Building Space City: How the 1970s Shaped Houston

Virtual event

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The 1970s were a transitional time for the United States as economic instability and social unrest eroded postwar confidence and cities grappled with the effects of continuing suburbanization. Architecture also changed, moving away from the crisp modernism of the 1950s and ’60s and embracing new forms, materials and construction techniques.

Few American cities reflected those changes like Houston, where the 1970s saw the urban landscape reshaped with a range of large- and small-scale projects. Explore the decade’s influence on local architecture with a panel of architects and historians during a virtual program presented by Preservation Houston in partnership with Houston Mod and Docomomo US on Tuesday evening, March 15.

Docomomo US Executive Director Liz Waytkus will begin the presentation with an overview of ’70s design and its importance nationwide, followed by looks at three significant Houston-area projects and what they can tell us about the architecture of the era. UH assistant professor Michael Kubo will discuss Houston Center (1970, William Pereira and Associates), a mega-project proposed for the east side of downtown Houston; architect Kerry Goelzer will explore Tranquillity Park (1979, Charles Tapley Associates), an example of ’70s urban park design; and architectural historian Anna Mod will examine One Moody Plaza (1972, Neuhaus & Taylor), Galveston’s premier 1970s skyscraper.

A discussion and Q&A with the panelists, moderated by Houston Mod President Steve Curry, will follow the presentation.


Tuesday, March 15, 2022
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Central Time
Free for Docomomo US, Houston Mod, Preservation Houston, and Pier & Beam members (become a Docomomo US member here)
$10 nonmembers 

This program will be presented via Zoom. Registrants will receive additional information, including a link to join the program, via e-mail.


Kerry Goelzer is founding principal of Kerry Goelzer Associates, an architecture and urban planning practice. Kerry has more than 40 years of experience designing urban parks, community centers and educational facilities and overseeing the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. She has been involved with Good Brick Award-winning projects in Houston including the redesign of Market Square Park and the restoration of the Maria Boswell Flake Home in Midtown.

Michael Kubo is assistant professor and program coordinator for Architectural History and Theory at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, University of Houston. His recent publications on the history of 20th-century architecture and urbanism include Imagining the Modern: Architecture and Urbanism of the Pittsburgh Renaissance, Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, and OfficeUS Atlas.

Anna Mod is a director of historic tax credits with Ryan. In her more than 20 years as a preservation professional, Anna has worked with developers, nonprofit and public-sector clients and has become a respected author, lecturer and spokesperson for tax incentives and midcentury architecture. She is a board member of Docomomo US and an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation; her projects have won awards from Preservation Houston, Docomomo US, the National Trust, AIA Houston and ULI. Anna’s publications include Houston: Uncommon Modern and Building Modern Houston.

Liz Waytkus is the executive director of Docomomo US, a nonprofit group dedicated to the documentation and conservation of modern buildings, sites and neighborhoods. In her 10-plus years with the organization, Liz has been responsible for the development of new programming including the annual Docomomo US National Symposium and the Modernism in America Awards. She manages advocacy efforts throughout the Docomomo US network and spearheaded efforts to save the Ambassador Grill and UN Plaza Hotel lobby. Liz received her M.S. in historic preservation from Pratt Institute and previously worked in the nonprofit cultural and educational fields for more than a decade.

This event is presented as part of the Bart Truxillo Program Series, which honors the memory of pioneer preservationist and Preservation Houston co-founder Bart Truxillo. The Truxillo Program Series is made possible by the generous contributions of Preservation Houston's members and friends. If you would like to support future programming, please consider adding a donation to your registration or becoming a PH member.

This program is made possible with funding from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the federal ARP Act.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.