Mongoose vs. Cobra

Mongoose vs. Cobra

Mongoose vs. Cobra

Part of the Neighborhood

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

By Emma Janzen
Photos by VJ Arizpe

When developing the blueprints for Houston beer hall Mongoose vs. Cobra, Infill Planning and Development 

(the design team and owners of the property) honored the wishes of the building’s former owner by working to create a functional and modern space that preserved the history of the existing structure.

“In Houston, there is no longer a stock of old buildings,” Ian Rosenberg, co-founder and owner of Infill says, “and while 1011 McGowen is not architecturally notable, we wanted to let the building--vines, rough brick and all--speak for itself and lend the gravity of its age to the space.”

With the goal of designing a bar that would evoke the feeling of a great hall without sacrificing the intimacy customers look for in a typical lounge setting, Infill took steps to make sure all design decisions were not made as “art for art’s sake,” but rather with intention and purpose.

“The material selections and finishes are intended to give the impression that the space has always been this way without blending or blurring the boundary between container and contained, old and new, past use or present,” Rosenberg says.

One of the main focal features of the space – a glass and steel façade – guides natural light into the space, highlighting features that might otherwise be overlooked. “Steel work that is both artful and industrial, original concrete floors, brick walls and beamed roof, and repurposed wood interiors are all in immediate focus thanks to the façade,” Rosenberg says. “In the evening, from the inside, the framed historic streetscape of our vintage neighbors across the street is beautiful and picturesque.”

Of all the notable elements inherent in the final design, Rosenberg says he is most proud of the way their preservation of the original building helped revitalize the neighborhood. In 2013, the firm was awarded with a Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston, which recognizes the craftsmanship involved in preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of the building.

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