The Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace stands out in west Houston suburb as a puzzling peculiarity.
The suburbs are known for many things: chain restaurants, strip malls, cookie-cutter homes, tumultuous HOAs — as mixed-residential counties devoid of personality and/or culture. While there’s no shortage of churches in Dairy Ashford, what you might not expect to find is an abandoned Taoist palace. [Featured photo: @carrcormier]
The impressive exterior of this austere five-story sanctuary is a geometrical work of symmetry. It features two opposing, diagonal staircases, a giant rectangular front entrance, twin prismatic pillars, and a herculean geodesic orb on top. Inside is over 40,000 square feet of who-knows-what.
The abandoned Taoist palace, otherwise known as the Palace of the Golden Orbs, was never fully realized. It was to be the centerpiece among a complex of buildings, retail centers, and living facilities. In 2008, the $6-million-dollar project was arrested in development after Kwai Fun Wong, the Taoist leader and visionary behind the project, was deported after failing to establish permanent US residence.
To this day the Palace of the Golden Orbs in Ashford emerges as an aberration in what would otherwise be typical suburbia.