Best Rebranding Effort: The Official Nominees

Note: Voting for the Swampies has ended. See the bottom of this post (above the comments) for a link to the results!

Next on deck: The nominees for Best Rebranding Effort in 2008’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate.

What Houston-area project deserves to win this award? Read the list of nominees below, then give us your answer in the comments. Or send in your vote via email. If you want more detail about the voting process for these awards, see this page.

All set? The official nominees for Best Rebranding Effort are . . .


1. New Planned Parenthood Headquarters. That sleepy, slit-eyed former Sterling Bank building off the Gulf Freeway near U of H will probably be getting a wee bit more attention as it’s stripped down to bare structure and remade into a new administrative building and clinic for Planned Parenthood. “A nice way to keep the iconic stair-stepped design while modernizing and ‘greening’ the building.”

2. Cordell Shipping-Container House. “Three steel shipping containers reinvented as a low-impact, modern house in old-timey Brookesmith. Who’da thunk of that?”

3. Downtown Houston. “Houston has really tried to make Downtown a more livable destination — with Discovery Green, Houston Pavilions, and the new One Park Place highrise. Downtown still has a long way to go to have a life beyond the Monday to Friday 9-5 thing, but it’s getting there.”

4. Hotel ZaZa. “The Warwick-to-ZaZa transformation: Six plus months to make old and stodgy young and hip. How hip? One of their courtesy cars is a faux black-n-white Highway Patrol car.”

5. Glenbrook Valley. “This year’s Houston Mod ‘Mods of the Month’ produced throngs of young, hip architecture aficionados (plus a few classic-finned Cadillacs and a near-carnival atmosphere) at Glenbrook Valley open houses. Just a couple of years ago, nobody even knew these mod & ranch style homes were there. This year’s new arrivals in the hood included a college president, an M.D. Anderson physician, and an architect from Rottet Studios. It has become a hot topic on the architecture forums. The increasing gay contingent has railed against local icon T.C. Burton, fighting him with everything from flags to tombstones. The growing gay contingent is starting to challenge Westbury’s mantle as the edge-of-the-Loop gay alternative to Montrose. The rebranding success has even spread to neighboring hoods, such as Meadowcreek Village, where a number of people who didn’t find the perfect GV mod ended up, including the chef of uber-trendy Benjy’s bistro in the Rice Village, and Chronicle columnist Lisa Gray.”

6. Mosaic on Hermann Park. “The Mosaic wins this hands down. Instead of having two empty* towers named Mosaic, now we have one empty tower named Mosaic and one empty tower named Montage! Vive la difference! (*Before anyone screams, they’re empty of owners, not renters.)”

Which one of these nominees deserves recognition for rebranding brilliance? Submit your vote now!

Update: The winners have been announced!

Photos: Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas (Planned Parenthood building rendering); Kyle Walker Photography (shipping-container house); sabotai (Discovery Green); Gary Hunt (Hotel ZaZa); HAR (8211 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley)

95 Comment

  • Please, please please please…it’s “contingent,” not “contingency!”

    One is an organized group. The other is an extraordinary situation.

    And neither is a “mute” point. Moot, moot.

    Class dismissed.

  • @Miz,

    Good catch. These are all manglings of submitted nominations — now mangled even more to fix the wording. Is there a moot problem here too?

  • The stodgy Warwick turned into a hipster hotel. Who would have thunk it? Got my vote.

  • If this were a remodeling category, Zaza would win hands-down. They put too much money into the physical facility to call this just a rebranding. Now…what they did with Mosaic/Montage, that’s rebranding. They seemingly changed nothing, yet it sprouted a new name. It gets my vote!

  • Gee, I guess I’m a nobody. I’ve known Glenbrook Valley is fabulous for the past 53 years. And as for the gay discovery – I knew original owners who were very special. Why do you think it was originally built with excellent sense of design in such good taste?
    I guess when it’s a classic, rediscovery is a real joy.

  • Thank you, Gus. No, nothing is moot about Swamplot nor is anything mute, especially Miz Brooke Smith when she gets a grammatical bee in her bonnet.

    Now then: I do like the transformation of the piano-key Sterling Bank building into the new Planned Parenthood ziggurat. PP has for decades been hiding in that sad stilt building on Fannin. This gleaming green galaxy will be a signature for PP and will spark that giddy stretch of the Gulf Freeway for sure.

  • i’m tossing my hat for glenbrook valley, since i’m one of the new homeowners.

    and the gays throw fabulous parties.

  • I vote for Glenbrook Valley. Whether it’s fabulous parties (thrown by the straights too), redneck kooks, or neighbors helping neighbors with projects – it’s never boring.

  • My vote goes to Glenbrook Valley.

  • I HAVE to vote for Glenbrook Valley. I moved to Houston a year and a half ago, searched neighborhoods thoroughly, and have found nothing that compares. Great houses, great neighbors, great fun!

  • I vote for Glenbrook Valley. I have much in common with that subdivision: We were both built in Houston in the 50s, and we both need a little remodeling.

  • I’m going with Glenbrook Valley. It’s a neighborhood my partner and I would like to move into in the future.

  • The 50’s, knowing your neighbor,and caring about them and the neighborhood,hasn’t let Glenbrook valley. I vote for Glenbrook valley.

  • My vote goes for downtown Houston. There is a lot of money being put on the table so that downtown doesn’t sit empty Friday-Sunday.

  • I’m going for downtown Houston as well.

  • I’m voting based on creativity–Cordell Shipping-Container House.

  • shipping container

  • I vote for Glenbrook Valley!!

  • I vote for Planned Parenthood.

    Although I do love Discovery Green, I remember thinking the Rice Lofts rebranded downtown years ago. And many neighborhoods are undergoing a renaissance like Glenbrook Valley, although I don’t know that I would call it rebranding. Isn’t the Heights also undergoing changes – rebranding – as tear down and build a faux Victorian neighborhood?

  • Downtown. What a difference a park makes! When convention attendees from all over the world stay at the Hilton Americas and look out the window, they no longer see a quilt of weeds and crackled parking lots. They see a vibrant, verdant park. That will go a long way toward bringing more conventions to the city.

  • Glenbrook Valley, absolutely.

  • Glenbrook Valley has exceeded my wildest expectations when I moved in three years ago. I love the cocktail party crowd, and I have some incredibly helpful neighbors who look out for me and my property. This is a fun place to live!

  • OK, I think Downtown is great, and I think Glenbrook Valley is great. In fact, they might well get my vote in other categories. However, neither is “rebranded” the way Warwick-Zaza was. And changing the name on a condo tower under construction doesn’t even come close to the transformation of the Warwick into the Zaza.

  • Glenbrook Valley (and nearby unknown Meadowcreek Village) are hidden gems in Houston. Bravo to the Glenbrook Valley oldsters and hipsters for creating a welcoming and diverse community. Fantastic homes for reasonable prices, close to downtown, fabulous mid-century architecture. Count my vote for Glenbrook Valley!

  • My vote. Glenbrook Valley. Great neighbors, great value and it’s a great place to walk dogs !

  • Hotel ZaZa.

  • Hotel Zaza

  • So much has been said about the hipsters, oldsters, mo’s, non mo’s, and rednecks. While they are all fabulous in their own right, I am voting for Glenbrook Valley because my partner an I were able to buy an amazing house in immaculate condition. If anyone knows how Lily kept the original grout so white, please let us know.

  • I could really use Lily’s grout tips too.

    Perhaps we can discuss at the next neighborhood gathering ;)

    My vote’s for Glenbook Valley!

  • Glenbrook Valley. Great houses and great neighbors.

  • I vote for Numen Development. I support the movement for sustainable/responsible building. I don’t have time to look around, but I hope you’ve got a category to finger the most irresponsible builders in Houston.
    Thanks for the great site,

  • My vote’s for Numen Development. In response to Nealio’s comment the list of irresponsible builders can be found at

  • Cordell! Sustainable, energy efficient buildings are the way to go.


  • I vote for the container house. Downtown is on the way, but building beautiful, eco-friendly houses out of excess materials is awesome!

  • Numen Development’s Container House has my vote! Love the idea, love the way they ran with it. I want one.

  • Hotel ZaZa – for renewing the glamour of the place while keeping it standing.

  • Numen Development and the Container House. How cool is it to take junk and make it beautiful, useful, and green!

  • Cordell Shipping Container House!

  • I vote for the Cordell House — not only is it made with recycled shipping containers and other super groovy green materials and mechanical systems, but only 10 contractor bags of trash were produced during the ENTIRE build! All other materials were recycled or reused. No dumpsters. It’s also BEAUTIFUL on the inside. Yay for green/sustainable building!

  • My vote goes to Numen Development, they did a terrific job turning surplus shipping containers into a open, spacious, energy efficient home. The home is awesome, and needs to be seen from the inside to be fully appreciated.

    I’d vote for Glenbrook Valley second (if I could vote again), but it’s been a neat neighborhood for years, did id get rebranded recently?

  • Voting for the Cordell Shipping-Container House. Ingenious re-use of materials into a very modern design.

  • As a proud papa, I vote for my baby the Cordell house. Too cool, eco-friendly, not to mention durable – did I say there’s ZERO sheetrock in the place?

  • NUMEN! NUMEN! NUMEN! Cordell house!

  • Cordell House is even cooler cooler now than it was when that last pic was taken. Container reuse and No Dumpsters! get my vote…

    Planned P will be cool in 2010 when it actually is rebranded. Thanks for the survey!

  • My vote goes to the Cordell Shipping Container House. A great idea to re-use materials with minimal waste.

  • Reduce, Reuse, regenerate, rethink the idea of green space. A livable space that can be designed and redesigned to fit the needs of urban living. Large quality of life, small impact on landfills. Cordell house is rebranding everyone can get into.

  • my vote is for #2 the cordel container house due to the lack of construction waste and recycling of shipping containers

  • Shipping containers to high architecture? That’s rebranding at its finest! Cordell gets my vote, the included photo doesn’t even do it justice.

  • My vote goes to the “Cordell Shipping-Container House.” This is yet another beautiful, practical, affordable & accessible home from Numen. By “accessible,” I mean that it’s available to “Joe [or Janet] Consumer” — and not merely confined to some “special project.”

  • Creating houses from old shipping containers is an ingenious way to make housing more affordable, easier to produce and with less waste. Not only practical, but a good way to turn some heads driving down the street. It’s a five star method for housing.

  • I am thrilled at the efforts of Numen Development – the Cordell House is – in my mind a trend of great things to come – they have my vote – great design – great for the earth – great for us all!

  • My vote is for the Cordell House — beautifully done. I would love to see this design exported to other cities… like Portland ;)

  • Numen!

    the use of containers is always great in theory and is executed here with elegance.

    i want one.

  • shipping container house rocks. that’s my vote!

    save the planet…. yay!!!

  • Cordell House…hands down!

  • The Cordell House….most unique!

  • Used shipping containers for living space is still an excellent idea to my mind. I’d have to go with Cordell House.

  • The Cordell House is a great example of using existing materials to create a new place. There are subtle additions to the house when they built it that make it homey and livable.

  • Have to vote Nueman for their design re-purposing shipping containers. Awesome work!

  • I love the idea of the shipping container house, what a simple and elegant idea. My vote for the cordell st house.

  • My vote in the rebranding category goes to Cordell House! I appreciate the enthusiasm and creativity of those who envisioned and successfuly blended “green” concepts with functionality.

  • I vote for Numen Development. Their approach to sustainable living is inspiring, beautiful, and intelligent.

  • Cordell house – definitely!!

  • Cordell container house. Original and a private residence.

  • MY HOUSE — the container house!! such a lovely home!

  • the shipping container home. innovative.

  • I love the shipping container house concept. FEMA should have used this after Katrina and Ike!

  • the container house on cordell – by numen. compact, absolutely livable, and a small ecological footprint. all builders should aspire to such high aims.

    discovery green is amazing too, but not something everyone can emulate.

  • In my opinion, the clear winner for this category is Numen Development’s Cordell House. This wonderfully green project was well planned and well executed.

    Glenbrook Valley has been nice for years. Now that it is more popular with the gay community – does that count as rebranding? If this was a category for hip ranch style homes I’d understand the inclusion of GV. However, it sure is nice seeing that the residents are pulling together!

  • As a native Houstonian, I can’t vote for the ZaZa since that came from Dallas.

    Container House.

  • The Cordell container house is a true local success story: local owners, local developers, local architect. My wife & I toured toured during the house warming; we’re jealous! It’s a wonderful home!

  • My support goes to Numen Developmen. I love the innovative idea of shipping containers for a house!

  • Love the NUMEN! Now that’s some original work.

  • My vote is for The Mosaic. The Developer Don Phillips has abandoned this project and ran back to Tampa. His Company PDR has tried to re-invent this white elephant but the fact remains that everyone who bought a condo here is doomed to either lose half their investment or rent their white box, loft style, concrete mausoleum to some unsuspecting renter who will hate this place as much as the owners do now. PDR the developer will soon have a sign that reads “Rent One Get One Free!”

  • I agree with Mr. Cianci. This turd of residence has gone downhill fast. My husband invested in a condo here and now we are stuck with an overpriced unit that will go to rental as a result of Don Phillips mismanagement of this project. His Company, PDR, is turning our investment into a ghetto rental project. His renaming the second tower is a joke. Some famous lady just said that “you can put lipstick on a pig…..and you know the rest. Case closed!

  • My vote is for the Cordell Shipping Container House. It is awesome and unique and built by a great company, Numen Development!

  • No Question…..CORDELL HOUSE! It’s a definite MUST SEE!!! Awesome sustainable quality with/by LOCAL owners, developers and designers!!

  • I love the Cordell container. What a brilliant idea well executed. Not simply in terms of design and functionality, but in terms of having the courage to reshape the concepts of what housing will look like in the future, given the current state of our planet’s resources, the inevitable population growth, and the ability to provide immediate help to those in housing need. Kudos for brining this to the fore front. Why others are not thinking along this same line is a shame. Well done!

  • I’m voting for the Cordell house by Numen Development – I think it was neat the way they had less waste after building the entire house than when they bought the lot and had to clean it off.

  • My vote is for the Cordell house and Numen Development. I think the builders had a great vision and produced a fabulous house – it is amazingly cool on the inside too!

  • The Cordell House by Numen Development gets my vote!

  • The Cordell House by Numen Development is a great concept–using shipping containers that are piling up on our shores. It gets my vote!

  • Definitely, the Cordell House! What an innovative and wonderful way to reuse material with little to no waste.

  • Cordell house, of course!

  • Cordell house would be a perfect candidate for low VOC painting awards! Call me to get a bid!

  • Without doubt, my vote goes to Cordell House by Numen Development. Re-use of shipping containers. Truly minimal waste during the construction process. Well thought out green materials and energy system inside the house. Beautiful, imaginative, affordable, livable. Local talent designed, developed and built the home.

  • I vote for Cordell house in BrookeSmith Heights. Ingenuity, reduced waste and style? That’s a fete!

  • Downtown Houston…..has a long way to go but has made major progress on re-branding itself.

  • My vote goes to Hotel ZaZa. This was a true re-brand.

  • For sure, the Cordell House. A great example of urban space.

  • I vote for the Cordell house by Numen Development. This company deserves a lot of attention for their creativity, innovation, dedication to the enviroment and affordable housing philosophy. To pull this off in Houston makes it even better.

  • One more vote for the Numen container house!

  • numen – cordell house!!!

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