Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing toiled in the NBA for 19 combined seasons before reaching the Finals in 1994. They were upstaged on June 17 during Game 3, however, when NBC preempted Rockets-Knicks coverage to air police chasing O.J. Simpson down a Southern California freeway. (AP; John Biever/SI)
It gave us domed, all-purpose stadiums and artificial turf and expansive scoreboards. It gave us seminal respect for women’s sports when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at tennis in 1973. It gave us the inventor of the end zone dance in 1969, Elmo Wright of the University of Houston. It gave us the first prime-time national television audience for a regular-season college basketball game, with the famed 1968 meeting between Houston and U.C.L.A.
So it was despairing to hear that the vacant Astrodome might be torn down and its site paved over as Houston prepares to host the 2017 Super Bowl.
…Demolition “would symbolize that we’ve just decided to quit,” said Ryan Slattery, whose master’s thesis in architecture at the University of Houston offers a different alternative. His plan, which has gained traction, involves a vision of green space. He would strip the Astrodome to its steel skeleton, evoking the Eiffel Tower of sport, and install a park. It could be used for football tailgating, livestock exhibitions, recreational sports.
All private proposals for the Astrodome are due by June 10 to the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, which oversees the stadium.
“Generally, we use light—we don’t really pay much attention to light itself. That’s my interest: this fascination with light and how we come to light.” —James Turrell
Seen here is the The Light Inside (1999), commissioned by and installed at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Light Inside is installed in the underground tunnel that links the museum’s Caroline Wiess Law Building with the Audrey Jones Beck Building.