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Julia Ideson Building

Houston, Texas

One of Houston’s civic treasures, the 1929 Spanish Renaissance Julia Ideson Building, designed by Ralph Adams Cram as the city’s main library, is replete with polychrome painted ceilings, intricate woodwork, marble columns and lofty public spaces. In a $32 million renovation, all of these elements have been carefully restored while discreetly incorporating contemporary service and life-safety systems. A new south wing and reading garden follow Cram’s own unrealized designs. The project was the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Houston and the nonprofit Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners.