UH grad student presents master’s thesis on saving historic Astrodome

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 6:40 PM

HOUSTON—A University of Houston graduate student wrote his thesis on an idea that could satisfy both sides of the Astrodome argument. 

Architecture student Ryan Slattery’s plan promises to keep the Astrodome a landmark, but to make the precious space in Reliant Park usable at the same time.

The Dome has hosted nearly every sport you can think of over the years. It was even a last refuge for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Now the Dome is history itself, maybe even a multi-million dollar parking lot, if the latest reuse plan succeeds.

“It is an icon, and in large part, that is what I wanted to approach this as,” Slattery said.

It was only intended to be his School of Architecture Master’s Thesis but in recent days it has become a viral Internet sensation. Or maybe, Slattery says, a solution.

“(It’s) an opportunity to take something that is not used, ignored and avoided and turn it into something that you experience,” he said.

Slattery suggests going back in time to the construction of the Dome, stripping it to the skeleton.

“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,” said Slattery.

It would leave behind a sort of Effel Tower, but preserving the most important part.

“Leave what ultimately is the Dome,” he said. Which Slattery added would still be iconic, but renewed.

Think of it as a response to the latest plan that has been officially floated:  to implode the Dome and fill the pit which would create another Reliant Park lot with 2500 spaces.

That idea has put Slattery over the edge.

“If and when the Astrodome does come down you will see a grown man cry,” he said.

Seeing his idea instead, Slattery said, would likely bring tears too.

“With a project like this you go to the Texans game and you get to interact with a piece of Houston’s past that has been repurposed for Houston’s future,” he said.  

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