Piney Point Elementary School Building

8921 Pagewood Street
  • Architect
  • Year Built
  • Building Type
  • Neighborhood
    Memorial Villages
  • Quadrant
  • Status
    Still With Us

Piney Point Elementary School was built as economical school to serve African-American students in what was then far west Houston. As such its budget was extremely low, $11 per square foot. (The budget for Phillis Wheatley Senior High School of 1953 was $12.85 per square foot, though admittedly Wheatley was much larger). It illustrated the paradoxical disparity in the Houston Independent School District, which gave its African-American students the cheapest yet best designed buildings.

The structural system made of pre-cast concrete “stick” columns and lintels with concrete block walls, aluminum framed windows and Formica clad doors was described in 1961 by the Houston Post as being a “frank exploration” of materials. As such this building was the Houston equivalent of Peter and Alison Smithson’s moralistically conceived Hunstanton Secondary School of 1954, which inaugurated the so-called “New Brutalism”.

Today Piney Point is nearly completed encased by later cancerous additions. Only small sections of the original building are still visible.