If you’re a native Houstonian, you did part of your growing up in the Astrodome. For me, I’ll always remember going with my dad and sitting in the cheap seats, Dome Dogs in hand, under the world’s largest scoreboard.
To put food on our table and treat us to those Dome Dogs from time to time, my dad replaced windows. He had a real passion for it, too. When we went to games, he would tell me about the Lucite skylight windows that gave the Dome its iconic look. The stadium originally had a grass field that was supposed to be kept alive by the windows, but they painted over them when the roof’s glare made catching fly balls impossible. The lack of sunlight after the paint job killed the grass, leading to the installation of AstroTurf- and a new era of stadium construction was born.
When I grew up, I followed Dad into the window business and started my own company. I think about the Dome’s roof from time to time, and wonder how different things would be if those skylights were made with modern materials. The low-emissivity coatings and insulated glass technology of today would have likely reduced the glare, humidity, and heat in the stadium while still letting in the light. If the Astrodome was built today, those windows would tell a very different story.
I can’t beat those memories with my dad, and when I go to games at Minute Maid Park, I can still hear his voice telling me all about those windows. I think he would get a real kick out of what they can do today.