The neighborhoods near Rice University have been wearing war paint for the past four years.
The ongoing battle is the real estate controversy surrounding the Ashby High Rise. The developer Buckhead Investments is proposing a 23 story mixed-use building. The proposed project will be Silver LEED certified and will include a restaurant on the first floor. Elevations can be viewed here (minus the teeth). The nearby neighborhoods are fighting the prospect of traffic congestion, loss of privacy and danger to elementary school children crossing the road. The developers are accusing the residents of trying to enforce zoning laws in a city that has no zoning laws.
There are many chapters in this story. The latest one is that the developer got a green light from the city. Another recent story is the copyright suit. Buckhead Investment Partners and EDI Architecture are being sued by Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners Architects because the proposed tower is very similar to a project called Grant Park in Minneapolis.
No matter who is right, one thing is certain. The graphic manifestation of this battle is interesting to look at. The yellow signs with the menacing building have been called the greatest feat of graphic design in Houston by one CultureMap writer. The creator of this mascot is the late Marshall Williams, a local architect and inventor. He passed away in February of 2010.
We have yet to find out how this epic battle will play out. In the meantime, the toothy Ashby building is making himself at home.