‘Where’s Our Shade?’

‘WHERE’S OUR SHADE?’ Shade, Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Gray writes, is “cheap, efficient, and delicious.” Spurning the air-conditioned tunnels on a walk Downtown, Gray stops to cool off beneath “the deep sheltered walkway in front of the Post Rice Lofts,” she writes, and starts to heat up with questions: “If Houston knew how to create such excellent, pedestrian-friendly shade in 1912, when the Rice Hotel was built, why don’t we make more shady places like that a hundred years later? Where are new buildings’ sheltered walkways, their canopies and loggias, their arcades and awnings? . . . Why do we make do with little patio umbrellas, scrawny canvas awnings over doorways, narrow overhangs that work only if you hug the building at noon?” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo: Finding Camelot

9 Comment

  • the closed down Macy’s has shaded eve. This is why the vagrants like it so much. why beg in the sun when you can lay around in the shade

  • My old office building had a large awning. Every night a very friendly, polite, homeless gentleman would set up camp under the awning and stay until we opened the next day. He never caused conflict, but I wonder if less amiable squatters are a factor in the lack of outdoor sheltered space.

  • Setback requirements. I do not think you can build an awning like the Rice Hotel anymore without giving up sq ft.

  • There are no setback requirements in downtown. You cannot intrude into the air space above the public right of way, however.

  • I think you can get a variance granted… but nobody wants to deal with that. This is something I would very much like to see become commonplace. If you have ever been to South Beach, nearly every building has a canopy cover out front for dining that extends out over the sidewalk. A lot of those are the huge cantilevered square umbrellas. I would think the wind would be similar there to downtown Houston so I can’t understand why we don’t see any of those. (they could even be closed when the business is closed to prevent people from camping under them).

  • Paging John Denver – anyone want to plant a tree?

  • I was in Singapore several times this past year, and there are awnings built on almost all the buildings. It was a great relief from the tropical heat and surprise rain showers.

  • I know of several building owners that have foregone attached awnings because it legally adds square footage to the building.

  • Sadly the only place that has been done in modern times is the rice U campus.