The house on the highway: Inside architect Ronnie Self's much talked-about home
It could be argued that the New York Times has a secret love affair with Houston as an urban enigma. In 1976, the publication's architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable declared Houston as "the city of the second half of the 20th century" for its free enterprise lack of zoning and car-centric culture.
It's nonexistent hierarchy, "surreal juxtapositions" and vitality as an "urban invention" have continued to draw the newspaper's attention.
The Times' latest fascination-piece arrived in this season's design issue of the T Style Magazine. Entitled "Roadside Attraction," the article spotlights the home of architect and University of Houston professor Ronnie Self. The arctic white structure is perched on the fringe of the Third Ward near where highways 59 and 288 intersect. Self designed the building, drawing on his experience as a designer in the Paris studio of Renzo Piano for 12 years before moving to Houston.
The house, which he shares with partner Bernard Bonnet (book buyer for the Museum of Finer Arts, Houston), represents a harbinger of change in the area. A statement on automobile-obsessed urban planning, neighborhood regeneration and stark aesthetics, Self's abode won the heart of Times' writer William Middleton for its dramatic skyline views and references to Galveston architecture via its stilted slab.
CultureMap took a tour with Self through the 1,600-square-foot home. Watch the footage below, along with an one-on-one interview with the architect.