Pillot Building in Houston

Photo of Pillot Building in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

Pillot Building

1012 Congress Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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What could a fast food joint possibly do to be worthy of inclusion among Houston’s greatest structures? It has to do with the nature of the city. Houston doesn’t like to preserve its historic architecture. Regal old theaters, pioneering skyscrapers, and even the Republic’s first capitol are all bulldozed to make way for new, better, taller, more posh quarters. This Burger King has moved into a building that underwent a European-class reconstruction. The building at one time was a bank, which is evident in the fact that the old vault still sits in the main dining area. It also used to be home to barber shops, bars, lawyers, real estate agents, and even a hotel over the years. By the early 1980's it was abandoned and in 1988 it collapsed. A year later the structure was re-built using as much of the original building as possible. Rather than trying to match new bricks to the old, the developers used a smooth surface to show what is old and what is new. This is most clearly illustrated on the building’s right side where the original bricks slope down to the ground and the space is filled in by new, smooth construction. Inside, the lofty ceiling and tall windows let you know this restaurant once served a different purpose. And if you’re curious, there’s a plaque to confirm your suspicions.

Quick Facts
  • Construction start: 1857
  • Construction finish: 1869
  • Renovated: 1989-1990 by Morris*Architects and H.A. Lott
  • Type: Mixed Use
    >This building partially collapsed in 1988.
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