Time once again for reimagining the Astrodome

Knock yourselves out.

Alfonso Hernandez recalled growing up in a little town in Venezuela with a population of about 500,000 people, but still knowing what the Astrodome was due to seeing so many monumental moments on TV — including Nolan Ryan pitching his fifth no-hitter at the “super iconic” stadium on Sept. 26, 1981.

What a young Hernandez may not have seen coming is having a chance with other architects to re-envision the Astrodome 15 years after the former Houston Astros’ and Houston Oilers’ stadium closed.

“That’s a big piece of history,” Hernandez, who works for the global architectural design firm, Gensler, told the Houston Chronicle about the stadium on Saturday. “It’s a big deal.”

The group of architects participated in a competition held by the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers called the “Lowdown Showdown.”

Hernandez, University of Houston assistant professor Mili Kyropoulou and other architects from Houston and around the country contributed to the reimagining of the Astrodome.


The concept for which they won first place in the competition includes the Astrodome having an indoor public street with a botanical garden, 77,000- square feet for retail space, a 500-room hotel, a promenade connecting to light rail and a 68,000 square feet immersive museum that would use augmented reality to show and recreate the stadium’s 50-plus years of history.

You can see the winner and runnerup of the contest here, along with more details about their presentation. It sounds like a great idea, one of many fine ideas about What To Do With The Astrodome in the last decade or so. Until there’s a plan to pay for one of them, that’s all they are.

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7 Responses to Time once again for reimagining the Astrodome

  1. Flypusher says:

    I’d prefer to see the Dome get repurposed. Right now it’s just a money drain that’s slowly deteriorating. But better to just tear it down if you can’t agree on a second use for it.

  2. Ross says:

    I am reimagining the Dome as a pile of rubble being carried away in large trucks.

  3. They should tear it down and then use some of that land to build a mix of luxury townhomes AND low-income apartments, along with retail space for a grocery store. The profits from the luxury townhome sales could be used to help pay for the rest. Low-income residents could use the Metro bus system to work anywhere in the downtown area, providing quick access to a lot of potential employment opportunities. With the rest of the land, we could add more parking for the Reliant Center. When the extra parking is not needed, that open space could be leased out for outdoor festivals, concerts, carnivals, heritage events, holiday events, etc. That would allow the land to generate additional revenue, plus provide residents right-next-door employment opportunities.

    As far as low-income housing, I don’t know why we always build it on (or next to) toxic land in poor neighborhoods. Building it near a commercial center would provide these residents what they really need: easy access to jobs. A job lifts a person/family up and helps provide self esteem. Instead of sinking millions of dollars into the Astrodome every year, let’s spend that money on housing people and giving them good access to jobs.

  4. Frederick says:

    Mr Gorbachev…tear down this stadium!

  5. Manny says:

    I voted to tear it down.

  6. C.L. says:

    The Astrodome’s continued existence can be directly attrributed to Ed Emmett’s nocturnal emissions.

  7. J says:

    They could remove hazardous materials, dynamite the above ground structure into the pit, fill it with water and stock it with fish. Plant a bunch of trees and make it into a park. It will be important for them to look at the recently completely Avondale Promenade Park as something one should never do with park land.

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