09/27/13 2:30pm

Architect Kenneth Bentsen designed quite a few institutional buildings in Houston, including Phillip Guthrie Hoffman Hall and Agnes Arnold Hall, shown here, at the University of Houston campus. Other buildings to Bentsen’s name include the Texas Children’s Hospital Complex and the Houston Summit (which is now, of course, Lakewood Church). As an architecture student at UH, Bentsen worked with Donald Barthelme and Howard Barnstone and began his career in the ’50s at MacKie and Kamrath. He ran his own practice here from 1958 until 1991. Bentsen passed away this week on Tuesday, September 24.

Photo: University of Houston

09/23/13 11:05am

Here’s a plan that looks to plug in to Metro’s still-under-construction Southeast Line and redo about 8 blocks along Scott St. in the Third Ward between UH and TSU. Though the plan, drawn up by LAI Design Group and dubbed “University Place Redevelopment,” is provisional, it appears to have in mind something like what the rendering above shows: A reshaped streetscape on Scott St. that would combine apartments, restaurants, shops, offices, and community buildings.

The first phase appears to call for a strip center facing Scott between Holman and Reeves, with 289 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and a parking garage in the rear:

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07/17/13 12:00pm

There’s more going on at U of H than that new McDonald’s, apparently: A reader sends these photos of many of the construction projects scattered across the campus. This photo shows the pylons of the still-unnamed bowl with a Downtown view that’s replacing Robertson Stadium, demolished back in December. And in the background of the photo you can see the new Cougar Place apartments. KUHF’s Jack Williams reports that the new stadium is already about a third done; more photos after the jump illustrate the below-grade playing field.

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07/11/13 11:10am

A reader sends photo of the construction progress of the replacement McDonald’s near the corner of Elgin and Cullen on the University of Houston campus. The McDonald’s that used to stand here was torn down in early June. A regional rep says that this new one should be ready by the time classes resume.

Photos: Thomas Heinold

06/20/13 11:00am

APPLIED TECHNOLOGY AT UH’S NEW COFFEE NOOK A pair of University of Houston alums will be running a coffee shop and wine bar out of this new retail center in the cranny of Calhoun Rd. and Spur 5. The Nook, they’re calling it, will open July 15, reports The Daily Cougar, with more student-friendly hours, staying open until midnight — even on school nights. And there will also be a kind of caffeine-expediting service well suited to a spread-out campus that can require some serious between-classes hoofing: “‘The unique piece of The Nook that we’re actually proud of is a smart phone app where you can actually order your coffee the way you like it. You tell us when you’ll show up, you pay with your credit card and come to the pick-up counter and pick it up,’ Shaw said. ‘Anything on the menu, except for alcohol, can be ordered on the phone app.’” [The Daily Cougar; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Allyn West

06/07/13 10:00am

It would seem that McDonald’s has resolved the steely staring contest between these 2 signs from 2 different eras, having gone ahead and ushered out the old restaurant here on Elgin and Cullen near the U of H campus to put up a brand-new one, a regional rep from the company confirms. No renderings of the next generation are available yet, but the rep says that it should be open in time for the fall semester.

Photo: Allyn West

06/04/13 2:00pm

Only Cougars allowed: Prime Property is reporting that Fountain Residential, a Dallas developer, will build, own, and operate this residential complex for students immediately southwest of the University of Houston campus. The 5-story, 347-bed dorm being called The Vue on MacGregor — which will indeed provide a vue of Brays Bayou — will be up by the fall semester of 2014, standing where there’s now a boarded-up gas station at the corner of S. MacGregor and Calhoun. This is just one of the many projects underway on campus, as the Robertson Stadium replacement continues to go up, along with another residence hall, student apartments, and a restaurant and retail space near Elgin St.

Rendering: 5G Studio Architects

05/15/13 11:00am

Let’s do 2: As construction at U of H on the $105 million no-name replacement football stadium plows on, the regents have decided to go ahead and redo the basketball arena, too. It probably won’t look like this; the rendering shown here has been circulating since February. No, the regents’ decision this past Monday really means that other, newer designs will be undertaken to freshen up the 43-year-old Hofheinz Pavilion — where fashion mogul and Houston real estate player Hakeem Olajuwon first honed his shakes before opening his DR34M store in the old Jim West Mansion in Clear Lake.

The Houston Chronicle reports that, if approved, the project — which some reports have costing as much as $77 million — would introduce nicer locker rooms for the players and “premium seating” for fans, as well as a new sound system and video boards above the court. UH athletic director Mack Rhoades tells the Chronicle that as many as 9 other schools in the newly formed American Athletic Conference have, or are building, new arenas.

Rendering: UH Athletics

05/03/13 1:05pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ISN’T EAST OF 59 AND 288 INSIDE THE LOOP TOO? “. . . I tell people all the time, I live inside the loop, a few miles from DT. Everyone is all ‘oh, where do you live? in Montrose, the Heights, on Washington, museum district?’ I’m all like ‘um, no, over by UH’ then they’re all like ‘oh, UHD, so like Last Concert, that’s edgy!!!’ then I’m like, sigh ‘no, the real UH, there’s a fleet of taco trucks by my house, and that soccer stadium thingy.’ Then they just start running away.” [toasty, commenting on Houston: The Divided City]

05/01/13 4:30pm

Here are just a few of the designs created by a UH undergraduate architecture class that spent much of this semester going on field trips to the Almeda Mall. Under the direction of Susan Rogers of the UH Community Design Resource Center (or CDRC), the 4th- and 5th-year will-be architects, who also spent time on nearby Kingspoint Rd. taking in that street art study center known as the Mullet, were charged with developing strategies to reanimate the dead retail zone in South Houston.

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03/08/13 3:00pm

This is what’s going up on some prime spurfront property at the University of Houston. Next to a Chinese restaurant and that prideful parking garage on Spur 5 that inspired the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray and some student rappers back in 2010, the 2-story building at the end of Calhoun Rd. on campus is being billed as Cougar Den Plaza.

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02/19/13 12:30pm

Not quite 3 years after reopening as what owner Rodney Finger claimed to be the biggest furniture store in Texas, the 600,000-sq.-ft. I-45 Finger Furniture flagship — and the 16.5 acres near UH that it sits on — has come up for sale. Until the Finger family bought the property in the early ’60s, it was home to a minor-league baseball stadium for the Houston Buffs, a farm team for the Cardinals up in St. Louis. That history was given some floor space among the couches and mattresses indoors in the Houston Sports Museum — with a replica home plate in the showroom tile to approximate the original. And the asking price? $11 million.

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02/13/13 1:00pm

Thieves made off with copper wiring from UH’s University Center late Saturday night, a UH public safety department bulletin reports: A contractor noticed early Sunday morning that the wiring had gone missing; a reader tells Swamplot that this knocked out the building’s power and is delaying renovations. The Barnes & Noble and Cougar Byte stores inside the UC have been scrambling to set up temporary locations elsewhere on campus.

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02/05/13 9:30am

Since 2011, Houston Arts Alliance has been curating Writing & C/Siting Houston, a series of personal stories from local writers about their favorite Houston places: secret hike and bike trails along Buffalo Bayou, family-owned businesses in Midtown, Hindu temples in Sugar Land. Novelist and essayist Miah Mary Arnold and UH professor William Monroe will be the first in 2013 to contribute their stories to the series, giving a reading tomorrow night. Joining them will be essayist Phillip Lopate, who describes the city in “Houston Hide-and-Seek” as “a decentralized octopus gobbling up all the land around it.”

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01/03/13 3:31pm

If you look closely at these new renderings of Robertson Stadium’s replacement that UH released a couple of weeks ago, you can see the Downtown skyline. UH, a member of the Big East starting in 2013, says that this 40,000-seat, $105-million stadium — whose naming rights are still being shopped around — will be built with a new east-west orientation, at least in part because that’ll make the skyline look real nice on teevee.

More details and even more renderings:

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