Modern in Houston



1955 Parade of Homes Keeland House
Architect: Burdette Keeland
5146 Jackwood Street

This is the sort of wonderful building that exemplifies the best of the modern architecture of the 1950s: intimate scale, exceptional detailing, innovative construction and clever planning.

It was built as a display house for the 1955 Parade of Homes, an annual production put on by the Houston Home Builders Association to showcase the `best` that local contractors had to offer to the Houston public. The 1955 Parade was undoubtedly the best from the point of architectural design. Along with Burdette Keeland, other notable modern architects like Harwood Taylor and William R. Jenkins participated. The resulting 30 houses built along Jackwood Street constitute a singular example of the potential for decent architectural design in the suburbs. Parades held before and after never quite held up to the one in Meyerland.

The Parade House was not without its problems however. It was scandalously expensive, its construction cost was never released. It was not popular with visitors, mostly young middle class couples, who were disturbed by its uncompromising design. The house sat empty for nearly a year until it first owner, a Schlumberger employee apparently convinced by the Menils to buy it, moved in. It was also rumored that the first owner was a homosexual, this caused no small amount of titillation and added to the house`s reputation as one of the exceptional buildings in Houston.

Today the house is in superb condition thanks to the conscientious efforts of its current owners.

Ben Koush

Keeland Archive at University of Houston
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