M.D. Anderson Planning To Extract Dental Branch from Med Center

The 1955 building Houston architects MacKie and Kamrath designed (along with several later additions) for the University of Texas Dental Branch will be removed from its home at the corner of MD Anderson Blvd. and Moursund in the Med Center, according to the Texas Historical Commission. The UT School of Dentistry abandoned the 5-story, granite-faced building earlier this year for a new 300,000-sq.-ft. facility in the new UT Health Science Center Research Park south of the Med Center proper (and OST) at 7500 Cambridge St. UT’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which owns the Med Center site, hasn’t yet announced a schedule for the demolition.


Photos: Kristen Chen (top), Texas Historical Commission (bottom)

10 Comment

  • Beautiful, striking modernist building, and well-preserved. Not quite up to the level of M.D. Anderson’s previous demolitions (Shamrock Hotel, Prudential Building), but still a loss.

  • They keep on demolishing buildings in the med center but are hardly building any new buildings. Is there something planned for this site or will it just sit vacant for years like the M.D. Anderson prudential building site that was demolished not to long ago. It would be nice to see some new towers going up in the med center.

  • The sad part, architecturally speaking, the newer buildings are quite lame. MacKie and Kamrath > Kirksey.

  • MacKie and Kamrath seem to be winning the award for most demolished landmark buildings in the last 18 months. Tragic.

  • John, look on either side of the UTDB building. There is a building completed within the last 2 years with the helical feature on it on one side, and there is another structure under construction on the opposite side that used to be the mental sciences building. Have you seen the new Methodist research building?

  • In such an experimental place, I wonder about the space planning objectives.
    I know that the programming department works to project future departmental needs, for one thing, and that for another people’s clout does affect who gets what space. But at least one time in North Campus I would like to see new shell space put in place without any allocation beforehand. With any group and individual free to pitch camp, temporarily or not. A true commons, this would benefit whoever’s projects could use the elbow room. Laboratory space is so expensive I have trouble seeing it being left open to land rush and iteration, yet regular old enclosed space will by itself allow things to happen that won’t be tried any other way; and this has value.

  • That buiding may have looked good from the outside (from a distance; up close you could see the re-bar holding the granite slabs on) but it was WAY outdated on the inside. No way was it set up for a class of 100 students, which is what the School of Dentristy now enrolls every year.

    I taught in a basement classroom there for 4 years. Between the complete lack of reliable electricity to all of the outlets and the jury-rigged data cables and conduits, it was a minor miracle we didn’t burn the place down or break someone’s neck during labs. And don’t get me started on the thermostats! Never knew if I was gonna need a sweater or a shower after class.

  • Common tactic (and recently used by MD Anderson with the Prudential building) – demolition by neglect.

  • You could make that argument, but this was a building used for clinical teaching and research. The practice of both of these has changed tremendously over the years, and that building simply wasn’t enough to keep up. Even a signficant renovation wouldn’t have helped. Not enough space to house larger tech-equipped classrooms as well as the clinical labs needed to train the students.

    The only building on the med campus I can think of that’s even older and still functioning in the same fashion is the original Baylor College of Medicine building. Still labs and classrooms in there, but Baylor had room to add new buildings on either side. The Dental School didn’t have that option, since MDA was closing in around it.

  • Doing a major renovation on a building that is in continuous use is difficult. It’s easier, and often cheaper, to just build a new building than it is to find a place to temporarily relocate everyone who uses the building. That’s one reason school districts will build a new building on a campus while using the old one.