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t. joseph surjan

t. joseph surjan

Chicago, IL, US

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King of Texas ( Reimagine the Astrodome ) - 4th place

King of Texas

On Thursday night September 20, 1973, Billie Jean King rode into the Astrodome like Cleopatra on a crimson-draped litter before a crowd of 30,472, for a $100,000 winner take all tennis match against Bobby Riggs. She rode out the King of Texas.

Sports are a microcosm of society.
Three years earlier on September 23, 1970, women’s professional tennis was born in Houston when nine players, called the Original 9 and led by Billie Jean King, signed symbolic $1 contracts.

Howard Cosell wore a tuxedo to announce the ABC broadcast of “Battle of the Sexes”, live from the Astrodome on September 20, 1973. One of Cosell’s favorite sayings was, “What is popular isn’t always right, and what is right isn’t always popular”. Billie Jean King epitomized Cosell’s aphorism by demonstrating women’s equality to a worldwide television audience of approximately 90 million people in 37 countries. ( a larger audience than both the 1973 & 1974 Super Bowls. )

During the time-span of this competition, a very unique anniversary for the Astrodome (09.20.2013) passed without being adequately celebrated.
This project physically represents the 40th anniversary of September 20, 1973 as a pivotal moment in earning respect and awareness for gender equality as a universal freedom.
In other words, the most historically noteworthy event that ever took place in the Astrodome was a battle, a “Battle of the Sexes”.

Billie Jean King and the Original 9 used tennis as a platform for social change.
The Original 9 set a path for others, which can be described as celestial, therefore, the Astrodome site will now symbolically represent their return to the city of Houston.

During the same year as the “Battle of the Sexes” in the Astrodome, the U.S. Open become the first grand slam tennis event to offer equal prize money to both woman & men players.

Two counter-intuitive elements are used to Reimagine the Astrodome.
1. Tennis = Billie Jean King’s role in the “Battle of the Sexes”
2. Gender Equality = the Original 9 who signed $1 contracts

 

The “NEW” Astrodome will include the following amenities :

1. Transparent Photovoltaics
• 9 exterior barrel vaults are covered with transparent photovoltaics
which provide electrical power for elevators, lighting & HVAC systems.
• The exterior surface of the dome and it’s vertical facade
are also cover in new transparent photovoltaics.
2. Convention Hall
• The Convention Hall plus additional enclosed space under
barrel vaults creates 750,000 SQ.FT of exhibit space.
An additional 250,000 SQ.FT of covered outdoor plaza is
directly adjacent to the Convention Hall.
3. Observation Decks
• 18 Observation Decks provide views of Downtown Houston,
Convention Hall & 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” monument.
9 Elevator cores will take visitors up to
2,000 SQ.FT Observation Decks within the dome’s perimeter.
4. Facade Elements
Existing precast concrete Facade Elements are repositioned
in the Entry Courts to preserve human scale character from the “OLD” Astrodome.
5. Entry Courts
• The main entrances to the Convention Hall are on axis with Reliant Stadium,
for possible 2017 Super Bowl related activities.
• The two centralized Entry Courts could also be used for
festival activities such as the Rodeo or the Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix course.
6. Landscape Paths
Organic wayfinding paths lead visitors to and from
indoor / outdoor events at the NEW” Astrodome.

Amenities to be removed from “OLD” Astrodome :

• ALL seating
• ALL circulation ( elevators, ramps, stairs, slabs, etc. )
• ALL Exterior facade precast concrete elements
• ALL Skylight panels on the surface of dome.

 
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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Houston, Texas
My Role: designer & writer
Additional Credits: s. hjelte fumanelli - designer & digital processing

 
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