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People have been complaining since the downgrade of Hotel Alessandra that we won't get an "iconic building" out of this current building cycle, but I've longed thought that this will be that building. Sure it wasn't designed by a "starchitect" but it does have visual impact and will look nice in the skyline.

Edited by Luminare
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People have been complaining since the downgrade of Hotel Alessandra that we won't get an "iconic building" out of this current building cycle, but I've longed thought that this will be that building. Sure it wasn't designed by a "starchitect" but it does have visual impact and will look nice in the skyline.

Gensler isn't a starchitect either, though I love their new Ballet Center. I completely agree. This is our iconic structure of the early 2010 boom years. And unlike the Alessandra which will be lost in the skyline anyways, hardly ever being seen except for up close, this one will have a large presence upon our city.

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People have been complaining since the downgrade of Hotel Alessandra that we won't get an "iconic building" out of this current building cycle, but I've longed thought that this will be that building. Sure it wasn't designed by a "starchitect" but it does have visual impact and will look nice in the skyline.

 

Not sure if you're referring to anything I wrote, but since I used the word "iconic" for the original HA design, I want to clarify that I was only talking about that building. I'm with you and several others that would label 609 Main as "iconic" (although I personally like the original HA design more), along with 2929 Weslayan on a different level.

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I think this is a great building, but it's not iconic. When there's a nearly identical building two blocks away that merely has some different sculpting touches, it's not iconic. The two buildings are excellent compositions in a style that hearkens back to the exhilarating, clean-cut modernism of Mies van der Rohe, but they are not iconic. They have not etched themselves into the psyche of a large portion of Houston's population.

 

Iconic buildings:

The Gulf Building

Pennzoil Place

The Transco Tower

Wells Fargo Plaza

Fountain Place in Dallas

Tower Life Building in San Antonio

 

Great buildings that aren't iconic:

NIels Esperson Buiding

Tenneco Building

One Shell Plaza

Bank of America

Enron Center South

both Hines Main St. buildings

 

In my humble opinion, the best office architecture to come out of this boom era is the Southwestern Energy headquarters. That is an inspired design, and whoever did it ought to be given an award.

 

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That's a great list, so much so that I may have to tone down my "iconic" statement about 609 Main and 2929 Weslayan to a watered down version of the term. I agree with just about everything you wrote, except I would label Bank of America as "iconic" also. I think that building says "Houston" more than any other building in this city, and that's saying something considering all the others you mentioned. HA's original design would have been iconic IMO as well...and the Memorial City tower could even be considered iconic in a "could someone please move this thing to Dallas" kind of way. Just curious, what are your thoughts on 2929 Weslayan?

Edited by por favor gracias
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That's a great list, so much so that I may have to tone down my "iconic" statement about 609 Main and 2929 Weslayan to a watered down version of the term. I agree with just about everything you wrote, except I would label Bank of America as "iconic" also. I think that building says "Houston" more than any other building in this city, and that's saying something considering all the others you mentioned. HA's original design would have been iconic IMO as well...and the Memorial City tower could even be considered iconic in a "could someone please move this thing to Dallas" kind of way. Just curious, what are your thoughts on 2929 Weslayan?

 

Well, I thought about BoA, but then I realized there would be three Philip Johnson buildings on the list. So when I thought of eliminating one, it seemed like BoA just hasn't generated quite the familiarity and instant recognition among locals as the other two. But it's an excellent building, done when PJ was at the height of his powers, and if you consider it iconic, I won't quibble.

 

I think 2929 Weslayan is going to catch a lot of eyes and liven up a prosaic section of the inner west loop, but since it's a knock-off of a building in Chicago, I wouldn't call it an architectural landmark. The new technologies in architecture over the last generation have given birth to a number of fads - distinctive, off-the-wall designs that become famous and spawn knockoffs all over the place, but eventually the fad dies down. Frank Gehry is the biggest beneficiary of this.

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That's a great list, so much so that I may have to tone down my "iconic" statement about 609 Main and 2929 Weslayan to a watered down version of the term. I agree with just about everything you wrote, except I would label Bank of America as "iconic" also. I think that building says "Houston" more than any other building in this city, and that's saying something considering all the others you mentioned. HA's original design would have been iconic IMO as well...and the Memorial City tower could even be considered iconic in a "could someone please move this thing to Dallas" kind of way. Just curious, what are your thoughts on 2929 Weslayan?

 

Google, Aqua Tower in Chicago and then compare it to 2929 Weslayan. Weslayan is a good building for Houston, but it's not exactly going to be Iconic not when it's on record with the firm saying that their building was inspired by the Aqua Tower which is more nuanced, and it pulls off the effect in a better way. This isn't anything bad against 2929 Weslayan, but a homage of a better designed building isn't exactly going to make it "iconic" just a good building.

 

@H-Town Man As to the comment about this building not being "iconic" I'm simply throwing it into the ring as something that could potentially be one if we really need to put one in that category. I think for this one we need to wait till it's finished since a building it's very rare an unbuilt building can get the title of iconic.

 

Finally.....I know that Architecture is a very subjective thing, but you seriously can't tell me with a straight face that a two 25 story something corporate building in the middle of suburbia with a metal bridge on top is "iconic" can you? I know it's hard to initiate sarcasm in text form, but I think I got a hint of it when you said it was an inspired design.

Edited by Luminare
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Finally.....I know that Architecture is a very subjective thing, but you seriously can't tell me with a straight face that a two 25 story something corporate building in the middle of suburbia with a metal bridge on top is "iconic" can you? I know it's hard to initiate sarcasm in text form, but I think I got a hint of it when you said it was an inspired design.

 

Did I say the Southwestern Energy HQ was iconic? Was it in my list of iconic buildings?

 

I simply said it was in my opinion the best office building design of the current boom era.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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I didn't even think about the Aqua Tower in Chicago "as per" my qualifications for labeling 2929 an iconic building. Maybe for Houston or some of its visitors (who don't know about the Aqua Tower) it could be, but you're both right...kinda hard to truly label 2929 as an icon when it has Aqua written all over it (although I think 2929 looks less tacky and much better overall). I have to agree that there have been no truly iconic buildings in this boom to date, but several very nice ones. I'd really like to see a few more landmark towers with pointed tops and/or antennas in Houston.

 

The Southwestern Energy HQ has been a pleasant surprise, no doubt.

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I don't think a building had to be beautiful or architecturally creative to be iconic. To me it just needs to stand out so much that I think of it first when I think of Houston.

Saying that here are my most iconic.

1. BOA

2. Penzoil

3. Gulf

4. Williams

5. Heritage

Sad to say that giant monkey wrench is sort of an icon because many who are familiar with downtown knows what you are talking about when you call it that.

Off the ones coming out right now I think only 609 and weslayan stand out. I would eliminate weslayan because you can see it from a far but it looses much of its wow from a distance. 609 to me I would have to wait and see.

From the proposals, imo, only international would be very iconic. I doubt that even a taller original HA or 609 would be as spectacular from a distance.

Does anybody else but me find chase interesting from up close. I think it's spectacular up close. I prefer Peninsula and Heritage up close too. BOA is best observed not too close not too far in my opinion. And finally, my favorite building in Texas is still esperson

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Swn energy HQ is 10 stories. I wish they were 25. I agree they are some of the nicest looking suburban offices we got in this boom.

Also agree with whoever said 2929 looked way better than the Aqua. The Aqua looks too much like a wrinkly old man.

And let's face it, the only thing "iconic" about International Tower was that strip of color changing LEDs down the west side..

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I think this is a great building, but it's not iconic. When there's a nearly identical building two blocks away that merely has some different sculpting touches, it's not iconic. The two buildings are excellent compositions in a style that hearkens back to the exhilarating, clean-cut modernism of Mies van der Rohe, but they are not iconic. They have not etched themselves into the psyche of a large portion of Houston's population.

Iconic buildings:

The Gulf Building

Pennzoil Place

The Transco Towerl

Wells Fargo Plaza

Fountain Place in Dallas

Tower Life Building in San Antonio

Great buildings that aren't iconic:

NIels Esperson Buiding

Tenneco Building

One Shell Plaza

Bank of America

Enron Center South

both Hines Main St. buildings

In my humble opinion, the best office architecture to come out of this boom era is the Southwestern Energy headquarters. That is an inspired design, and whoever did it ought to be given an award.

Hrmm... That's a good list but I'm going to have to have to disagree with you on SW Energy...

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Are those floors really short? Hobbit levels?

 

Parking levels are around 9-10 feet because they don't need the extra 2-4ft clearance for HVAC, plumbing, drop down ceiling etc.... Most people forget that the ceiling you are looking at is not the bottom of the next floor, but just the bottom of the drop down ceiling. You still have the clearance space that extends 2-4 feet to the next floor!

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  • The title was changed to 609 Main at Texas

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