Historic Stadium Demolished

Historic Houston stadium being demolished: A piece of Rushmore will be gone

Historic Houston stadium being demolished: A piece of Rushmore

1 Delmar Field House October 2013
Unique structural design wasn't enough to save the Delmar Fieldhouse from the wrecking ball. Photo by Julie Knutson
Rushmore the movie with kite-flying scene with Delmar Fieldhouse in background
Max Fischer flies a box kite in front of the Delmar Fieldhouse in 1998 Houston classic Rushmore. YouTube
Delmar Field House October 2013
Designed in 1958, the facility has been used by HISD primarily as a basketball arena. Photo by Julie Knutson
Delmar Field House October 2013
The building will be replaced by a new fieldhouse designed by Houston-based architecture firm PBK. Photo by Julie Knutson
Delmar Field House October 2013
The upcoming fieldhouse is expected to open in late 2016. Photo by Julie Knutson
1 Delmar Field House October 2013
Rushmore the movie with kite-flying scene with Delmar Fieldhouse in background
Delmar Field House October 2013
Delmar Field House October 2013
Delmar Field House October 2013

While preservationists rallied to save the aging Astrodome, another unique piece of Houston's architectural past sat rotting next to the Northwest Mall. And now a demolition team is busy at work.

The Delmar Fieldhouse may not be Houston's most well-known building. But as one of the few remaining structures of its kind in the nation, the oddly-shaped HISD arena has given the city some extra cultural street cred . . . in addition, of course, to the building's appearance in Wes Anderson's 1998 indie classic Rushmore.

Well, film buffs and architecture fans need to say their goodbyes quickly as crews continue to dismantle the fieldhouse, which will be replaced with a new arena by Houston-based architecture firm PBK. The new facility is expected to open in late 2016.

 Film buffs and architecture fans need to say their goodbyes quickly as crews continue to dismantle the fieldhouse. 

Designed in 1958 by Houston architect Milton McGinty — whose work includes Rice Stadium and the Masonic Temple at 4911 Montrose — the Delmar Fieldhouse employs a bit of engineering wizardry popular in the late 1950s and early '60s known as a "saddle roof." The technique uses good old fashioned calculus to create a thin structure that resembles a horse saddle.

According to HISD, McGinty's roof remains in poor condition, causing regular flooding issues in locker rooms and a sports medicine area.

“HISD desperately needs a new fieldhouse so that our students can compete with teams from across the Houston area in a setting that is safe and up to standard,” ​HISD athletics director Marmion Dambrino said in a statement. “By moving forward with the demolition now, we’ll be ensuring that we move as quickly as possible to build this new facility once the design is completed.”

During a CultureMap visit to the site, the stadium was completely closed off and surrounded by chain-link fencing.