PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2023

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ALDEN B. DOW (1904-1983): In 1941, Dow was asked to design a new town for Dow Chemical's expansion to Freeport, Texas, a move to turbo-charge production of vital Allied war materials. The architect, son of Dow Chemical's founder, had apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, then won the grand prize for best residential design (his own home) at the 1937 Paris International Exposition. Backed by a mix of Federal wartime funding and private investment, in two years he had laid out the town of Lake Jackson, commissioning about 500 modern single-family homes and 200 duplexes in a garden setting on a former plantation site; many survive today, making Lake Jackson an unexpected crucible of modernism. THE DELUXE THEATER, Houston (1941, restored 2015): More than half a century ago, this Fifth Ward theater was the site of one of the first racially integrated contemporary art exhibitions in American history, sponsored by the Menil Foundation with support of community activist Mickey Leland. John de Menil enlisted New York painter Peter Bradley to curate "The De Luxe Show." Bradley selected 40 abstract works by both Black and white artists. The DeLUXE Theater — restored in 2015 by Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, City of Houston, and Texas Southern University — today hosts performances, exhibitions, and screenings. DURST-GEE HOUSE, Houston (1958, addition 1978-1981): Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff, a disciple of the American School, designed this organic modernist house in a wooded part of Houston near Memorial. The house sits in a cul- de-sac, and its circular design is keyed to the radius of the turning circle at the end of the street. Three large eye-like windows protrude on the front, and the interiors include semicircular bays throughout. One room is reminiscent of the Nautilus submarine in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The third owners, Julia and Raymond Gee, commissioned an expansion from Goff completed in 1981. E L D O R A D O B A L L R O O M , Houston (1939, restored 2023): This segregation-era landmark was the leading entertainment venue for Houston's African- American community in the mid- 20th century. The Streamline Moderne building was built and operated by Anna Dupree, along with husband Clarence Dupree. The couple commissioned Houston architect Lenard Gabert Sr. for its distinctive late-Deco-era design. Houston jazz and blues artists Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton played there, as did James Brown and B.B. King. The building was donated to Project Row Houses in 1999 and is set to reopen on March 30, following a complete rehabilitation. ELM COURT RESIDENCE, San Antonio (1996): Commissioned by Artpace founder Linda Pace, Elm Court wraps one-room deep units around a series of courtyards and interior "streets," designed to maximize wall space for its first owner's evolving art contemporary collection. Roof cupolas and high clerestory windows moderate incoming light. The house makes superb use of monumental regional material, limestone blocks, which reflect a soft light back into rooms from the courtyards. Elm Court became a calling card for San Antonio architectural firm Lake|Flato, whom Pace also tapped for Artpace (1995). FEHR & GRANGER, Austin (1946): This modernist architecture firm was formed by two Austin natives, both graduates of The UT School of Architecture. Each had gone elsewhere for graduate work: Arthur Fehr to Columbia University, the Beaux- Arts Institute of Design, and NYU, while Charles Granger interned with Richard Neutra in L.A., then studied under Eliel Saarinen at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Arguably the finest of hundreds of buildings designed by Fehr & Granger is St. Stephen's Chapel on the St. Stephen's Episcopal School campus, an example of vernacular modernism where the materials themselves are the ornament, as with the slender buttresses of rough-faced limestone that course through the interior. ST. STEPHEN'S EPISCOPAL SCHOOL F O N D R E N M A N S I O N / L A COLOMBE D'OR HOTEL, Houston (1923; restored 1979, 2021): One of the last grand homes along Montrose Boulevard, the mansion was built for Walter W. Fondren, one of the founders of Humble Oil. In 1979, Steve Zimmerman GRANT MUDFORD (Continued) 75 TEXAS DESIGN ICONS 45

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