Triton

Allen Center Redevlopment

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Triton    8798

My source has been telling me to keep this under wraps for a while but he gave me the go-ahead today...

Brookfield Office Properties is actively consulting with an architecture firm to completely renovate One Allen Center, inside and out. The start date is sometime in 2014. No renderings yet. Brookfield is doing this "to remain competitive in the CBD while new office towers are springing forward" and older ones are also considering renovations. The plan is to give it a sleek new redesign. I can't go into any further detail but my source is 100% legit. He is the person that is actively working with Brookfield, and he is also working on the JW Marriott renovations as well.  

 

 

Really hope we can get another person to confirm this as well but it is 100% happening. 

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Triton    8798

Interior improvements on the other buildings; so far, I've only heard an entirely new facade for One Allen Center. We should hear news about this in the next few weeks/months.

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tigereye    1589

I would love for 3 Allen Center to get a new facade since it has the most impact on our skyline of the Allen Center buildings. But hopefully all three Allen Center buildings & the DoubleTree get new facades that compliment each other, kind of like 4 Allen Center (1400 Smith) now compliments it's younger siblings in the Chevron complex.

Edited by tigereye
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jt16    132

Supposed to be redesigning the lobby to be more open and glass (like the redo of El Paso building is how the leasing manager described to me). I don't remember but may also be trying to redo to make the lobby street level instead of on the 2nd floor in the current layout.

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Triton    8798

I work in 1 Allen.  Will see if I can find anything out.

 

Yes please! I should be able to release the architecture firm on Monday. We'll see.

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H-Town Man    1924

I like the simple stateliness of the existing building, although I agree it's kind of meat-and-potatoes compared to the buildings around it. Is that travertine marble on the facade?

 

I hope we don't enter a trend where all the older, less-is-more buildings with stone or masonry finishes get covered up by sleek sexy glass skins in order to attract tenants. (This will probably attract the usual people who complain that I'm complaining.)

 

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Houston19514    2157

I like the simple stateliness of the existing building, although I agree it's kind of meat-and-potatoes compared to the buildings around it. Is that travertine marble on the facade?

 

I hope we don't enter a trend where all the older, less-is-more buildings with stone or masonry finishes get covered up by sleek sexy glass skins in order to attract tenants.

 

Agreed.  Let's not repeat the mistakes of earlier eras (the 1960s-70s), when it was thought that all buildings must be updated to the then-current "look".  Who wants a downtown filled with buildings of all the same style? 

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Subdude    1281

Actually Allen Center presents a nice little digest of late 20th century architecture.  One and Two are very much late 1960s precast semi-brutalist.  Three has the 1970s brown thing going, and Four (Enron-Chevron) looks 1980s enough.  I would prefer to stick with the discontinuity in style.  I said it connection with the Exxon Building:  refacing is so often a mistake in retrospect.  

 

 

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swtsig    2114

definitely do not want to see the facade of three allen redone - i think that building looks absolutely fine as is.  i agree with subdude that the discontinuity in designs is part of the charm.

 

that said these buildings aren't built to act as large, static art pieces - they are built as investment vehicles for their owners and redesigning/renovating is often necessary for them to remain competitive in the market.

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Subdude    1281

definitely do not want to see the facade of three allen redone - i think that building looks absolutely fine as is.  i agree with subdude that the discontinuity in designs is part of the charm.

 

that said these buildings aren't built to act as large, static art pieces - they are built as investment vehicles for their owners and redesigning/renovating is often necessary for them to remain competitive in the market.

 

That's true, but I think that in the long run the best bet is to renovate building innards and leave the exteriors alone.  Exterior styles change and everything is going to go through a period of looking tired and dated before starting to be seen as charming and representative of its time period.  For example, for a long time I personally thought that the GRB was hideous, but now it seems a great example of historical 1980s post-modernism.  

 

As an aside, the other great example of historical style progression at one site in Houston was IAH (until until the terminals were renovated).  A&B were great late 1960s brutalist, C had the 1970s brown thing going, D was another great example of 1980s post-modernism, and then E catches us up to the present. 

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H-Town Man    1924

I think 3 Allen Center is a fine, handsome building with good texturing. Hope it doesn't get redone. As Mies van der Rohe once said, "God is in the details." What I think he meant by that is that really careful handling of details in an otherwise minimalist building can have a greater effect than big splashy design elements. The opposite of this approach might be the Memorial Hermann building on Katy Fwy.

 

Redoing the exteriors of buildings can be like redesigning sports team uniforms - even if the initial design is only average, it will likely gain in quality in the long run. The Yankees pinstripes was a pretty average design a hundred years ago; now it's a classic.

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Montrose1100    2642

It is a shame that they are so eager to redo the facade to completely change the look. After every old building is a shining blue glass box, what will they all become next? The different colors and textures make for a more aesthetic skyline/downtown. I'm not saying One Allen Center is a masterpiece of refined architecture... But why not put all that time, money, and effort to make the interiors state of the art? End of rant. 

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LTAWACS    65

It is a shame that they are so eager to redo the facade to completely change the look. After every old building is a shining blue glass box, what will they all become next? The different colors and textures make for a more aesthetic skyline/downtown. I'm not saying One Allen Center is a masterpiece of refined architecture... But why not put all that time, money, and effort to make the interiors state of the art? End of rant.

Because they lack imagination.

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kbates2    704

So far nobody at my firm has heard anything about it, so I guess they aren't telling tenants anything yet.

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Triton    8798

They haven't told tenants anything. I guess I was actually hoping someone worked for Brookfield here. Guess not. So far, Brookfield is simply in the consultation phase with an architecture firm. But from the quotes I've heard, they realize they need to do something to their Allen complexes soon because of the newer planned office buildings and the planned renovations of several places such as Pennzoil Place and the ExxonMobil building. If they don't, they will not be as competitive anymore.

 

And to answer an earlier question, it is a local firm.. I actually gave it away with the JWMarriot renovations so if anyone wants to dig deep, they can find out who it is. 

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Subdude    1281

I like the simple stateliness of the existing building, although I agree it's kind of meat-and-potatoes compared to the buildings around it. Is that travertine marble on the facade?

 

I hope we don't enter a trend where all the older, less-is-more buildings with stone or masonry finishes get covered up by sleek sexy glass skins in order to attract tenants. (This will probably attract the usual people who complain that I'm complaining.)

 

Although I don't advocate changing the facade, it really isn't my favorite design.  It is amazing how common that basic format was used back then.

 

 

Cullen Center

335827-Large.jpg

 

West Loop

WLoopS01_small.jpg

 

Greenway Plaza

view-on-greenway-plaza.jpg

 

Plus there are plenty of near-identical ones in other cities.  I've seen one in Dallas.  It's like in the late 1960s there was some collective failure of architectural imagination.  Of course future generations will probably say the same thing about our beige fake stucco of today...

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LTAWACS    65

I think it indeed was a failure of the imagination. Just look at all the proposals from their respective eras.

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