This three-screen historic cinema has been the center of a media frenzy since Weingarten Realty Investors announced plans to repurpose the lot with new development. The theater is the last of the deluxe neighborhood movie theaters built by Interstate Theatre Corporation. Showcasing a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show the second Saturday of every month, the 1939 art house has been adopted by a handful of preservation organizations. Thanks to those efforts, Landmark Theatres and Weingarten claim that the River Oaks Theatre will remain open. And in the midst of an unfortunate change in architectural detail in the River Oaks Shopping Center, the River Oaks Theatre hasn't strayed from its black and white classicism.
As part of a mixed-use redevelopment scheme, Weingarten Realty Investors intended to demolish this modern Art Deco landmark. Erected in 1939, the Alabama closed in 1983 and was beautifully repurposed as The Bookstop in 1984 with the help of San Antonio architects Judith Urrutia and Billy Lawrence. To make way for beloved gourmet retailer Trader Joe's, which will open in the space by late 2012, the original slanted floor was leveled and large swaths of the theater's decorated walls were removed. The exterior will remain largely intact, but much of the interior space has lost its Art Deco charm.
Officially dubbed the Harris County Domed Stadium, the Astrodome wowed the nation as the first covered sports arena when it opened in 1965. The building's future has been suspect since it was abandoned by the Houston Astros, Oilers and Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. Developer and visionary Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz was inspired by both the work of Buckminster Fuller and by the Coliseum in Rome. Time will tell if the Eighth Wonder of the World will survive the 21st century. Repurposing as a museum, hotel or filmmaking facility are continuously a topic of conversation.
Designed by Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry, the Rice Museum builing has existed as an outpost of edgy art on the campus' periphery since 1969. Early in its history, the space hosted the famed Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age as well as an exhibit of objects selected by Warhol from the storage vaults of the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Art. While today the building houses Rice's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Michael Graves' master plan for university reveals a chasm where the structure currently sits.
You'd never guess that the metal-clad department store at Main and Wheeler streets hides an Art Deco jewel. Designed by Chicago firm Nimmons, Carr & Wright in 1939, the building was "updated" in the 1960s with aluminum siding. Sears also bricked-in the ground-floor display windows, hiding the stunning vertical lines and polished stone entrance. Interestingly, Rice University now owns the property and leases it to Sears. Plans to convert the building into a Metro transit center make for a precarious future.