2021 Good Brick Award Winner from Preservation Houston
2020 Ron Tyler Award for Best Illustrated Book on Texas History and Culture from Texas State Historical Association
2021 Summerlee Book Prize (Nonfiction), Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast at Lamar University
2022 San Antonio Conservation Society Publication Award, San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS)
2022 Julia Ideson Award, Friends of the Texas Room, associated with the Houston Public Library
Beautifully illustrated, Improbable Metropolis is one of the few books to use architecture and urban planning to explain the growth of a major world city, and the only one of its kind on Houston or any other city in Texas.
Improbable Metropolis uses the built environment as a guide to explore the remarkable evolution that Houston has undergone from 1836 to the present. Houston’s architecture, an indicator of its culture and prosperity, has been inconsistent, often predictable, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally extraordinary. Industries from cotton, lumber, sugar, and rail and water transportation, to petroleum, healthcare, biomedical research, and aerospace have each in turn brought profit and attention to Houston. Each created an associated building boom, expanding the city’s architectural sophistication, its footprint, and its cultural breadth. Providing a template for architectural investigations of other American cities, Improbable Metropolis is an important addition to the literature on Texas history.