1 Shell Plaza in Houston

Photo of 1 Shell Plaza in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 1 Shell Plaza in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 1 Shell Plaza in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

View at I45 and Midtown

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1 Shell Plaza

910 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown Houston 77002
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Deceptively simple in appearance, One Shell Plaza has a number of surprises upon closer examination. Outwardly, it looks like any other boring concrete block. But it is the only one in downtown Houston to sport a mast like so many skyscrapers in other cities. Its base has just a slight flare to it, spreading out like a Japanese fuji. The neighboring Two Shell Plaza appears to pay homage to this flare with the windows on its lower levels. They appear in roughly triangle patterns. But in reality, this is a structural element. Back at One Shell Plaza, looking down the sides you will notice that not all of the vertical lines are of the same width. Towards the corners some are wider for added structural strength.

Quick Facts
    >At the time of its completion, One Shell Plaza was the tallest poured concrete building in the world.
    >1991 - Shell pays a reported $65,000,000.00 to renovate One Shell Plaza and Two Shell Plaza, rather than move into a third skyscraper. The cost is more than the company paid for both buildings when they were new.
    >5 March, 1992 - An electrical fire in the basement of the building sends eight people to the hospital.
    >16 June, 1994 - One Shell Plaza is linked to Wells Fargo Plaza by an underground tunnel.
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There are two comments.

  I was fortunate to be named Job Captain for the One Shell Plaza. I was employed by Wilson Morris and Anderson, architects, who were the local architects for the Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. It was our responsibility to produce all the construction documents and I was assigned the job of overseeing all those drawings. I had up to eight architects producing all those drawings and each was assigned a different part of the building. My own assignment was what we call the core, which contained all the duct work, toilets, and elevators. Mr Hines came into the office one day hot under the collar because the elevator people wanted to add another floor to house elevator equipment! It became my job to solve the problem because Mr. Hines was not going to add another floor! And solve it I did and it remains a 50 story building! I love it and every chance I get I brag that's my building.

Ray Conley - Thursday, July 16th, 2015 @ 6:19pm  

  I worked in the building from 1976 to 1989 and got to know the building's onsite architect who told me fascinating details of its construction including its lack of pilings.During Hurricane Alicia in 1983 the 47th floor barely felt any lateral movement in the 115MPH winds. There is probably no safer building in Texas.

T. WU - Monday, February 17th, 2014 @ 9:37am  


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