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Houston

Top architectural sightseeing and landmarks of Houston - ideas on city exploration routes


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The cultural capital of USA - Houston – never ceases to attract travelers by dozens of iconic architectural and cultural landmarks. Reliant Astrodome, JPMorgan Chase Tower, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and Reliant Stadium is, by far, not the complete collection of objects of interest. In this review, we will try to include descriptions of the most important architectural landmarks of Houston. We accompany them with interesting facts, colorful photographs, and 3D virtual tours. These 3D tours allow you observing the landmarks from a bird’s eye view. Simply turn on the HD video and enjoy the flight!

Reliant Astrodome, Houston

» The Reliant Astrodome is the first stadium with adjustable environmental parameters. It is also the first indoor stadium with a dome.
»  Its roof was aimed at protecting the stadium from the heat rather than the rain. However, the roof obstructed the growth of natural grass in the field, so the ground was covered with experiment nylon.
»  At the stadium, not only baseball, basketball, football, boxing competitions, but also different entertainment events, including a rodeo, are held.
»  The stadium had been built for 3 years. It was opened on 9 April 1965. The opening ceremony was visited by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
»  The roof of the stadium is constructed in such a way that balls do not target it. Its peak is at a height of 60 m.

JPMorgan Chase Tower, Houston

» The JPMorgan Chase Tower is 305 m high.
»  It is the highest building in Texas and the highest pentagonal construction in the world.
»  The skyscraper was built in Houston in 1981 and served as a commercial center.
»  There is an observation platform at the 60th level at a height of 268 m. It is open for visitors from 8 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday.
»  The JPMorgan Chase Tower is linked with the subway system of Houston.

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston

» The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart located in the center of Houston is the place of worship for many believers.
»  The magnificent cathedral seats 1 820 people. The total area of the sacred place is about 3 000 m2.
»  Together with the basilica of St. Mary Cathedral in Galveston, the religious building services over 1.2 million Catholics within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
»  Due to the growing number of worshipers and believers in Houston, the Holy See allowed the Most Reverend Wendelin J. Nold, the fifth bishop of the Galveston Diocese, to open a cathedral of convenience in the city in 1959. He chose the Church of Sacred Heart to serve as a cathedral and placed an Episcopal chair here.
»  On June 11, 1911, Bishop Gallagher laid the first cornerstone for the Cathedral of Sacred Heart. The project of the construction was presented by architect Olle Lorehn. The building was rebuilt and extended many times.
»  The church became a cathedral and was dedicated to God’s service only on April 14, 1912. It cost $96 669. When the construction was completed, the temporary church served as a school.

Reliant Stadium, Houston

» The Reliant Stadium was opened in 2002.
»  Its designers have created a complex where not only football matches, but also public events and concerts are held. This required complementary solutions to the creation of perfect acoustics.
»  The name of the stadium was bought by the Reliant Energy Company for $300 million for 32 years. In 2009, this company became a subsidiary of NRG Energy, so the stadium has gained a present name.
»  The complex can accommodate 71 000 people.
»  The main attraction of the stadium is a sliding roof that has a size of 152x117 m. Special software that lets manage the roof sliding has been developed. This process lasts 10 minutes. The roof is covered with special translucent fabrics that transmit enough light for the grass.
»  The football pitch is made of metal pallets with grass. This technology ensures a good grass surface and lets replace damaged pallets with spare ones.
»  For spectators’ convenience, there are 20 escalators and 11 lifts in the sports complex. There are also all facilities for wheelchair users. There are special sectors, so-called luxury boxes. They are situated closer to the field and give an excellent overview. They are finished with expensive materials. For spectators in luxury boxes, there are separate entrances, escalators, lobbies with pubs, restaurants, and outdoor terraces. In Houston, the epoch of top-class football games is continuing.

Alley Theatre, Houston

Location on the map:
Facts: » The Alley Theatre situated in the building of the same name is recognized as the oldest professional theatre in Texas.
»  This cultural institution is the third oldest theatrical unit in the USA.
»  The Alley Theatre was established in 1947 as a company but some sources say that it was founded on February 8, 1949. However, it was opened its doors to visitors only in 1968.
»  The grand opening of the theatre was celebrated nationwide.
»  The main old architectural construction was designed in a Brutalist style. This term comes from the word combination “raw concrete”, which is a material used during the construction.
»  Originally, the cultural building was built by the project of architect Ulrich Franzen.
»  The architectural construction is distinguished by the lack of right angles. So, construction elements have been replaced by much free space and terraces.
»  The Alley Theatre and its neighborhood are associated with the legend about the ghost of a director haunting visitors of the building. In 1982, he was murdered by a former guard at the fourth level of the building.

Bank of America Center, Houston

Location on the map:
Facts: » The Bank of America Center was previously named the RepublicBank Center, the NCNB Center and the NationsBank Center.
»  The building is an impressive skyscraper. It has 56 floors and is 240 m high.
»  The Bank of America Center started to be built in 1980. The construction was completed in October 1983.
»  The magnificent skyscraper was built by the project from Philip Johnson and his partner John Burgee.
»  The giant building is the fourth highest construction in Houston and the sixth highest in Texas.
»  The total area of the Bank of America Center is about 116 000 m2. Much space is allocated for offices.
»  The spectacular building belongs to M-M Properties and the General Electric Pension Trust affiliate.
»  With its exterior, the Bank of America Center resembles buildings built in a Dutch Gothic style and located on the water channel in the Netherlands. The skyscraper has a very interesting design. The building is visually divided into three parts, each of which is higher than the previous one.
»  There are 32 lifts in the Houston skyscraper.

Wortham Theater Center, Houston

Location on the map:
Facts: » The Wortham Theater Center is a performing arts center. It is located in the cultural center of Houston.
»  The project of this unique construction was offered by famous architect Eugene Aubry. The construction cost $66 million.
»  The center was officially opened on May 9, 1987. The opening ceremony was attended by world-famous dance groups that had their best shows here.
»  The theatre building is built in a modern style. The building entrance is decorated with a huge arch. There are small round windows.
»  Outer walls of the construction are chocolate. Due to dark horizontal stripes, the exterior of the building looks quite modest. In the big hall, there are a lot of mirrors.
»  Today, the Wortham Theater Center is one of the most well-equipped constructions in Houston. Popular pop bands, ballet and dance groups make concerts here. Different entertainment shows are held here too.
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