February 2017 Mod of the Month

February 26, 2017
2 Waverly Court, Waverly Court, Houston, TX, 77005

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Please help us find new preservation-minded owners for this important vintage modern house located just west of the Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, about two miles southwest of downtown. Thanks to Houston MODern Market for sponsoring this FREE event.

The architect Seth Irwin “Si” Morris designed 2 Waverly Court for his family in 1951.  The Morris House is fascinating for the way it contains complex interior spaces within an unassuming architectural shell.  It has mostly solid exterior walls in a combination of brick and gray stained wood siding.  The original front entrance, which faces Bissonnet, a busy street, is a two-story brick wall broken only by the harlequin-painted front door and projecting steel canopy.  Inside, the house is organized around a series of lushly planted interior courts that were added as part of incremental expansions over the sixty-five years the Morris family lived there.  Because the courts are separated from each other by dividing walls, most of the principal rooms have their own interior vista.  The effect is one of a surprisingly expansive spatial richness which belies the house’s small size.

Morris was a partner in the prominent firm Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson. Buildings Morris was involved with include the Astrodome, Penzoil Place, One Shell Plaza, One Allen Center, 1st City National Bank Building, Electric Tower, Transco Tower, Wortham Theater Center, Central Library, Downtown Post Office,  Houston Country Club, Glassell School of Art, KPRC Studios, and Style-in-Steel Townhouses.  Morris was a 1935 graduate of Rice Institute.  His house is a City of Houston Protected Landmark.  The original set of plans will be available for study on Sunday.

Photos by Paul Hester, Text excerpts by Ben Koush

Noted architectural historian and Master Mod Stephen Fox will discuss the house and the career of S.I. Morris at 3 PM on the Morris patio. The Morris house was featured on the Contemporary Arts Association’s first ever house tour of 1952.  The tour roster included the Menil House by Philip Johnson. Only three houses of the nine featured are still in existence.