Future of the Dome: Architects give KHOU 11 inside look at pitch to transform Eighth Wonder of the World

James Richards and Ben Olschner say the key to revamping the Dome is actually beneath the floor. They name it A-Dome Park.

HOUSTON — For greater than 4 many years, the Astrodome was the beating coronary heart of Houston. It was a spot to cheer on the dwelling groups or watch iconic artists. If it mattered, it occurred at the Dome. It was an engineering marvel to behold.

“It’s the 8th wonder of the world,” stated architect Ben Olschner.

But for the final 13 years, that marvel has sat silent, empty, a lonely landmark ready for its subsequent chapter.

“With this building it’s such a huge task to figure out what to do with it,” Olschner stated.

Architects James Richards and Olschner have a plan as daring as the Dome itself.

It’s referred to as A-Dome Park. Richards constructed an actual life pattern of what they need to do to the Dome. It took him six months.

“It’s right there under the skin,” Richards stated. “If you take off the skin, you get this.”

They say the Dome’s magnificence lies beneath and wish to strip the structure down to its bones forsaking solely its metal body.

(*11*) Richards stated.

Richards and Olschner need to add ascending spiral ramps round the perimeter of the Dome for folks to stroll, run or bike on.

2 miles to the very prime statement deck.

“All of a sudden this would be a mountain for Houston,” Richards stated.

The Astrodome would turn into an open-air facility surrounded by a tree-filled park. Their designs even name for a pool on the higher stage with an infinity edge and glass backside.

On floor stage, the huge grand ground might host every kind of occasions.

“If you celebrate something or make it a monument, you want it to be visited,” Olschner stated. “We wanted not a building that does something, but a building that does many things.”

It’s an formidable plan turning heads.

“This is like breaking new ground, breathing new life into the building,” Richards stated.

But taking the subsequent step will not be simple.

“It’s all about money, right?” Richards stated.

They estimate it might take a pair hundred million {dollars}. But now with the Astrodome Conservancy launching a brand new marketing campaign to hear straight from Harris County residents about the future of the Dome, these two architects say now’s there’s likelihood to get the public behind their pitch.

“The Astrodome was a community asset, now it’s a derelict building in a large parking lot, and we want to put it back in the center of the community,” Olschner stated.

The duo hopes their imaginative and prescient can give the Dome and its followers a second likelihood.

Astrodome Conservancy Executive Director Beth Wiedower Jackson despatched KHOU 11 this assertion:

“The Astrodome Conservancy is happy with the public enter that has come from our Future Dome marketing campaign. Creative concepts like the ADome Park idea are precisely the sort of enter and large pondering we’re asking for the future of the iconic Astrodome. The well being, wellness, particular occasions, and public entry focus of this concept and others is in sync with our imaginative and prescient for an inclusive, dynamic, and vibrant future for the Dome.

“However, the Astrodome was designed and constructed as a spot for Houstonians to collect, recreate, socialize, and have a good time as a neighborhood — all below one roof and shielded from our typically unforgiving coastal atmosphere.   This was and is the ingenuity of the Dome.  It can and will proceed to function a respite from the harsh situations and a vacation spot for all residents and guests to Houston and Harris County for generations to come. 

“The Astrodome is acknowledged as a culturally necessary piece of Houston’s historical past, and as such it’s protected as a State of Texas Landmark from alterations and adjustments that may impression the character of the Dome.  Stripping it down to an open-air expertise would spoil the character and its integrity.  Maintaining the unique design and intent of the structure is necessary and will probably be key to triggering reinvestment in the Astrodome.”

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