Update, 7/20: The renderings and description have been removed from both LAI’s website and the online portfolio website where they were previously displayed. At the request of the architect, Swamplot has removed the images as well; this article has been updated.
A glassy sphere shown in a rendering
currently previously displayed on the website of Colorado-based LAI Design Group looked to be part of a design for a nonprofit workspace and affordable housing thinktank called the Coleman Global Center. An attached description of the project doesn’t didn’t specifically identify the location of the rendering (beyond noting that project is “in Houston”). But another rendered view of the project (posted to porfolio site Behance) showed the bubble right across Dowling St. from the almost-finished new community center at Emancipation Park (and its easy-to-identify reflection pool) at the corner with Elgin. And Leah Binkovitz’s May interview with state representative Garnet Coleman and a set of collaborating Third Ward nonprofit directors ambiguously highlights that particular corner as playing an important role in plans to shift how gentrification unfolds in the neighborhood. Compare the rendering below (which shows the bubble building in place) to architect Phil Frelon’s angled aerial rendering of Emancipation Park (included further below):
Despite not being in Midtown, the lot was bought by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority in mid-December — Binkovitz reports that the agency owns about 3.5 million sq.ft. of land in Third Ward, as part of an attempt coordinated by Coleman to reserve land in the area for affordable housing development. The agency’s purchase extends along Elgin from Dowling to a discontinuous stretch of St. Charles St.,
visible in the upper left below; across Elgin (to the right), the drawings showed what appear to be significant changes to the southeast corner of Elgin and Dowling (which currently holds Navy Seafood).
- Third Ward Looks to Shift the Gentrification Conversation [Urban Edge]
- Coleman Global Center for Innovative Housing Excellence [LAI Design Group]
- Historic Emancipation Park [Phil Frelon]
- Previously on Swamplot: What Emancipation Park Might End Up Looking Like; Freeing Up Funds for Emancipation Park