BAND AID: OLD BUILDING FINDS NEW LIFE
AS UH ARCHITECTURAL WORKSHOP
Onetime Marching Band Practice Site to Become Keeland Design Exploration
HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2004 – An ugly duckling on the University
of Houston campus is about to blossom into a stylish, environmentally
The Band Annex building, a hulking, unused edifice likely destined
for the wrecking ball, is instead being transformed into an innovative
new workshop space for the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
Called the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center, this
substantially refurbished facility will become not only one of the
most visually striking buildings on campus, but also the first structure
that qualifies for coveted LEED certification. (That is, Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design, the national standard for high
performance and sustainable construction from the Green Building
Keeland, for whom the building is named, was a professor of architecture
at UH who joined the faculty in 1954. Known for his irreverent spirit,
dedication to teaching and commitment to Houston, Keeland served
on the City Planning Commission for nearly 30 years. He was instrumental
in bringing world-renowned architect Philip Johnson to design the
UH College of Architecture building (completed in 1986).
A “roof raising” ceremony for this unique project
is scheduled Sept. 9.
“Having this new building will significantly extend our ability
to contribute to the UH mission, especially in the area of community
service,” said Joseph Mashburn, dean of the college. “The
generous donations and foresight of our supporters will allow us
to take Burdette's legacy into the future. With this facility we
are fulfilling our vision of this college as the design center for
Houston and beyond.”
More than half a century ago, the galvanized metal building was
constructed as a vocational facility where returning World War II
veterans could be taught auto mechanics. After that, it served as
a print shop. In more recent times, the venerable (if more than
a tad tarnished) structure has echoed with the sounds of pounding
drums and blaring brass as the school’s marching band practiced
routines inside the cavernous edifice. That vast interior –
nearly 10,000 square feet of floor space and a soaring, hangar-like
ceiling – will be little changed in its transformation to
the Design Exploration Center, a utilitarian place where students
and faculty will roll up their sleeves and do hands-on work with
tools, materials and models. However, the exterior will change considerably
as spacious banks of new windows are added, a distinctive slanted
green roof is installed and sleek external cladding is applied.
Obviously, such an impressive facility does not come cheap, but
in this particular case, it comes with some surprising economy.
If the school were faced with constructing a completely new structure
to house the Design Exploration Center, it’s estimated the
total cost would be four to five times as much. Supported in part
with a $200,000 gift from Harvey Houck, a close friend of Keeland’s,
the reconstruction project will also rely on donated labor and materials
from individuals and companies in Houston’s design and construction
(For a list of contributors to date, please see http://www.arch.uh.edu/keelandcenter/donorlist.html).
The Design Exploration Center will house three separate units:
the Design-Build Studio, the Environmental Simulation and Modeling
Lab and the Architectural and Industrial Prototyping Center.
The Design-Build Studio has been a basic part of the architecture
college’s curriculum, offering graduate students the opportunity
to team up on public construction projects, including a number of
environmentally sensitive classrooms for the Houston Independent
School District. (See http://www.arch.uh.edu/port/dBuild.html).
The program will move from its current cramped quarters in the architecture
building into a much roomier venue in the new Keeland center.
Likewise, the Environmental Simulation and Modeling Lab will be
able to significantly expand its current
efforts studying the impact that such factors as air flow, sun and
noise have on buildings and materials.
The Architectural and Industrial Prototyping Center will focus
on the college’s new Industrial Design program as well as
assist students currently working in the Sasakawa International
Center for Space Architecture
who are envisioning and exploring structures humans may use in extreme
When the project opens in January, the Design Exploration Center
will be a high-minded tribute to architectural resurrection and
a great place for students to get their hands dirty.
For more information about the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture,
visit the site http://www.arch.uh.edu/home/index.html.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.