The most prominent building on the campus of the University of Houston is not the administration building, the library, or the football stadium. It is the four-story building designed for the College of Architecture as a Texas-scaled, postmodern homage to eighteenth-century French visionary architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. The building is a simplified and inflated version of Ledoux's House of Education for the model city of Chaux. Although overstating their case, Johnson and Burgee sought to recover a sense of place that the loose assembly of bureaucratically sized buildings built by the university in the 1970s fails to define. Their indifferent detailing of the exterior surfaces of rose-colored St. Joe brick, dark polished granite, and limestone, and the improvised design of ersatz classical elements in the central court, mean that the architecture building has much more in common with its campus neighbors of the 1970s than the postmodern rejection of late modernism was prepared to concede. Flanking the south entrance to the building is a pair of polished granite benches by Scott Burton of 1985.
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Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston
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