Three posters exploring place & myth of the Houston Astrodome.
One of graphic design’s greatest possibilities lies in articulating the storiesthat bind us together. Places are mainlines to mythologies. Graphic design can give shape to the amorphous intersection of myth and place without defining it so rigidly that mystery is lost. When done right, the mark can strengthen or even steer the mythology and the community it exists within.
Houstonians generally agree that, for better or worse, the Astrodome is a symbol of their city. It sits unused and in mild disrepair in the shadow of its younger brother, the enormous NRG Stadium, at the intersection of Kirby Drive and the 610 Freeway. Upon its completion in 1965, the Astrodome was the first domed stadium in the world, and ushered in a new era of sports and sports spectating. The Astrodome brought Astroturf, theater-style seats, luxury suits, and (most importantly) air-conditioning to the spectating experience. Its form was the manifestation of post-war American modernism and it promised the everyman unparalleled comforts and amenities.
The Astrodome did not age gracefully, especially with generally sub-par tenants in the Astros and Oilers. The Oilers hated the building so much they left town, and the Astros almost followed suit, even though their very inception had been dependent on the building they called home. The turf turned out to be less than ideal for sports and the stadium remained in perpetual dimness because of the lucite panels in the roof that had to be painted to allow for baseball to be played.
The building is forever intertwined in the mythology of Houston. It’s inception, design, history, and fate are all indicative of the city it rests within. Brash and utilitarian but strangely welcoming and undeniably charming, the Astrodome is a vessel not just for sport but for a shared identity that lies near the root of ‘Houstonian-ness’. The Astrodome also has its own internal mythology; its own giants, heroes, and tall-tales hiding between the endless rows of baseball statistics and attendance figures that make up its history.
I made these posters while working on a book about the Astrodome (still a work in progress). I consider these to be tips of the proverbial iceberg. These posters dip a toe into the mythologies of Houston, Baseball, and the Astrodome. I sold the posters as part of a successful Houston-themed Kickstarter in the summer of 2014.