Museum building to merge medicine and modern design in the museum district

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The coronavirus pandemic does not appear to have slowed construction in Houston as concrete trucks cross freeways and cranes add layers to Jengalike structures which ultimately become mid and high rise buildings.

There’s one going on on Fannin Street, next to the Mann Eye Institute, where Midtown gives way to the Museum District. Dr Mike Mann goes to work every day and watches the building – his latest project – looking out the window.

From a conference room in his medical office building, Mann talks about his dream of a three-building complex that will include a new medical office building – the 10-story Museo, which opened earlier this year and whose expected price is $ 77. millions – and, one day, a five-star hotel, then a residential skyscraper, all centered around a park-like setting.

The three-story main office of his ophthalmology practice was built in 1979 and was probably considered sleek and stylish at the time. But architecture has taken a step up in recent years, with modern design gaining ground in the residential, commercial and hotel sectors.

Marko Dasigenis, who previously worked with architect Philip Johnson in New York City and also worked in what is now the PJMD architectural firm in Houston, is the lead designer for Mann’s trio of buildings.

Mann sees Museo – and potentially the entire complex – as a magnificent new gateway to what lies beyond: the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Asia Society, the Holocaust Museum, and others. cultural sites within walking distance. Modern and newer residential buildings, the 24-story Southmore and the 8-story Mond, are also nearby.

On the surface, Museo’s architecture is strictly modern, with blue-green glass panels for the exterior and, for the interior, pure white marble slabs that Mann, Dasigenis and architectural colourist Carl Black surrendered. in Macedonia in Greece to personally select. From an environmental standpoint, the building will be LEED Class A certified.

“I love to restore vision, it’s a passion. But I’ve always had a soft spot for real estate… and I love art, ”said Mann, who began his medical practice 43 years ago. “My life has been wonderful, I can practice ophthalmology and build the practice, and now I have a place where other people can practice medicine.”

The Mann Eye Institute will occupy the 10th floor of the Museo, and the remaining space will be leased to other medical offices. Mann envisions the first floor as having a variety of uses intended to attract audiences.

Dasigenis said the beauty of designing and building a medical office building now is that they are able to adapt to the new high-tech future that lies ahead. The formula of a building of 25,000 square feet per floor and a square exterior is a thing of the past.

Although Museo was the first of Mann’s ideas to be built, Dasigenis first designed the potential residential tower and established his design vocabulary based on analytical cubism, a style with fragmented plans and squares that date back to the work. avant-garde painters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

Thus, Museo and the future hotel will share the same vocabulary and style, which Dasigenis compared to the architecture of the 1920s and 1930s, with arrows and setbacks.

Black’s contribution was coloring, emphasizing pure white marble that practically glows in the sun and slices of glass in healing tones ranging from lighter blue-green to deeper blue, a nod to the Aegean Sea and to Apollo, the god of medicine in Greek mythology. .

“Medicine has two sides. One is negative about pain and suffering, but the other is the ability to heal. Our aim is to emphasize the healing qualities of medicine through the use of the color blue, ”said Dasigenis.

Museo is slated to end in fall 2021 and Mann and his staff will move in. Some time later, its current building will be demolished to make way for the hotel. The land in front of it – currently a parking lot – is where the residential tower could be. The section of Palm Street that runs between Main and Fannin is where Mann hopes to create green space that will bring a sense of community to his master plan.

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