Farnsworth and Chambers Building

2999 South Wayside Drive
  • Architect
  • Year Built
  • Building Type
  • Neighborhood
  • Quadrant
  • Status
    Still With Us

The building was commissioned by the Farnsworth & Chambers Company, a Houston-based construction company that worked regionally in the southwest, Louisiana, and Central America, and completed in 1957. Houston architects MacKie & Kamrath, local proponents of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the building in a modernist style reminiscent of Wright`s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. The building includes steeply-slanted, rough-faced green quartzite walls and concrete vertical shapes that evoke the talud and tablero construction techniques of Mesoamerica.

Beginning in 1962, the building served as the headquarters for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The remaining Project Mercury flighs were planned by engineers and scientists housed in the building.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department purchased the building in 1976. Planning for the building rehabilitation started in 2006 and the department insisted on a sensitive rehabilitation that respected the original architectural vision, upgraded all of the systems, and introduced needed additional light to the interior to provide a state-of-the-art building that took advantage of the verdant site.

The building has received local, state and national recognition as a historic site.