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My City Life by The Woodlands Wanderer  

Uncommon Architecture in The Woodlands

My City Life by The Woodlands Wanderer

Off the beaten path, hidden in plain sight are a few samples of unusual architecture right here in The Woodlands! One such property we were recently made aware of is the old Peace Palace tucked away in Grogan’s Mill by Timberloch Lake.

Dedicated to the art of Transcendental Meditation this intricately crafted building is right across from Glade Gallery and is designed in a style known as Maharishi Vedic Architecture. The structure is a modern interpretation of the ancient system of Vedic Architecture devised to bring peace, harmony, and success to life by aligning the living environment with nature utilizing natural building materials, great precision, and proportionality.

The all-masonry exterior façade is constructed with only two materials - natural clay brick and white marble-based cast stone. Closer observation reveals a symphony of detail with elaborate motifs in the cast stone, ornamentation of multiple level columns, each with decorative bases including lotus flowers, keystones, and Vedic patterns. The layout of the building interestingly follows the sun through the sky.

The Peace Palace was sold in 2016 to Boxer Properties and is now an office space consisting of co-working areas with dedicated desk spaces, and a variety of uniquely configured executive suites.

Juxtaposed against the ornate architecture of the Peace Palace but also designed with nature in mind, just a short distance away is the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) at the intersection of Research Forest and Gosling. HARC officially achieved Zero Energy status in November 2020 from the International Living Future Institute, which makes it the first commercial building in Texas to accomplish the feat.

Established in 1982 as a nonprofit, HARC owes its existence to George P. Mitchell, the founder of The Woodlands. In 2014, HARC's board and leadership made the decision to design and construct a building that strongly reflects its sustainability mission. The building footprint and impervious paving were minimized, bioswales were designed to retain and filter water on-site to reduce the impact to nearby waterways, and the site’s biodiversity is preserved by protecting and restoring native vegetation. The building is also oriented to maximize the daylight reaching the building’s interior spaces and rooftop solar installation.

The next time you are in the area, take a moment to visit these unique buildings and appreciate the architecture we have in our little community in the woods!

Bio –

A resident of The Woodlands and active community leader, Melissa has lived in three countries and adopted the pine tree-lined suburb of Houston as home. A born explorer, having visited over 50 countries, she is always on the quest to find new and old local hidden gems. When she isn’t out exploring, she loves spending time growing her own small business, on interior design, and supporting local nonprofits. She resides with her partner of 14 years and furry friend Uno. Find her online as The Woodlands Wanderer!

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