Re-envisioning the future of the Houston Astrodome

The Houston Astrodome is the former home to many Houston sports teams, but it’s gone unused for the past decade. Now a local architect has a plan to re-envision the future of the stadium.

TRANSCRIPT

The Houston Astrodome is the former home of many Houston sports teams, but it's gone unused for the past decade.

Now a local architect has a plan to re-envision the future of the stadium.

Here's a look.

The striking new Astrodome is the new $31 million home of the Houston Astros.

♪♪

Been around since 1965.

A dome stadium, it holds nearly 50,000 for a baseball game.

♪♪

People grew up going to ballgames there.

All kinds of events happened there.

Plastic ceiling makes it an all-weather stadium.

♪♪

When it was built, there was nothing like it.

There was nothing even close to the 643-foot span.

It was never done before.

The winner by a technical knockout and still heavyweight champion of the world, Cassius Clay!

What I think is really important about the dome is that it has these kind of individual meanings for different people.

It has to do with what went on inside, what event you saw, who you were with.

And as the Astrodome gets ready to shut its doors after 35 years of hosting Major League Baseball...

I realized this building is very important to Houston, and I started thinking about it as an architect, and, the more I looked at it, the biggest innovation in the dome is in the engineering.

So I thought, 'Well, let's remove the exterior envelope and celebrate the structure.'

But then you have this kind of problem where, 'What do you do with that?'

I've worked for a lot of architects all over the world, and the ones that I really enjoyed working for are ones who kind of look at every problem differently and come up with different solutions.

North and South boulevards are very famous for the live oak trees.

It's kind of like an unexposed structure.

And then, on top of that, it has a kind of infrastructure that lives on it, which is incredible.

It has ferns and birds and squirrels' nests, and it's just a really amazing experience just to walk under those trees and experience the shade, also, that you get from it.

It's not quite an enclosed space, and it's not quite unenclosed.

That's what the dome would become.

It's just an enormous scale.

♪♪ So that became the 'A-Dome' park.

I have a partner in this, Ben Olschner.

Architects want to make the world sort of a better place.

♪♪ This is a concept.

I'm not saying this is what's moving forward.

The dome is currently surrounded by parking.

There's 26,000 parking spaces.

And what happens is the sun shines down on that black asphalt, and the heat actually radiates off the asphalt.

Actually, the temperature rises.

There's a term for it called a 'heat island.'

So, we surround the dome with a park, almost 40 acres, so that park space would be a shaded, cooled space with water-absorbing grass surface around it.

One of the highlight features of it would be a ramp that goes all the way to the top of the dome.

So you could imagine running up there in the morning.

It would be almost a two-mile run to the top of the dome.

You could imagine walking or running up there in the morning and seeing the sun rise over the gulf.

And then the center of the dome, we call this other piece of infrastructure the 'Great Floor.'

And the Great Floor would be a place where any kind of event can happen -- a rock concert, the rodeo, anything you could imagine.

To have the dome unenclosed and to have this infrastructure in it would be really an incredibly unique feature for the city.

It would be like the Eiffel Tower of Houston.

We've had tremendous response to our project.

People feel like that would be a very attractive thing to do with the Astrodome.

You know, it's not a baseball stadium anymore.

They play downtown.

It's not a football stadium.

There's a football stadium right next to it.

So what is it?

That's the question, right?