered ceilings, the bayou-view home on a ravine lot now bears a $2.5 million price tag.

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River Oaks Wrightists
04/02/15 3:00pm

Energy Center Under Construction, ExxonMobil Campus, Springwoods Village, Houston

From a source who wishes to remain unidentified come these pix of the glass-box keystone suspended at the entrance to ExxonMobil’s new north Houston campus. The 385-acre facility, which opened to employees last spring, is now largely occupied but remains under construction. The Energy Center, with its hovering 10,000-ton “floating cube” raised 80 ft. above ground, will serve as the campus’s front gate, welcoming visitors as well as shortcut-eschewing employees to the 10,000-worker compound.

The building will include a meeting and training center, and is meant to “represent the ExxonMobil brand for the long term,” according to a company document. Earlier photos showed an extensive scaffolding structure holding up the centerpiece; it’s now been removed.

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Flying Square Energy Donut
04/01/15 12:15pm

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The only assembly on this Lexington Green property appears to be of seating. It musters throughout the grounds of the updated 1972 contemporary, which soldiers on in Memorial’s Bunker Hill Village. The spit-and-polished property’s relisting on Monday trimmed the asking price by $50K to $1.575 million. A previous listing spent a month on the market at $1.625 million. A pool, landscaping, and outdoor venues help populate the lot, which occupies nearly half an acre near the cul-de-sac end of a street off Memorial Drive where it makes a sharp turn north, a bit east of Gessner Rd.

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Chairing Cross
03/16/15 5:00pm

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When architect Tom Wilson designed a contemporary residence for himself in West U back in 1977, he divvied the lot down the length, giving home and extensive poolscape each narrow side-by-side footprints. Twenty years later, the current owners took over, paying $535K for the privilege. Last week, the property popped up on the market with a $1.45 million price tag. Architectural guides peg the design as “a low-key medium tech house” engineered with steel and panels of metal and wood. The “front” door is on the side; it lies inside the porch and privacy screen (above) facing the street, which is located south of University Blvd. and west of Buffalo Speedway.

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Skinny But Loaded
03/12/15 4:00pm

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Was this stone-studded home in Walnut Bend one of the 30 or so properties featured in the 1960 Parade of Homes? The pebbly property’s price tag has stuck to $389K since its listing in January — with or without that pedigree. Located midblock on an interior street east of Wilcrest Dr., the domicile lands midway between Briar Forest Dr. and Westheimer Rd. The home’s exterior layers on the (mostly) non-original textures, particularly in the terracing of its courtyard entry . . .

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Stone Aged
03/11/15 1:45pm

Medical Office Building, 7620 Bellfort St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Real estate agent Robert Searcy sends in make-’em-look-pretty pics of a few of the small Modern office buildings to be found along Bellfort St. between Telephone Rd. and Broadway in Glenbrook Valley. The buildings were built in the 1960s, many of them to serve doctors connected to the former Southeast Memorial Hospital on the northwest corner of Bellfort St. and Glenloch. (Later operated by Riverside General Hospital as its Edith Irby Jones Campus, the structure was torn down a few years ago after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ike.)

Pictured above: The Bellfort Women’s Care Clinic at 7620 Bellfort, formerly the office of Dr. Hans Altinger, who also lived in Glenbrook Valley. Next on the tour:

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Some of the Doctors Are In
03/06/15 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THE BEST VIEWS IN EVERY SKYHOUSE Plan Detail, SkyHouse Houston, Downtown Houston“I love how the big picture windows in some of the units allow residents to actually sit on the toilet and look out onto the street. I can’t say I want to SEE a resident doing this but it does make this tower unique.” [Daphne Graham, commenting on Have a Look Where Crews Have Begun Digging for the Second Downtown SkyHouse] Plan detail: SkyHouse Houston