Bold Design Intended

Submitted by Wilson Nguyen

    Many of the buildings in downtown Houston seem to blend in with one another due to the correspondence in color. There is one building that stands out from the rest, and that is the George R. Brown Convention Center; with its bold color choice, spectators may question the architects’ motives or intent of design. The convention center’s architect, Mario Bolullo grasped his inspiration for the design from the Pompidou Center in Paris, allowing them to retain similar features. Being one of the largest convention centers in the nation, its bold design gives the building the standard it needs to hold. The George R. Brown Convention Center contains many concepts such as color, high-tech, and structure that resembles post-modern and deconstructivist architecture.

    The convention’s color principles are quite abrupt, and on going traffic passing this bold building would question the intent of the design. As architect Mario Bolullo planned out, he took the concept of making various colors to each resemble a certain element into consideration. In the Pompidou Center, it contained this concept and it helped differentiate the various components of the high-tech building.  The George R. Brown Convention Center’s color choice consists of red, white and blue. Bolullo made it to where the red on the building represents utility carriers, the white represents the building’s surfaces and the blue embodies the structural support. The bold color choice resembles the theme of post-modernism in that it was used in a different way. It makes a statement and delights viewers when they pass up this building in downtown.

    High-tech architecture plays a strong role in the George R. Brown Convention Center’s design concept. According to architecture expert, Jackie Craven, “the support beams, duct work, and other functional elements are placed on the exterior of the building, where they become the focus of the attention. The interior spaces are open and adaptable for many uses”. This is true for both the Pompidou Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

 Dating back into history, the time the convention center was built, technology was prospering. The use of glass and steel on the exterior face of the convention give the building a high tech look, but also resembles deconstructivism architecture. The little details of technology contained within the building shows many deconstructivist influences.

     The exposure of structure and skin in this building is another thing that sets the George R. Brown Convention Center from all the buildings in downtown Houston. Standing out from the rest just shows how post-modern the architecture is. According to Richard Rogers from the Pompidou Centre, “all of the functional structural elements of the building were visible from the street”. Also, with its streamline appearance, it takes on deconstructivist architecture by going for something out of the norm and switching it up. Although many can say the structure brings the building design more character, the ever-growing convention center is still extending its design to further heights in the future.

    The George R. Brown Convention Center’s color choice, high tech features, and structural details all encompass what post modern and deconstructivism architecture consist of. With it’s bold design and physicality, one may question its intent, but to the architect’s desire, it is a statement piece for the city of Houston.