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Exxon Building, 800 Bell St.

Exxon Building, Love it or hate it?  

114 members have voted

  1. 1. Exxon Building, Love it or hate it?

    • Love it!
      86
    • Hate it!
      28


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You need a "neither" option. I'm writing in "neither". I don't care for it, but it does contribute to the depth of our skyline.

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You need a "neither" option. I'm writing in "neither". I don't care for it, but it does contribute to the depth of our skyline.

I considered "neither / other" as an option, but decided to force the vote one way or the other.

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I can't vote either. I can't imagine anyone 'loving' this building. And why would anyone hate it - it pulls it's weight in DT. There are prettier and uglier buildings in this city. This one is somewhere in the middle - probably just below the 50% mark. But that's not enough to say I hate it. It just needs a shampoo or something.

However, I would give this building a few extra points simply because of its mid century moderness. I'm a big fan of that style, but it's just kind of hard to pull off in anything over about 7 floors unless you are the Seattle Space Needle.

If you add an "it isn't hurting anyone" button, then I can play this game too.

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If you add an "it isn't hurting anyone" button, then I can play this game too.

Not happening, but I value your comments.

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the monotony of buildings with glass facades is too commonplace. the protruding ledges make it more unique.

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I wouldn't go so far as to say I love it, but it isn't bad either. I do like the MCM look, and the ledges make a lot of sense in our climate. Several of the skyscrapers built around the time incorporated devices to shade the exterior: First City, Exxon, Wortham Building, Fannin Bank, Tenneco, etc. That is something I would like to see more of now.

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I voted Hate It, because I do. I think it's just awful. It's like a parking garage for people. Or a concrete prison.

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I voted Hate It, because I do. I think it's just awful. It's like a parking garage for people. Or a concrete prison.

if the exxon building is a concrete prison what do you think of the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Building?

park003.jpg

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None of the above

if the exxon building is a concrete prison what do you think of the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Building?

I don't think about it.

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I voted Hate It, because I do. I think it's just awful. It's like a parking garage for people. Or a concrete prison.

dynomite.jpg

Oh no!!! It's the 60's!

Even after recent outer renovations it still looks dated. Its 1966 all over again and thats serious coming from a major fan of the 60's. I'm with JJ above!

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:wacko:

The exterior wasn't renovated. It looks like early 1960s because that is when it was built.

About 4 years ago our bus (Monroe 244) always passed by and the scaffolding was up. There were some outside touches or repairs being done for the longest time. I recall other riders griping about how long it was taking. Godzilla needs to just pound on it a bit. :P or they could film that new 60's TV show everyone discussed the other day.

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I think it is cool because it sort of looks like a stack of crackers. I can't think of another building like it.

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dynomite.jpg

Oh no!!! It's the 60's!

Even after recent outer renovations it still looks dated. Its 1966 all over again and thats serious coming from a major fan of the 60's. I'm with JJ above!

That explains why you posted a pic from a series that premiered in 1974.

Me, I love "The Radiator". It completely catches the look of 1960s architecture. And the petroleum club at the top has some hilariously dated interior design, as well. You can picture the slick haired and buzz cutted executives from the 60s talking abou the "oil bidness" just from looking at it.

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isn't there an exterior renovation going on now?

i think the building has potential. currently, it looks dingy and dark. it needs to be brightened up. the concrete needs to be cleaned or painted and the glass panels should be replaced. additionally, it could have soft, ambient light on the exterior, illuminating the dark spaces between each level. the crown needs work as well.

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I've never seen it without those grey tarps covering windows. I said I hate it, but I may reconsider if I have a chance to see it when the renovations are done. The ledge things may be practical as sun shades, btu it makes the building look almost like scaffolding, like an unfinished structure or something.

Edited by Jax

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i truly believe that building is the ugliest in downtown. i really wish they would remodel that thing. and when it rains, it looks twice as bad which is extremly bad.

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That explains why you posted a pic from a series that premiered in 1974.

Red, I am unsure as to why you always seem to over - analyze everyones replies. That silly pic (of JJ) had nothing to do with my reply. I was being a bit silly by tossing in JJ's old hilarious line of Dynomite! Thats all. Older haif members and I were around when those shows premiered and are perfectly aware of the dates, etc. I try not to read too much into replies or I would be a basket case. Your a good guy I know it. We just misinterpret sometimes. If we could send haifers a brewskie through this forum I would.(and charge it to Haif) :lol:

The old bldg strikes many long time Houstonians as an eyesore mostly because we have seen it there since 1966 or what ever date it was completed. Just as if we had an old couch and it just irks you because its outdated and is embarassing for visitors to see. The bldg has been undergoing renovations since the end of time and someone above clearly mentioned the gray draped covers. Its like an old shower that is just needing to be put out of its misery. I see it as a giant avocado green frig in a 1965 Frigidaire commercial :lol:

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I love the Modern lobby, with terrazo floors and barcelona chairs.

check it out,

dream

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Wasn't the Petroleum Club at the top? What occupies those floors today?

It's still on top. in fact, they have gone out of their way to make it accessible by offering valet parking up front

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what is that "tarp" or mosquito-net-looking stuff covering a lot of the building? that's the ugly part, and its been there for several years. i thought it was an abandoned building or something by the way it looks.

the architecture is nice, but it just looks in disrepair.

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Guest Marty

I love that building because it looks tough and strong.

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what is that "tarp" or mosquito-net-looking stuff covering a lot of the building? that's the ugly part, and its been there for several years. i thought it was an abandoned building or something by the way it looks.

the architecture is nice, but it just looks in disrepair.

That's what I been talking about y'all.

Now, Let's flip a coin to see who lights the fuse. :ph34r: Light it up like a 4th of July roman candle! :lol:

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what is that "tarp" or mosquito-net-looking stuff covering a lot of the building? that's the ugly part, and its been there for several years. i thought it was an abandoned building or something by the way it looks.

the architecture is nice, but it just looks in disrepair.

The tarp, canvas, or whatever the material is, is used to cover portions of the building as exterior renovations are being done.

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I don't mind them covering it with a tarp during renovations but damn, those renovations are taking a long time. There has been a tarp on the building since I have lived in Houston (a year and 2 months). That seems like a long time to me.

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Exxon building, love it or hate it? Why?

ExxonMobil-001.jpg

(Image courtesy of artefaqs.com)

First, how come these kinds of polls never have more choices...?

Secondly, while it is not a modern marvel like some of the newer (80s) buildings, it has a certain style. I shot a birthday party up at the top a couple of years ago and it was pretty nice.

the monotony of buildings with glass facades is too commonplace. the protruding ledges make it more unique.

Yeah, it's certainly not the worst architecture in the city by a long shot.

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First, how come these kinds of polls never have more choices...?

It was intentional. The idea is to force a choice one way or the other.

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It's still on top. in fact, they have gone out of their way to make it accessible by offering valet parking up front

My wife and I had our rehersal dinner at the Petroleum Club (back in '95). While it is somewhat dated, it's still a beautiful place with some of the best views of Houston. Because of this personal connection with the building - I voted 'Love it'. :)

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"Love it" is kind of strong, but I certainly don't hate it. By virtue of its being here so long I think you can call it a landmark, plus it's got the Petroleum Club, which has a lot of history.

Architecturally, I find it an interesting example of early-mid 60s modern style. The cantilever sunshades, which are the distinctive feature that is hated by so many, make a lot of sense in keeping the building cool in the Houston summer, especially 3 decades before the advent of green glass. I say it is better to have it than another anonymous glass box.

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I'm voting that I love it. Of course, I'm biased due to family attachment. My Grandfather worked for the Humble Oil Co from 1927 until his death in 1972. Most of that time was in Longview, TX. In 1960, he relocated to Houston at the same time they constructed their new HQ. These are photos that my Grandfather and my Dad (his son) took during that time:

Photos of the Humble Bldg Constuction

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yes, great pictures. fun for us middle age guys too.

i'll repeat my earlier opinion: "i think the building has potential. currently, it looks dingy and dark. it needs to be brightened up. the concrete needs to be cleaned or painted and the glass panels should be replaced. additionally, it could have soft, ambient light on the exterior, illuminating the dark spaces between each level. the crown needs work as well."

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Yeah Josh, thanks for those pictures. My mother worked for Humble Oil in the late 30's up until around 1943 when she took a wartime job at Shell Oil in Deer Park. She wanted to go back to Humble Oil after the war but was not allowed to. It seems the returning GI's were given priority. Women were encouraged to stay home.

I remember going to a wedding reception in the Petroleum Club in the late 70's. Real snazzy place.

The Humble Building, along with the Tennesse Gas Building were built like forts, including fall out shelters in the basements.

The floors were engineered with conduit banks inbedded in the floors for electrical service. This type of construction allowed for unobstructed workplace layouts without any service drops or stub walls to block views. Marvels in their days.

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I vote that they should tear it down but only so that Exxon, one of the largest companies in the freaking world, can build a replacement tower to properly represent itself in our skyline. Come on Exxon, have some panache with all that cash we're giving you.

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Eh, tell it to Maxwell House in the East End or Anheuser-Busch on whatever freeway they occupy. Imagine what people would do if coffee and beer were even single-digit dollars a gallon. They'd think they'd died and gone to heaven; and about the closest those chemicals come to having to be leased, found, captured, dragged around half the equator and subjected to arcane processes is the point when the fancy bars whip out a scale to measure the pressure on the coffee grounds.

Look at it this way instead: Because the skyscraper is not just an American but a Northern invention, not only were the early skyscrapers in New York and Chicago, but all of the subsequent generation of skyscrapers were either happening in Buffalo, Cincinnatti, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Seattle and San Francisco, or were mimics of theirs. By mimics I mean that even when high-rise construction did creep beyond those cities in the course of the early century, Dallas in particular, but also Houston to a strong degree, took their architectural design cues from the classicism of New York or the blockiness of Chicago style.

As far as cues go, not only were Southern skylines content to model their local pride directly upon Northern gigantism - a difference from the usual Southern way, which has been to do things more personally, to do things small and well - they also were not bothering, as they borrowed, to significantly improve the building type from what had been set in much dimmer and colder surroundings. Fastforward across the world war transformations in production now. By the turn of the 1960s, when Exxon set up its building plans, there were only two major - even 500' - buildings in use in the entire subtropical and tropical zones of the globe. Mexico City's Torre Latinoamericana (1956) and Sao Paulo's Pal

Edited by strickn
  • Like 5

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What do you think?

I think that is the greatest finger in the eye to the noveau amatuer architects on this forum ever.

  • Like 1

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I voted "Love it" and I still think it's ugly. C'mon it's a classic!

My mother used to work in a building on Kirby with similar "sun shades" on it, and groing up I thought this was just how skyscrapers were supposed to look.

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I voted 'hate it' because it's a boring old ugly building. Someone said it looks like a stack of crackers and it does from a distance. I'm glad they finally removed the 'mosquito netting'!! Someone told me that was for asbestos abatement, but don't know if that's true. :wub:

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I voted 'hate it' because it's a boring old ugly building. Someone said it looks like a stack of crackers and it does from a distance. I'm glad they finally removed the 'mosquito netting'!! Someone told me that was for asbestos abatement, but don't know if that's true. :wub:

Nah, if it were for asbestos abatement they would have to gut the entire interior and clean it out.

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The work on the ExxonMobil building was to replace most of the facade. The original facade was detaching from the building.

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I work in that building and at first I thought it was ugly, but if you really take a look at the design and the materials, it is a really high end building with a lot of thought put into the materials and workmanship. The interior finishes are beautiful--matched pieces of limestone on the walls, granite all over the lobby, including the exterior plaza, beautiful gardens with japanese maples and azaleas. Most of the office interior walls are made of metal and they provide you with magnetic hooks to hang pictures, coats, etc. No holes in the office walls. It's a classic.

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I work in that building and at first I thought it was ugly, but if you really take a look at the design and the materials, it is a really high end building with a lot of thought put into the materials and workmanship. The interior finishes are beautiful--matched pieces of limestone on the walls, granite all over the lobby, including the exterior plaza, beautiful gardens with japanese maples and azaleas. Most of the office interior walls are made of metal and they provide you with magnetic hooks to hang pictures, coats, etc. No holes in the office walls. It's a classic.

It's not bad. I've certainly see worse (like that monstrous desert cactus looking building across the street from it).

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I voted love it. It brings back fun memories of going to the top and having one of those plastic molds of the building made. In high school my friends and I would go up to the top at night time and oooh and aaah over the view. It will always be the Humble building to me.

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I made a lot of money in that building so it's hard to see it in any other light than beautiful! :D

Humble Oil (Exxon/Mobil) Building

Welton Beckett and Associates (1963)

800 Bell Ave

The 600ft tall, 44-story Humble Oil Building (now Exxon/Mobil) is one of Houston

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