Pennzoil Place,  Houston, Texas

This headquarters built for Pennzoil and the Zapata Oil Company exhibits a striking design that marked a turning point in the evolution of the office tower as a building type. In lieu of the predictable glass box, two towers in the shape of trapezoids mirror each other and sit next to one another by a mere 10 feet.. The tops of the buildings are not cut off in the usual fashion, flat against the sky, but rather silhouette a strong diagonal massing. Clad in a curtain wall of bronze colored glass and anodized bronze aluminum, Pennzoil Place is a striking contrast to Houston’s skyline.

The two identical towers that make up Pennzoil Place rise 495 feet and have 34 levels each. Pennzoil Place contains a total gross area of 1.7 million square feet, of which 1.2 million square feet is rentable office space and commercial space. Each typical floor contains 20,500 square feet.

The street level area between the two towers is enclosed within a sloping glass roof creating a space that rises approximately 117 feet or eight stories to its apex. Principal entrances into the complex are through these glass courtyards. There are approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space in this project. At the Mall level, a shopping area provides a variety of shops and services. Space is also allocated for a restaurant to serve the occupants of Pennzoil Place during the day and theater-goers at nearby theaters during the evening.

Pennzoil Place was an early project done for Hines. It was the beginning of a very long professional relationship that produced more than a dozen signature projects for this Houston-based developer.

Client: Gerald D. Hines Interests
Completion Date: 1976
Area: 1,500,000 square feet


Post Oak Central I, II, III, Houston, Texas

On the exterior, these svelte towers are ringed in charcoal and silver, arranged in an intricately interlocking pattern of ribbons, dressed with the metallic sea green reflections of the Texas sky. Surrounding the base ois a single thickness of textured gray slate as plinth. Grey slate also paves the approaches, and the sumptuous materials and restrained palette continue on the inside. The lobby is floored in slate, lined in light gray marble, and the ceiling is finished in tiny gray tiles.

Altogether there are three towers, a retail building and a garage on a 17 acre site near major highways. The arrangement of the complex is geared to automobile-dominated Houston.

ernst & young (07)

Ernst & Young, Rotterdam, Holland

This office tower occupies a narrow site between the Rhine and one of Rotterdam’s many canals. While the building takes its design cues from local buildings and conditions, the principle gesture is the rotation of the body of the tower to allow optimum river views and sunlight in the office spaces. The rotation also serves to give prominence the historic landmark building adjacent to the new tower, and also provides views and a visual connection to the city center. The building is fully occupied by the financial company Ernst & Young and is their Holland headquarters.



101 California Street


IBM Atlantic Tower


Chicago Post Office Development (in progress), Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Post Office Development is the renovation of Chicago’s old main post office building. The 3.5 million square foot existing building is located at the southern edge of “the loop” one block south of Union Station. On the ground floor, the site is divided in half by the Congress Parkway which brings thousands of commuters into the loop each day. The client owns two adjacent properties between the existing Post Office building and the Chicago River. Once the site has been fully developed, there will be three towers on the adjacent sites. The largest of these towers is slated to be a 120+ story office tower. Also the high speed rail line from St. Louis will terminate on this site making it a new transportation hub for the entire city of Chicago.


Newark Market Street Tower, Newark, New Jersey

The Newark Market Street Tower is positioned to take advantage of the urban revitalization of Newark, New Jersey. With the completion of the Newark / New Jersey Devil’s Arena, Newark hopes to spark a widespread overhaul of its public image. The city planners hope to bring new life and activity along Newark’s main streets of Market and Broad. The site is located directly adjacent to the arena along Market Street. The building is in close proximity to New Jersey mass transit as well as New Jersey bus services. The main portion of the 42 story tower is moderate to high end residential. The proposal also includes sports based commercial on the lower levels to extend the event experience beyond the new arena. There is a large secured parking component that will function as event parking as well as parking for the residents. The design intent is to give Newark a new sleek glass tower in its skyline. The lower portion of the tower steps up in a spiral shape giving balconies to the lowest units. Special attention was given to the base of the tower that houses the parking. In order to maintain the feel of Newark’s downtown, a false façade replicating a series of infill buildings will screen the parking levels from the street level. These facades will have depth and varying architectural elements to soften the impact of the new construction along the prominent thoroughfare of Market Street.



Puerta de Europa, Madrid, Spain

These two office towers flank the Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid’s most important boulevard. The location of a subway interchange made the placement of the two towers near the street impossible. Their bold design is in part a response to the need for the footprints of the towers to be set back from the interchange while at the same time bringing the towers together as a single compositional whole. The towers lean towards each other and over the plazas, ensuring their visibility from up and down the Paseo and creating a portal which, being at the Northern end of the business district of Madrid, has been called a metaphorical gateway to Europe.

The facades of each tower is a composition of a major grid clad in stainless steel conforming to their structure, a minor grid of red mullions, and a third grid comprising the light grey mullions of the curtain wall.

 Completion Date: 1995


Bank of America Center Houston, Texas

The, 1.5 million square foot, building that headquarters Bank One Texas, and several major law firms, occupies a full, city block in downtown Dallas, a block from Thanksgiving Square. The project combines a low banking hall with a tall office tower, by way of a distinct roof shape – here, an immense inset barrel vault – to give the small building importance and an identity at the street level. At the same time, a connection is forged between the barrel vault and the tower hundreds of feet above.

Both high and low sections are sited as long rectangles parallel to each other but interwoven visually through intersecting axes and cross axes at three levels. The barrel vault of the banking hall is placed across its width, perpendicular to the tower, and repeated in its elevation. The sections are further connected through their materials. Pink granite sheaths the banking hall and corners of the tower, while the sheer glass of the bank’s skylight covered vault is carried up the center of each tower elevation and across the half-vaults at the setbacks. The cross-vault roof of the tower is covered in copper.

The low bank building is approached from its raised and landscaped front lawn and entered through a 63-foot-high granite arch, scaled as an entry for the 800-foot-high tower. The door leads to a marble-paved, 70-foot, walkway that bridges through the, six-level, skylit atrium of the bank to the tower lobby, looking down onto the trading floor below. A monumental building for downtown Dallas, the building is clearly in the style of the firm’s signature tall buildings designed in the 1980s.

Completion Date: 1987
Area: 1,500,000 square feet
Associate Architect: Harwood K. Smith Partners


ADIA Headquarters, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The design was drawn from the history of the region, as seen in examples of Islamic architecture. The building is deliberately set on the extreme Western boundary of the site, filling the corner to the North and giving a dominant presence to the Corniche. The windows are large and deeply recessed into the facades, allowing light to penetrate into the core, yet shading the interior from direct sunlight.



Momentum Place – Comerica Bank Tower, Dallas, Texas

Filling an entire block of downtown Dallas, this headquarters for Bank One Texas and several major law firms is comprised of a low banking hall and office tower. The immense barrel vault of the banking haul is expressed thematically in the tower, creating unity and giving the building a distinct profile on the Dallas skyline.

Both high and low volumes of the building mass are sited as long rectangles parallel to each other but interwoven through intersecting axes at three levels. The banking hall and corners of the tower are clad in granite, while the sheer glass of the bank’s skylight-enclosed vault is carried up the center of each tower elevation and across the half-vaults at the setbacks. The cross-vault roof of the tower is clad in copper.

The low banking hall is approached from a raised and landscaped front lawn and entered through a 63-foot-high granite arch. The arched entrance leads to a marble-paved 70 foot walkway that bridges through a six storey sky-lit atrium to the tower lobby.

Completion Date: 1987
Area: 1,500,000 square feet
Associate Architect: Harwood K. Smith Partners


South LaSalle Street Chicago, Illinois

This 40-story office tower in the heart of the financial district in Chicago is set diagonally across from Burnham and Root’s Rookery. Much of its imagery is derived from the Chicago School skyscrapers of the late nineteenth century. The gables pay homage to Burnham and Root’s Masonic Temple, Chicago’s first 20 story building. The entire building base is sheathed in rusticated flame-finished imperial red granite, with polished red granite around the immense arched entryways and flanking windows. The 55 foot height of the base corresponds to the cornices and coursing lines of nearby buildings. The roof is dominated by six copper-clad gables with cast aluminum cresting. A law library and reading room are housed inside the gables.

Client: The John Buck Company
Area: 800,000 square feet


Lipstick Building –  53rd at Third Avenue, New York, New York

When Hines began work on 53rd at Third, the red and pink granite office tower with an elliptical plan, they knew they needed something to make the project stand out. Third Avenue was not then known for premier architecture and high-end office towers. Hines and the firm determined that above all an unusual shape, particularly one where all the exterior offices became “corner” ones, would be a great way to start. The final product is one of the most unusual buildings on the New York skyline, which also happens to command very high rents.

Johnson, who can rarely help but think about history, has remarked that the oval shape and surrounding colonnade is reminiscent of Italian baroque architecture. One of the best qualities of the building is its public presence. As an oval placed in a rectangular lot, plenty of public walks space was created. The high glassed in lobby is both a spectacle to be watched from the exterior, as well as a place from which the bustling sidewalk activity in New York can be observed.

Client: Gerald D. Hines Interests
Completion date: 1986


Williams Tower AKA Transco Tower – Houston, Texas

Philip Johnson and developer extraordinaire, Gerald D. Hines, have worked on many projects since their first collaboration in the late 1960s. One of the best examples of this partnership is the former Transco Tower — named for the energy firm that originally occupied much the building. The building’s site is simply incredible. The developer set aside several acres of what is now prime Houston Galleria district to be used as a park (open to the public), which is a spectacular backdrop for the 51-story tower that rises as a monument that can be seen from great distances.

Here, the firm produced a design quite different from an earlier Johnson landmark built for Hines in downtown Houston, Pennzoil Place. Instead of adapting the modern glass box, the architects began by rethinking the traditional 1920s American skyscraper. For Transco, completed the 1980s, the architects mixed stone and glass, which brought together the traditional effect of a ceremonial stone arch, done here in pink granite, with the modern possibilities of a reflective glass curtain wall. To complete the composition of tower and park, the architects created a sculptural fountain, the Water Wall. This horseshoe of rushing water that sits behind a proscenium arch is a welcome cool spot in often steamy Houston. Transco Tower and Park is proof that private development can produce excellent architecture and terrific public amenities.

Client: Gerald D. Hines Interests
Completion Date: 1985
Area: 1,600,000 sq. ft.
Associate Architect: Morris Aubry Architects


PPG Coporate Headquarters – One PPG Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This complex is the headquarters of PPG Corporation. Formerly, the company’s offices had been scattered throughout various buildings in downtown Pittsburgh. When the company decided to relocate to an urban renewal district, and therefore required a complex with a strong corporate identity that could also create an urban center, they came to Philip Johnson.

The aim of creating a neighborhood led the architects to plan two public squares on the five-block site. These public spaces were designed to complement the existing public spaces nearby. An enclosed winter garden brings adjacent park land inside. In the center of the complex are six office buildings-one of forty stories, one of thirteen, and five of five. They surround a plaza paved in granite. This pedestrian space adapts easily to a variety of performance uses. It complements, but does not repeat, the design of the nearby Market Square, a traditional town green.

The design of the facades was inspired by an insight into the nature of reflective glass, one of the corporation’s core products. Highly reflective glass, an opaque material, is perhaps more similar to stone than to traditional glass. The building’s many articulations, bays and buttresses create interest similar to the shadows and highlights of a stone building.

Client: PPG Industries
Completion Date: 1985
Area: 2,000,000 square feet


Sony Building AKA  AT&T Corporate Headquarters, New York, New York

When American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) decided to construct a New York headquarters corporate towers were exclusively built on the model of the sleek glass and steel boxes of modernism. But the company wanted a strong visual identity – a monument and they chose the right architects to do that. The AT&T Building was a breakthrough design — a large-scale office project that relied on the historic precedent of great 1920s skyscrapers and ancient architecture and was built in granite -in a word it was “post modern”-and as a result the building has become a landmark recognized worldwide. It possesses a highly identifiable top, a broken pediment that Philip Johnson states comes from his appreciation of ancient architecture, not from Chippendale furniture.

The tower makes a substantial contribution to the civic floor space of the city. There is a 20,000 square feet covered plaza that is open to the public at grade, which has retail stores, kiosks, and a cafe-terrace. The tower, 90′ x 200′ in plan, rises 648 feet flush to the street to maintain Madison Avenue’s street line.

The reception “skylobby”, in effect the corporate entrance, is linked by four elevator shuttles seventy-seven feet above the ground. This ingenious system of double entry splits security and reception, from the “representational” aspect of the building: its notable façade and monumental street level lobby with its cross-vaulted and gilded ceiling and monumental statute representing the Spirit of Electricity.

Client: AT&T Corporation
Completion Date: 1984
Area: 850,000 square feet
Associate Architects: Simmons Architects