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Just north of Buffalo Bayou, Spotts Park is located on the northeast corner of Waugh Drive and Memorial Drive. The park contains playground facilities and courts for basketball, tennis, and volleyball. Rare for Houston, it also has some topography, as it slopes steeply on its northern side up to a flat parcel along Willia Street.
It was here that Taft Architects completed the YWCA Masterson Branch in 1979. The building, designed in the postmodern style, received multiple design awards in the early 1980s. It was sold to the YMCA prior to being closed in 2005 and demolished in 2011. The site sat empty for nearly a decade, but this openness was temporary.
Houston Endowment purchased the site in 2019 and conducted an invited competition for the design of a new headquarters building. A team led by Kevin Daly Architects and PRODUCTORA won; construction of the resulting building began this summer, with W.S. Bellows Construction as the general contractor.
Cite 102 includes an interview with Wonne Ickx of PRODUCTORA that in part covers this project. In his conversation with Heather Rowell, he discusses the building’s relationship to the park and to canonical Houston projects. “It’s never really clear how influence works, but today I understand how much of the Menil Collection and Houston itself we pushed into the Houston Endowment project,” Ickx says. —Jack Murphy