What UH Architecture Students Would Do with the Almeda Mall

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.


The resulting designs show a climbing wall, pedestrian and exercise paths, and colors other than the grays of concrete incorporated into the parking lots sitting unused in front of the many vacant big boxes there between Almeda Genoa Rd. and Fuqua St.

A news item from Mike Emery at UH says that the trips south on I-45 have also yielded

. . . Kongci Chan’s design that proposes a series of elevated bridges and walking pathways connecting nearby residents with new green spaces. . . . Jose Pedroza . . . took inspiration from similar neighborhoods in South America, Asia and Europe. He developed a mesh of walkways surrounding residential towers. . . . Michael Roeder . . . was determined to connect graffiti art with the community. His design incorporated residential spaces and a school near studios and public creative areas.

In the past, reports Emery, Rogers has asked similar CDRC classes to deal with the city’s ditches and easements and design waterfront properties in Baytown.

Renderings: Community Design Resource Center via UH

16 Comment

  • Move it to Kansas?

  • Southside!!!

  • I don’t understand.

  • I like this idea. The design part needs to be coordinated with the raising money part. Then it rolls.

  • Hmmmm, doesn’t say much UH’s program, if this is indicative of the talent pool

  • @ Shannon

    What doesn’t say much about the architecture program at UH? The 2 renderings you see? Did you even take the time to read the article, or, gasp, click on the referenced links to learn more about the work that CDRC does with design and the lower income communities? Clearly not, or you just do not have a clue what a true hands on project that works directly with the community is. Since you seem to have a great knowledge in architecture programs, let’s hear which one you would recommend?

  • Maybe one of the business administration classes can come up with ways to attract retailers and other assorted “occupants” including restaurateurs for Almeda Mall Mall although I suspect they would probably come up with the same suggestion ms_misry did. Move it to Kansas…

  • I went back and re-read the article, then clicked on all the referenced links. I still do not understand.

  • What’s with the obsession with Kansas?
    That said, I agree there should be business administration students in Susan Rogers Community Design Resource Center. They could do for attracting tenants what the architecture students are doing for design: come up with new and innovative, sometimes outlandish but always interesting ideas for how to do it.
    Throw in some public policy and pre-law students too, to see how municipal, state, and federal regulations might be tweaked to make it work better.

  • Good read, good ideas. All I can say is this: If you don’t understand this, it isn’t for you.

  • the designs are not complete thoughts or even spaces that would relate to that area….. it is time to think bigger, clear hundreds of acres back to park land, pave trails witin these parks as well as making the areas more than the cluster f*cks of plants we saw TXDOT plant along the freeways a few years ago….. Did we not study other outdoor spaces around the world kids, look at how parks, civic spaces, residential areas relate best to these kind of undertakings…… THINK BIGGER

  • I’d recommend Yale—-honestly, these renderings are awful. I wouldn’t choose any. Where is Frederick Law Olstead when you need him

  • @shannon
    That statement verifies your credentials. Now, I can agree with you on Yale being a recommended architecture program, but your statements after that cause you to lose all credibility. Sure, some renderings might not be that great, but it’s not all about ‘pretty’ pictures. Pay attention to the entire process. This project / process focuses on a MUCH larger picture than many projects, yet you cry out for Frederick Law OlMstead, a landscape architect. Why??? This is clearly more than just landscape, Shannon. Also, you do know that the program you recommended does not have a landscape program, right? So now you see why your recommendation for Yale and then cry out for Frederick OlMstead could be confusing and damaging

  • I started to write a diatribe comparing 5th-year architects attempting to do architecture to 5th-graders attempting to sing even though they don’t understand time or tones or anything at all really. That was fun.

    But I decided to truncate my criticism of UH’s program by pointing out that it is an art school. They do not teach people to practice architecture insomuch as they teach people to enjoy it. The part that entails them becoming productive members of society comes after a brutal apprenticeship (maybe) that crushes their hopes and dreams and teaches them the intersection of their superficially-understood profession with the economy, the law, and people that don’t ‘get’ architect-speak (i.e. the ‘other’ 99%).

    Let’s just not fool ourselves, that’s all. Like baby lawyers or medical interns, they suck at everything. Worse still, they want to show you how awesome they are, but they just…SUCK. They can’t help it one way or the other, they just do. They’ll get better. It’s just that now is not the time to take them seriously. Give them a polite applause, a sticky star on their forehead, tell them that they’re special, and shoe them away.

  • @cg—dude, calm down–I have no idea what kind of programs they have at Yale–I just know it’s far superior to Cougar High–and yes, I’m well aware of who and what Olstead is and what he represents

  • Nice, but here’s a higher vision for the place. Let’s think better.