New Houston Saudi Consulate Should Be Even Better Than This

Kirksey submitted the rendering above in a 4-firm competition to design a general office with some temporary housing for the Saudi Consulate, now occupying a suite in the 22-story Westheimer highrise shown here, which dates to 1982 and sits across the street from an IHOP. But Kirksey lost that competition — to Studio RED.


A January blog post from Studio RED says that the firm’s design was selected. But a rep there says there’s no “imagery” yet and that more details — such as, you know, where the building might eventually be or when construction might begin — are coming soon. The Saudi Consulate wasn’t available to answer these questions, either.

So: To tide you over in the meantime, here are the rest of the renderings of what might have been:

Images: Kirksey (renderings); Panoramio user StaffordAbby (Capital One Plaza)

22 Comment

  • Interesting that there is no imagery on the “winning” submission. I don’t really see the point of showing the runner up without the other teams submissions to tell you the truth. Was this purposely written for Studio Red’s marketing use?

  • I’m assuming the title of this piece wasn’t meant to bash Kirksey. As it stands now, some unfortunate editing places Kirksey’s rendering right after the words, “New Houston Saudi Consulate Should Be Better Than This”.

    This might fit in well with,

  • Only in Houston would an imageless design be chosen over other submissions that had renderings. Striking architecture and design is quite obviously of no importantance here, only cost efficiency. Your frugality is showing Houston.

  • The headline’s been modified to avoid confusion.

  • actually, the Royal Family’s bunker will be
    disguised under a parking lot at the old
    San Jacinto Stone location

  • I think the renderings are nice. I’d be surprised if there were no elevations in the bid package; they’ve probably just chosen not to release them yet.

  • I think it looks good

  • Given that this is the Saudi consulate, it seems possible that they wouldn’t release the winning renderings for security reasons – maybe they include some features the Saudis like but which they don’t want the public to know about.

  • Also, it’s pretty funny that they call the project “Confidential Consulate” and the “Saudi Arabia” is clearly visible in the front rendering.

  • Yes, mark, let’s stop all trade with people with stupid cultures. That’s the way forward!

  • I worked in the Westheimer building back in 1982 for a few years. That was during the oil crash in the’80’s. Anyway, we were evacuated on a somewhat regular basis because of bomb threats due to the consulate. That was the rumor anyway, who knows?

  • They decided on Red Studio back in January. It pops up now because Kirksey released their elevations from their bid. You might see some general elevations of the building, but my guess is that you will not see a lot of the plans because of security concerns.

  • Hey Spoonman – in the Kingdom they’ll chop your daughter’s head off in the public square if they believe she committed adultery.

    I’d say that’s a tad more than a stupid culture.

  • markd – Yes, it’s terrible, but the way cultures like that get undermined is with materialistic, libertine, American culture, and they only get that if we trade with them.

  • It would be ironically comical to run into the main lobby of the embassy and yell “Admiral Ackbar” or “Alladin Saladbar” or whatever it is they usually yell and click the pen in your hand. :)

  • I like the Kirksey proposal. Looking at it makes me really feel like I am in the Middle East. This design would fit right in.

  • I find #15 an odd assertion. We have already bought the Saudis – they have no interest in seeing hardline Islamists prevail. Whatever they do in the way of hand-chopping and motorcycle-forbidding is done cynically, for show. Or survival.
    But more generally, do you really perceive a weakening of Islam in response to Coca-Cola and porn? Where is that happening? In the so-called “Arab Spring” that saw more secular regimes in Egypt and Libya give way, respectively, to the Muslim Brotherhood and to chaotic rule by jihadist militias?
    I believed the “experts” when they assured us that Islam could not withstand the onslaught of modernity, and that what we were witnessing was its final violent gasps: a perversion, not unrelated to how what mostly remained of Christianity in the West was its dumbed-down American Protestant variety. It was not an unreasonable assumption, but I no longer think that. I don’t see a few zealots upholding a failed tradition. Faith looks stronger than ever in the Muslim world, and – crucially – its current adherents are more fundamentalist – and certainly more anti-intellectual – than its earlier practitioners ever were. Islam’s liberalizing period is in the distant past.
    Not that I dispute the power of “materialism” and “libertinism” to undermine a culture. But that culture’s probably going to be your own.

  • Sure, for a while you have a Baptists and bootleggers problem, but eventually you find on the still on the Baptist’s land and the county goes wet.

  • You should do it, commonsense, and also put it on video for us to watch.

  • Awfully big upsizing to go from a suite in a tower to a building equal in size to a general aviation hangar (based on Kirksey’s rejected design). Maybe I missed it, but where is this being built?

  • Houston doesn’t really have anything to do with this. The Saudi government wants to buy private property and build something, what is anyone going to about it? Houston isn’t suckling anything.
    As to Eddie’s comment: Really? Do you REALLY think that just because WE can’t see the renders that means the client didn’t see them? Do you really think that if it isn’t on swamplot it doesn’t exist?