Rice University says it will soon demolish its historic Martel Center building, founded by art patrons John and Dominique de Menil in 1969.
Demolition could start immediately after permits are approved, according to the Houston Chronicle, and the university plans to replace the structure with a lawn.
Built by architects Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry, the corrugated metal and wood building nicknamed the "Art Barn," once housed the Rice Museum. Its design was inspired by its first exhibit, "The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age," and the structure is held up by tension cables. Andy Warhol also brought his "Raid the Icebox" exhibit to the Barn, and the artist himself planted an oak tree in front of the building, which the university intends to keep. Since 1987 the building has housed continuing studies classrooms.
"This is a building that has not been as used as a space for art for more than a quarter of a century," University spokesman B.J. Almond told the Houston Chronicle. "We did an assessment of how we might be able to salvage the building and found that it's in very poor condition, and the cost to restore the structure for any possible use and maintain it is prohibitive."