Wells Fargo Bank Plaza
Houston has already established itself as an energy center, and has been struggling to establish a native banking industry. These efforts are repeatedly thwarted by the buyouts and mergers so common in that sector. Thus, we have Wells Fargo Bank Plaza, formerly the Allied Bank plaza. Locals claim that the building was designed so that its shape when seen from the air is formed from two semicircles arranged to mimic adollar sign ($). However, according to Richard Keating, this is entirely false. So the next time you see it repeated on television (*cough* KHOU *cough*), you'll know the real story.
Either way, the form has its drawbacks. Most significantly when combined with its narrow proximity to neighboring towers, Louisiana Street forms a vortex of wind, making life at street level miserable. Houston is used to harsh treatment from Mother Nature, and that's why the downtown tunnel system was created. The Wells Fargo Bank Plaza thwarts nature's wind-lashing by putting its pedestrian plazas and cafes below street level. This also provides easy access to the tunnel system, and creates a debate over exactly how tall the building really is. From street level, it is 71-stories, or 970-feet. But if most of your tenants enter through pedestrian plazas somewhat lower, does that increase the building's official height? This is only an issue because Wells Fargo Bank Plaza is the second-tallest building in the city, behind Chase Tower at 75-stories and 1,002 feet. But does the tower's essential subterranean element count towards this goal, and would it change the ranking?
>This building was designed by Richard Keating.
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