United States

Gragg Park

Located in a suburban neighborhood of Houston’s Greater East End, this site was the headquarters for engineers who developed manned space flight missions in the 1960s. A decade earlier, the Farnsworth & Chambers Company chose this property, then consisting of an undeveloped 46 acres, for the location of their administrative center. Designed by MacKie & Kamrath and completed in 1957, the Modernist building comprises two parallel north-south corridors and two parallel east-west corridors. The intersection of these corridors creates a central courtyard, which was designed by landscape architecture firm Eckbo, Royston & Williams in 1956 (although the plantings are no longer extant).

W.D. York and Gragg Drilling Company acquired the building as a real estate investment in 1961. The following year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) moved into the building, but relocated by 1964. The building was purchased by the City of Houston in 1976 and the surrounding five-acre parcel was donated to the Parks Board by O.L. Gragg for use as a park. In 1977, the Parks and Recreation Department relocated their offices to the historic structure. Planning for the rehabilitation of the site began in 2006 and was completed three years later, led by Harrison Kornberg Architects and landscape architecture firm Asakura Robinson. In 2012, artworks commemorating Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and American astronaut John Glenn, Jr., were installed in the park. Today, the five-acre park comprises spacious lawns, dotted with moss-draped oak, flowering crape myrtle, picnic tables, and a ball field. The Farnsworth & Chambers Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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