Last year, Boxer Property told reporters it wanted to do something “iconic” with the St. Joseph’s Professional Building along the Pierce Elevated. Well, how about this idea: bringing the 18-story Midtown office building to life by attaching 2 massive, swinging arms to its east and west sides. Boxer engaged The Art Guys (Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth) shortly after purchasing the building in September 2017 to make it happen. They worked on the project in secret, dubbing it The Walking Building. It had an estimated budget of $2.8 million.
Alas, the vision of a giant robotic pedestrian attempting to cross a busy section of I-45 into Downtown was not to be. Boxer informed The Art Guys 2 months ago that it would no longer pursue the project.
The arms would have swung back and forward roughly once a minute, making for a somewhat leisurely gait:
Framed with aluminum trusses, they’d be guided across their total 133-ft.-9-in. sweep span by a system of motorized drivers:
Toronto-based Media Resources had been designing that mechanism for the 2000 Crawford St. building, while Houston’s own National Signs was on board to fabricate the arms.
Measuring 116 ft. from the shoulder to the fingertips, each limb would have been roughly the same height as Lady Liberty:
“Giant renderings of humans is an ancient heritage,” note the Guys. (Think: Easter Island, the Colossus of Rhodes . . . the statue of Sam Houston off I-45.) All those famous figures, however, were anthropomorphic from the get-go. What would have been less precedented about The Art Guys’ project is that their humanizing touch comes in after the fact: “What was once an ordinary building,” they wrote in a brochure for the project, would have become “a fantastic and fanciful animated character.”
The building’s east and west side walls had sported illuminated steel crosses since 2009:
Other changes planned for the building included renovations to its garage podium. Details of that transformation hadn’t been fully worked out by the time Boxer nixed The Art Guys’ project, but one idea was to swap out the brick finish:
For something lighter:
- Previously on Swamplot: St. Joseph’s Fallen Multi Story Steel Crosses Now Lying in Pieces Alongside Building Lettering Next to Pierce Elevated; The Pierce Elevated’s Great Uncrossing
Photos, renderings, and video: The Art Guys. Diagram: National Signs