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I like it a lot in it's simplicity and it's history. So I'll repeat my thoughts anytime someone calls it ugly.   Apart from it's height, you could teleport/swap it to the Shinjuku District i

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I was going through a downtown website and found that Wells Fargo has a observation deck

Wells Fargo Plaza

1000 Louisiana

At 71 stories, Wells Fargo Plaza is the second tallest building in Houston, and the tallest all-glass-exterior building in the Western Hemisphere. Take an elevator up to the 58th floor to get a wonderful view of Houston.

Has anyone been there?

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I was going through a downtown website and found that Wells Fargo has a observation deck

Has anyone been there?

I've been there a couple of times. It is a nice view, If the weather is clear, you'd be surprised at the view. I may be headed downtown later in the week, if i remember i'll take my camera.

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there use to be an observation deck on the top of the Exxon Building, but closed way before my time in 71 or 72. But knowing people in the Petroleum Club, you might be able to get up there. Anyhow, Mon-fri (business hours) the Chase Tower observation deck is open.

There are 2 in the Wells Fargo Plaza, one on the 59th and 58th floor, and 30 something.

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there are also some nice views from the roofs of parking garages as well as rooftops of buildings (if you know the right folks ;))

best part is, no glass when taking pictures

Yeah, once I was able to get outside on the little balcony along the point at the top of the BOA. Awesome views from outside! :D

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And restaurants with views: the 43rd (Wedge Int'l Tower) and Plaza Club (50th Floor One Shell - membership I think). Of course the Hyatt's Spindletop but hemmed in by skyscrapers.

I took my wife to Spindletop for Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. Don't worry about it being hemmed in. At night the view is really dynamic and interesting.

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I took my wife to Spindletop for Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. Don't worry about it being hemmed in. At night the view is really dynamic and interesting.

I had the opportunity a few years back to hang out on the roof of the America Tower (AG Center). The building is only 40 some odd stories, but its location outside of Downtown allowed for 360 degrees views. It was a clear day and the views were amazing. I wish I would have had a camera.

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Yes, definitely some sweet views from that building...i even like the allen parkway section down on the ground. its a nice area

I agree. The complex itself is a mix of old buildings (Wortham Tower) dating from the 60's- 80's. The Life building in the back of the back of the complex was recently renovated and looks pretty cool from the inside (as Atrium buildings go). The real problem I see with that complex is the fact that AIG owns and occupies much of the real estate. They have put in way too many security measures and made it very difficult for visitors to enter the building. For a non downtown complex I think it is a pretty darn cool.

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I have been lurking for the last few months and finally decided to introduce myself. I am a native and homesick Houstonian in the Hill Country (Kerrville).

Feel free to take a look at my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/30090334@N05/

Anyway, I will be coming home this weekend for the first time since Ike. My folks live on the west end of Galveston, so I will be helping them with some clean-up. I am also bringing my friend from California who has never been to Texas. I wanted to show her the sky lobby at Chase Tower but I am assuming it is still out of commission. Are the windows still boarded up? I haven't seen any recent pictures of "post-ike Houston." If the JPM tower is out, is the Wells Fargo observation deck open?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Welcome to HAIF. I'm sure your friend will still have fun with all the attractions around.

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I have been lurking for the last few months and finally decided to introduce myself. I am a native and homesick Houstonian in the Hill Country (Kerrville).

Feel free to take a look at my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/30090334@N05/

Anyway, I will be coming home this weekend for the first time since Ike. My folks live on the west end of Galveston, so I will be helping them with some clean-up. I am also bringing my friend from California who has never been to Texas. I wanted to show her the sky lobby at Chase Tower but I am assuming it is still out of commission. Are the windows still boarded up? I haven't seen any recent pictures of "post-ike Houston." If the JPM tower is out, is the Wells Fargo observation deck open?

Any insight would be appreciated.

I am not absolutely certain, but I doubt if sky lobby windows were blown out. (1) The vast majority of the blown -out windows were on the east side of the building, while the sky lobby windows face south-ish. (2) The vast majority of the blown out windows were below the 45th floor. The sky lobby is at what, 60?

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I have been lurking for the last few months and finally decided to introduce myself. I am a native and homesick Houstonian in the Hill Country (Kerrville).

Feel free to take a look at my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/30090334@N05/

Anyway, I will be coming home this weekend for the first time since Ike. My folks live on the west end of Galveston, so I will be helping them with some clean-up. I am also bringing my friend from California who has never been to Texas. I wanted to show her the sky lobby at Chase Tower but I am assuming it is still out of commission. Are the windows still boarded up? I haven't seen any recent pictures of "post-ike Houston." If the JPM tower is out, is the Wells Fargo observation deck open?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Welcome to HAIF. I just got back into Houston last week. This is my first week back since the Hurricane. I had to step out of the country but was able to watch the coverage on Fox and CNN. A buddy of mine works at Chase tower and said he thinks the sky lobby is open. I have tomorrow off and one of my soldiers is in town from San Antonio, I was thinking about showing him the sky lobbies and tunnels.

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I am not absolutely certain, but I doubt if sky lobby windows were blown out. (1) The vast majority of the blown -out windows were on the east side of the building, while the sky lobby windows face south-ish. (2) The vast majority of the blown out windows were below the 45th floor. The sky lobby is at what, 60?

I can see that side of the tower from my office window and the sky lobby windows appear to be undamaged. I have no idea if you can get up there though.

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Here's a picture I took of it 2 days ago. As you can see its still in pretty rough shape, and prognosis negative on getting into the Sky Lobby. Even Wells Fargo still has some boarded windows.

Wow. That's pretty telling that a month later it still looks the same. I bet the insides took a good thrashing.

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Wow. That's pretty telling that a month later it still looks the same. I bet the insides took a good thrashing.

Yes, I was downtown right after the storm before they had a police presence and there was paperwork, staplers, and yes even desks strewn all over the street in a million pieces. That's probably why the police had the street blocked off for so long, because I'm sure there were all kinds of corporate secrets laying all over the streets.

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Wow. That's pretty telling that a month later it still looks the same. I bet the insides took a good thrashing.

I was talking to the manager of one of the other skyscrapers downtown (one with relatively very few windows damaged). He said it will take a long time (many months) to get all the windows replaced. Just takes a while to get those windows and get them installed.

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  • 4 years later...

I'm sure most of you know about the tallest tower in this magnificent city, right? Well I was just wondering. Would it be a good or bad thing if the JP Morgan Chase tower was redeveloped. Similar to the 800 Bell redevelopment and the Mickey Leland Building renovation. So would it be a good thing to renovate or just remain the same?

 

 

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Absolutely not. Renovate the interior if anything, but it has a timeless look, so NO!

Remember when they were going to redo the Sears Tower to be a lighter grey? Awful! There is no reason to redo a facade to update something. I know it's not a favorite building for most people but I absolutely love it's design and I think it's a very unique building.

It's color also blends nicely in our pallot of a skyline.

Erasing history is not cool, and maybe a 100 years from now, it will be as much appreciated as it should be. I mean, this building was the first +1,000ft skyscraper outside of New York and Chicago in the entire world when it was built. And do what with it? Turn it into another blue glass boring facade?

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It has somewhat perturbed me that I.M. Pei put a hundred thousand square foot sheet-glass wall on the west facade of Texas Commerce Tower.  It appears like a move absent-minded at best, considering the glare that will blare through the floorplates of the offices inside.  

Why, too, plant the parking block on Main Street and the pedestrian plaza facing the permanently dead travertine windowlessness of Jones Hall, instead of vice versa?  Here is what I learned.

 

 

After Hines signed on to the project in 1977, he made a list of the architects he thought were most capable in the world of giving "a real gift to Houston", as the president of Texas Commerce Bank said to his friends.

 

-- in part from Texas Monthly/May 1980;  p. 117

 

 

Minoru Yamasaki (Troy, Michigan)

Romaldo Giurgola (Philadelphia)

Hermon Lloyd (Houston, Lloyd Jones Brewer & Associates)

J. V. Neuhaus III (Houston, 3D/International)

Cesar Pelli (New Haven)

I. M. Pei (New York)

"Tiny" Lawrence (Houston, CRS Group)

 

-- in part from Texas Monthly/May 1980;  p. 253-4

 

 

Property acquisition had begun ten years before with the site of the old Montgomery Ward at the corner of Travis and Capitol, and continuing across from the Rice Hotel.  Jesse Jones' Houston Endowment had built Jones Hall in 1966 to buttress the north end of the business district as development threatened to move suddenly south.

Jones' National Bank of Commerce, headquartered in the Gulf Building - which he had built - had a financial interest in remaining at the center of the exchanges of money and contact, whereas its larger rival First City National Bank had an interest in pulling the center of power away from it.  First City National kept a crucial lot tied up for years adjoining Montgomery Ward's.  I suppose that National Bank of Commerce (after a 1970 amendment to the federal acts about bank holding companies, it would gobble thirty or forty local banks into Texas Commerce Bancshares) could have built a taller tower around the holdout to get the same square footage with a Main Street address, but at the time they were focused on a shorter, full-block edifice.   By the time the invitation went out to eight architects (one named nowhere above), focus had shifted a block to the northwest, where we find the tower today.  A full block lot was available there, and some say the tunnels had shifted downtown to the west.

 

Each designer was given an honorarium whether or not they elected to present a model, and was given a month to examine the site.  Then everyone met in an auditorium at the Gulf Building for a marathon session of deliveries.  Pei "talked almost as much about Jesse Jones and Jones Hall as he did his own building... and he spoke of Jones Hall as a civic monument in almost reverential tones."  He would leave an acre of open space immediately opposite the concert hall and would "also face Pennzoil Place, at a 45 degree angle to the street grid, thereby reflecting light in a different direction from any of the other skyscrapers and providing a line-of-sight link between the Gulf Building, the monument of Jones' life, and Jones Hall, the building erected after his death.  The enormous space created by the one-acre plaza would not only avoid the canyon effect of adjacent skyscrapers but would also serve as a natural gathering place for downtown pedestrians."  The lobby would stand with the right vertical dimension to match Jones Hall's.

 

--mostly from Texas Monthly/May 1980;  p. 254-5

 

 

 

"Gently, persuasively, he asked me one day: 'What do you think are the greatest cities in the world?'  I responded, 'London, Paris, Rome . . .'  I. M. interrupted.  'Stop right there. Have you ever thought that the reason you consider them great is not because of their solids, but because of their voids? Why don't we leave a void--an open space--in this site?  Downtown Houston architecture is impressive, but it has one weakness. Most buildings are built sidewalk to sidewalk.'
 
Then he proposed, 'Let's allocate three-quarters of the block for a beautiful plaza enhanced by a major sculpture, Bartlett pear trees, fountains, and benches for people.'  And so we did." 
 
- Ben Love:  My Life in Texas Commerce (TAMU Press, 2005)  p. 211
 
I would here interject for Love and Pei to think whether the reason they consider those voids great is not after all due to edges more than their interiors, and in Houston none of the expense went to perforating or activating the edges, so it failed.
 
 
"But whether this is great art or simply a piece by a great artist, whether the plaza will become a notable void or simply a void, I think you just have to like this thing and admire the audacity of the conservative businessmen who put it there.  It is colorful, eccentric, funny[, the Miro] -- all qualities in short supply in most business districts -- and it represents the daring, playfulness, and determination to undermine self-importance that are among the most appealing characteristics of Houston.
 
In addition to all this, the sculpture shows that one of the ancient motivations for monumental art--self-commemmoration--has not entirely disappeared.  After Miro had painted the model and it was ready for viewing, Pei, Roff, Hines, Love, and their wives visited the artist at his studio in Majorca for the unveiling [of Personage and Bird].  The three amorphous shapes at the ends of the chair legs stuck to the head were painted red, blue, and yellow.  In the enthusiasm of the moment, Ben Love said, 'I want to be the red bird.'  He had been a St. Louis Cardinals fan as a boy.  Hines wanted to be the yellow bird, and Roff became the 'blue bird of happiness.'  And the correct name of the sculpture at the corner of Milam and Capitol is Personage and Birds.  Plural."
 
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To take a look into what Gensler is trying to do with this existing plaza from across Capital St. The lobby executes a couple of public design initiatives, first by opening up the streetscape into the tunnel system and by using the sunken lobby to frame a view of the Miro sculpture. It reinforces the bldg line set by the Houston Club bldg which in turn helps frame out the void carved out by plaza. This is one of main reasons folks have to excited about this project going up, it's solid interstitial design that pays complement to some very monumental yet standoffish bldgs by being their pedestrian hub. 

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  • 1 month later...

Not impressed at all. Personally, someone better than me should construct a miniature scale model of downtown or Houston within the observation view and place it in a case in the observation tower in order to have people try to place different landmark locations. Ash, birch or even Aspen hardwood floors would work better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This press release came in earlier today.  I thought the HAIFers were onto this a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't find the original thread.


HIGHEST PUBLIC SPACE IN HOUSTON GETTING A MAJOR MAKEOVER

 

post-1-0-95002000-1383888840_thumb.jpg

 

(HOUSTON) - The Houston office of Hines, the international real estate firm, along with partner and building owner, Prime Asset Management, announced today that construction has commenced on the new sky lobby design at 600 Travis (formerly JPMorgan Chase Tower) in downtown Houston.
 
Designed by Gensler, the two-story sky lobby will include: new museum-quality wood flooring instead of carpet; a new ceiling with more design and lighting features; added seating; and new video displays.  Offering the highest public view of Houston from the sky lobby's 60th floor, the observation area is currently closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in early 2014.
 
Developed by Hines in 1982, the 75-story tower is Texas' tallest office building.  Designed by I.M. Pei & Partners, 600 Travis contains 1.7 million square feet. 
 
President of Prime Asset Management Rafic A. Bizri said, "600 Travis is one of the most iconic towers in downtown.  We look forward to working with Gensler and Hines on this dynamic redesign, and know Hines will continue to provide best-in-class property management services to the tenants during this renovation."
 
600 Travis is 91 percent leased to a number of world-class companies, including: Andrews Kurth; LINN Energy; Locke Lord LLP; Winstead; Breitburn Energy; Eaton; Morgan Stanley; and JPMorgan Chase & Co; among others.
 
Rush Durkin, senior property manager, commented, "Renovating and modernizing the sky lobby will add to the appeal of the iconic tower, and provide a fresh new vantage point for existing and new tenants, as well as visitors to the building."
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