This is one of those buildings that trained architects love, and ordinary people scratch their heads at. To lay people it looks like a bunch of concrete slabs stacked on top of each other like a parking garage. To professionals, its brutality speaks of an internal strength matched only by its openness of form and oneness with the surrounding hostility of an urban environment. Whatever. The fact remains that this building is showing its age. It was constructed at a time when the future looked like brushed concrete cities in the sky. Not only was it considered the height of fashion, it was also the tallest building in the western United States. But love it, or hate it, those horizontal slabs serve a purpose – they keep the blazing Houston sun at bay. Similar, more elegant, versions of architectural shades have been installed at Enron Center South. They are hardly noticeable unless you stand almost underneath the building. In this structure, architectural shades are an integral part of the building. At the upper floors where there are no higher stories to provide shade, aluminum louvers keep the sun out of the two-story Petroleum Club.
There are six comments.
When I tell people who are not native that this was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when I was a kid they can't believe it.The vending machine that produced wax models was there in the mid sixties . Wonder if any of those survived?
Forrest Charnock - Saturday, December 1st, 2012 @ 2:34pm
I watched this Welton Becket and Associates of LA design being built. It is a steel frame structure which rather than welding the steel the structure was assembled with hot rivets, a process that was entertaining to watch. We were so proud to see this tower go up beating out Dallas' Southland Life Insurance tower by the same architectural firm from LA for the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
Thomas C. - Monday, May 14th, 2012 @ 11:35am
i think we have pictures of us as kids in the 60's on the observation deck. i think it had benches and cement planters of flowers.
lohad - Monday, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:03am
Well thought out design.The grid work becomes "the language" of the building and it reads very well .
Adrian - Thursday, July 17th, 2008 @ 9:54am
I rememeber the public observation deck. There used to be a vending machine on that level that produced models of the Humble Oil Building made out of wax, formed while you waited. This was in the early-1970s, I believe.
Robert Coyle - Monday, July 2nd, 2007 @ 11:11pm
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