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HEB Science Treehouse

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1997, Lake/Flato Architects and Carlos Cortés. 3801 Broadway

The building, which is much more than a tree house, is a wild and frivolous thing, obviously intended to appeal to young visitors to the Witte Memorial Museum (1926) by Ayres and Ayres. But it is also a serious piece of referential architecture with its polychromy clearly taken from the works of the city's most noted nineteenth-century architect, James Riely Gordon, and his famous courthouses. Funded by the HEB Corporation, it houses a hands-on science activities center for children and adults that rests behind the Witte Museum, named after businessman Alfred Witte, who donated most of the cost for this natural history museum. The tree house itself is of faux bois concrete construction, taking the earlier fantasies in the park to the logical conclusion of a complete tree in concrete. It was built by craftsman Carlos Cortés, Dionicio Rodríguez's great-nephew.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "HEB Science Treehouse", [San Antonio, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 181-181.

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