In the wake of a recent recommendation to demolish the Astrodome and put up a 2,500-spot parking lot in its place, here's another suggestion for what to do with the aging icon: Strip it to its skeleton and make it a park.
The idea comes from Ryan Slattery, a graduate student at the University of Houston, who tackled the troubled structure's future for his School of Architecture Master's Thesis. A friend posted the basics of his plan on Reddit last week:
Underneath the steel skeleton of the Astrodome, some grass and trees can be planted that can serve three purposes. 1) During Texans season, it can be a tailgate area much like the Grove at Ole Miss 2) During the Rodeo, it can be exhibition space, or outdoor grazing land for the Livestock show part of the HLSR. 3) During the year, it's just a ton of greenspace that can be chalked off for a sports complex (Imagine having your kickball beer league underneath the old Astrodome)."
"(It's) an opportunity to take something that is not used, ignored and avoided and turn it into something that you experience," Slattery tells KHOU Ch. 11. "If you don't need it, it does not need to be there. It is never going to be a stadium again. So you don't need the seats. You need to take those seats out. Concrete on the facade? You don't need that."
We can't speak to the plausibility of implementation, but this plan seems the most versatile thus far — and the least likely to offend. Plus, the proposed bare-bones frame would lend more credence to the argument that the Astrodome is Houston's Eiffel Tower, if nothing else.
Watch KHOU's full report below: