Indeterminate Facade

| May 11, 2011 | 3 Comments

Let me take you back to the thrilling days of yesteryear – 1986 to be exact. At the time I lived with a guy who would, a year later, become my husband. Yeah, that didn’t work out too good. But, we were having a lot of fun – at the time.

We had season tickets to the Astros, who managed to win their division and almost made it to the World Series. We lived on the bottom floor of a duplex in Montrose (cool, arty part of town). Everyday after work, we’d indulge in, ahem, some indulgences, sit and do the crossword puzzle while watching Wheel of Fortune. We had a ‘Fat’ Mac with, I think, 1mb of RAM. Remember having to switch the disks in and out in order to ‘save’ stuff? Good times. We were 25 and enjoying life, and I bought a book.

The book was about the wacky things one can find if one travels off the beaten path. And guess what, some of those wacky things were in or near Houston. This little trip down I-45 heading south to Galveston was to be my first dip in the pool of ‘roadside attractions’.

This particular attraction was known as the ‘Indeterminate Façade’. It was the brainchild of James Wines, an architect known for environmental art and architecture. We took our cat, Rudi, along for the ride. I remember being a bit stunned that something like this was not only in Houston, but it was the façade for Best Products – a local department store. And, it was down I-45 in the land of strip shopping malls and basic, overall, environmental blandness. But, this is Texas. There are Cadillacs buried in the ground in Amarillo. I suppose it shouldn’t be all that surprising.

So, without further ado, I present to thee the Indeterminate Facade circa 1986. Follow this link to a panoramic view of the area in 2003 – it was bad before but not quite this dismal. This is a good update of what has happened to the building. The facade was eventually taken down and now it looks like any old building.

This was Rudi, the cat who ate the building. Rudi was a cat we adopted from a co-worker. Unfortunately, she met an early demise when a neighbor let out their three dogs and they killed her. White cats are hard to keep around because they’re so easily spotted. Rudi did leave behind a litter of four kittens. We ended up keeping three, the last of which, Pipi, died a few years ago at the age of 20.

Check out the cars, y’all…

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Category: Architecture, Houston, RoadsideAttraction, Texas

Comments (3)

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  1. e says:

    Wow! I love the indeterminate facade! I am astounded that it was allowed to be built in a suburban strip mall. The rubble scree totally legitimizes the whole concept!

    What a shame to see the building now. Any trace of interest has been eradicated.

  2. Deborah says:

    I’m just glad I had dinner first or else scrolling past the Popeye’s Chicken could have caused mayhem.

    What a shaem someone (or several someones) erased that creative verve.

  3. Anthony Thompson says:

    You should have included an ‘after’ pic.

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