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One Shell Plaza (and 2) now LEED Gold certified

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One Shell Plaza:


Two Shell Plaza:





(HOUSTON) – The Houston office of Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that One Shell Plaza and Two Shell Plaza have each received LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under the Existing Buildings (EB) Rating System.

Shell Plaza is a two million-square-foot, two-building Class A office property in downtown Houston that is owned, managed and was originally developed by Hines. Designed by renowned architect Bruce Graham with the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1971, the 50-story One Shell Plaza was the first major high-rise project by Hines. It was developed as the North American headquarters for the Royal Dutch Shell Company when they relocated to Houston from New York City in 1971, and led to development of another 50-story sister project in New Orleans, One Shell Square. Clad in Roman travertine marble, it remains the tallest lightweight concrete structure in the world. The 26-story Two Shell Plaza consists of office, retail and parking. Both properties were acquired by the Hines U.S. Core Office Fund in 2004.

The property was Hines’ first significant achievement in sustainability and marked the beginning of the firm’s long-time dominance in engineering excellence and energy efficiency. By raising the floor-to-floor height above market standards, Hines was able to install flexible, low-pressure ductwork that resulted in reduced operating expenses and occupancy costs, as well as greater operating efficiency for the buildings’ tenants. The property was also the first major high-rise project in Houston to install dual-pane windows, which contributed significantly to the high energy efficiency of the buildings.

One and Two Shell Plaza are ENERGY STAR® qualified and together hold a total of 15 labels. With a weighted-average rating of 90, the buildings perform 43 percent better and save $1.63 in energy costs per square foot per year when compared to the national average building. This translates to estimated greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing approximately 3,350 passenger vehicles from the road—roughly one for every building occupant.

As a testament to its design quality and operational excellence, Shell Plaza achieved LEED Gold certification with only modest upgrades, which included: the replacement and installation of low-flow restroom fixtures; the installation of energy efficient lighting with reduced mercury content; the installation of MERV-13 air filters to provide the cleanest indoor air; the use of green cleaning materials and equipment; and a comprehensive building recycling program, among other things.

Hines worked closely with Kirksey’s EcoServices group, which played an instrumental role in managing the administrative aspects of the LEED certification process.

Vice President of Strategy and Portfolio for Shell Real Estate Jerri Ballard said, “We are excited for Hines on the achievement of LEED Gold for One Shell and Two Shell Plaza. Shell has been pleased to support Hines on this journey in any way we could, and we are delighted that our companies share common goals of sustainability, energy efficiency and commitment to the U.S. Green Building Council standard.”

Executive Vice President and CEO of Hines’ Southwest Region Mark Cover said, “The tenants in Shell Plaza are progressive and committed to providing their employees with the healthiest and most productive workplace possible. In turn, our property and engineering managers must constantly ensure that tenant space meets those rising expectations.”

Shell Plaza is primarily leased to Shell, Baker Botts and Comerica Bank.

Hines has secured LEED certifications for eight Houston properties, totaling approximately eight million square feet. Globally Hines is responsible for 145 projects, representing more than 89 million square feet that have been certified, pre-certified or registered under the various LEED rating systems. Hines was a founding member of the German Sustainable Building Council, and is active in the BRE Environmental Assessment Method program in the United Kingdom and the Haute Qualité Environnementale program in France.

In 2009 Hines was recognized by the EPA, for the second time, with the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award; Hines has 138 buildings, representing approximately 77 million square feet that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. Twelve Hines development or redevelopment projects, representing more than six million square feet, have been designated as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.

Hines is a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. The firm’s historical and current portfolio of projects that are underway, completed, acquired and managed for third parties includes 1,111 properties representing more than 449 million square feet of office, residential, mixed-use, industrial, hotel, medical and sports facilities, as well as large, master-planned communities and land developments. Hines has offices in more than 100 cities in 17 countries and controls assets valued at approximately $22.9 billion. Visit www.hines.com for more information. To learn more about sustainability at Hines, visit www.hines.com/sustainability.

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Here's some more information on the One Shell Plaza (some of which may be restated) covering some of the history of the building. This reply is simply to fufil the requirements of an assignment in my History of Design course- critcisms are much appreciated! 


The One Shell Plaza is a modernist’s skyscraper completed in 1971 shortly after Houston’s construction boom.

It serves as the global headquarters for the Royal Dutch Shell oil company, and it was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) architectural firm to be used for commercial office spaces. It facilitates several other companies’ headquarters such as the law firm Baker Bots and the private Houston Club. Its interior spaces create a firm definition between public and private spaces and is clear in its partitions throughout the building’s halls. Upon its completion, One Shell Plaza was the tallest skyscraper in Houston and the tallest poured concrete building in the world, and it became recognized as an energy capital of the world with its major tenant being Royal Dutch Shell. Its height reached 715 ft. tall and with the antenna the building reached a flush 1000 ft. With the antenna atop the Plaza, radio stations were able to efficiently broadcast signals across Houston. The building cost a sum of 39 million dollars to construct and another 65 million to renovate both One and Two Shell Plaza in 1991 rather than investing in a third building. In June 16, 1994 One Shell Plaza was connected to Wells Fargo Plaza through the underground tunnel system of Houston. The modernist approach to its design (that was popular throughout the mid-1900s) gives the structure a simplified appearance with a gradual progression in the window structures. Afar the building appears white and plain; however, its exterior is encased in a white marble imported from Italy, Rome. SOM, the firm that designed the Plaza, strives for a modern international-style of design in their works and they achieve this though the Plaza’s design. SOM strove for a practical “less is more” design with the building lending the structure more allowance for the implementation of energy efficient systems. After its renovation, the One Shell Plaza became a Gold Leed certified structure through its practicality and “skin and bones” type of architecture.

With the main program of the building being a commercial office space for Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters, One Shell Plaza demands a certain level of security to its interior spaces. Its simplified form allows for basic glass partitions to separate public from private-commercial spaces. These partitions along with security were heavily enforced after the 9/11 incident in New York, for the One Shell Plaza is considered a global energy capital as the headquarters for Shell. Overall, the One Shell Plaza has broken several records in Houston and around the world in its history and is globally recognized as one of the few energy capitals of the world. 

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