Posted August 30, 2013

Will You Be the Person Who Saves the Astrodome?

Gathering Grounds

Astrodome Awaits Hurricane Refugees from New Orleans - August 31, 2005

What have you done for the Houston Astrodome lately? Nothing, I’ll bet. We’ve got the world’s first-ever domed stadium—billed as the 8th Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965—languishing down in Space City, purposeless after the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo moved out in 2003, “unfit for occupancy” since 2008. Now there’s talk of turning that 18-story piece of architectural history into a parking lot, and still you just sit on your couch watching Unforgettable.

The situation doesn’t have to be that way. Your time is now. As part of the Texas Society of Architects’ 2013 design expo and convention in Fort Worth, The Architect’s Newspaper and construction materials manufacturer YKK AP have launched the Reimagine The Astrodome competition, open to anyone who self-identifies as a “design professional” (you have MS Paint, you’re good) or a student. They want ideas to keep the dome alive. Already proposals for turning the venue into a luxury hotel and movie production studio having come and gone. Things are getting bleak. (One would think that an Under the Dome-themed concept would be a no-brainer. You can use that.)

You have until Sept. 17 to submit an idea for consideration by the Houston-based judges. The top five ideas will win cash, in case the preservation of a national landmark isn’t reward enough.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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