Witte designs space tribute for original NASA HQ

Ron Witte of the Rice School of Architecture designed the panel, a tribute to John Glenn and America's space program, that appears with a statue of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin at Houston's Gragg Building, NASA's original headquarters in the city. The monument was dedicated this week.

Ron Witte, an associate professor of architecture at Rice University and a partner with WW Architecture, designed a stainless-steel panel etched with the image of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, in his space capsule as part of a monument at Southeast Houston’s Gragg Building, NASA’s first home in the city and now headquarters for the city’s Parks Department.

Witte, working on behalf of the Houston Arts Alliance, designed the display that stands next to a 9-foot statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space sent aloft by the Soviet Union in 1961. Rice School of Architecture graduate Joe Meppelink ’00 and Andrew Vrana, a visiting professor at the University of Houston College of Architecture, built the wall at MetaLab, their Houston firm. The monument was dedicated by Mayor Annise Parker, with the daughter and grandson of Gagarin in attendance.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.