The Saturn V rocket originally planned to boost a never-happened Apollo 18 spaceflight has been lying on its side near the corner of Saturn Ln. and 2nd St. and aimed at Lake Jackson since 1977. An air-conditioned, metal-framed structure was built around the Smithsonian-owned hulk 10 years ago to protect it from the elements, but it makes it difficult for visitors to appreciate just how hulking the rocket is. And recently the new structure has begun to look a bit dilapidated as well. Unprompted by any government agency or basketball team, San Antonio architect Brantley Hightower has been floating a proposal to wrap a more permanent structure around Houston’s most prominent rocketship — one that would restore the drive-by view of its full length (above) that the existing enclosure ruined, and make it clear just how big the Saturn V was:
Inside, catwalks would allow views from above. And the building would include facilities for exhibits, lectures, and special events.
Hightower doesn’t imagine his Saturn V Pavilion will ever become real, but says it’s “something that could be built.” That doesn’t sound like too bad a match for a launch vehicle that never flew. It also marks a giant step closer to construction from a previous Houston proposal he worked on: a repurposing of the Astrodome as a Houston Ark.
Renderings: Brantley Hightower/HiWorks Architecture