A SHEEP IN WOLF'S CLOTHING

civic complex; Houston, TX

As a civic complex for Houston, A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing generates an ambiguously specific mass. Performatively, this mass brings together two opposing program types (bureaucratic and cultural) into a single form. The lopsided extrusion rises in the middle and flattens towards the museum district, liberating the ground and prioritizing the air to produce multiple public spaces. At the same time, this produces a robust and specific profile (public image), yet resists overt representational association.

In section, the form separates the bureaucratic and cultural programs to either end of the mass allowing them to be united by a large central atrium. Cultural programs are organized through double height volumetric spaces while the office requirements of bureaucracy are organized on stacked horizontal slabs. Civic ticket windows and cultural lobby areas share a type of indeterminacy (both require an undetermined amount of wait time followed by a scripted call to action) and are overlapped to provide moments of mixing publics.

The building is wrapped in a supergraphic pattern that reinforces the project's singularity while resisting a conventionally-scaled breakdown of the building's mass. While singular in its logic, the pattern is both totalizing and localizing.

© Could be Architecture, 2015.