Houston’s Architectural Masterpiece Turned 30


Still among Houston’s major icons, STOA’s George R. Brown Convention Center turned 30 in 2017.

STOA’s Design Principal, Mario Bolullo, received lots of publicity when what became known as the GRB opened in 1987. Time magazine even profiled the cutting-edge convention center.


Bolullo still takes pride in his creation: “It’s been regarded as a landmark in Houston.”

“High-tech, streamlined, very modern,” Bolullo said in his interview with KHOU11.

The design has since been maligned by some. But Bolullo doesn’t balk at comparisons to a giant cruise ship.

“It has lasted more than many other things,” Bolullo said.

He says the facility’s real strength is its interior.

“The meat of the sandwich is inside,” Bolullo said. “So you have to go there and see how well it functions and how flexible it is.”

He gives Pablo Picasso credit for crafting a perfect response to critics.

“I don’t care whether people like what I do or don’t like what I do as long as they talk about it,” Bolullo said.

Bolullo is still very active.

In fact, he’s working on a condo/hotel project in the EaDo area just on the other side of Highway 59 from the GRB.