Williams Tower in Houston

Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Williams Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Royalty-free architecture stock photography

Williams Tower
Formerly:Transco Tower
Formerly:2800 Post Oak

2800 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, Texas, West Loop 77056
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Architecturally familiar, but culturally significant to the people of Houston. The Williams Tower rises 64 stories over the Galleria Area and has become an icon of the city. Had it been cast in stone, rather than glass it would be easily mistaken for any of the skyscrapers that went up before the Great Depression. Now it is a memorial to those buildings that went before it, and still in-line with the other glass blocks that share its zip code.

The Williams Tower is actually constructed as two 32-story buildings stacked on top of each other. The first floor lobby services the Williams Corporation and its offices on floors three through 32. The second floor lobby services a number of other companies on floors 33-64.

Tenants boast that this is the tallest office building outside an urban core in America.

Unlike most buildings in the Bayou City, the Williams Tower is impressive at night. Even though it has the same light-dimming skyline-ruining glass that the other towers in the city do, the Williams Tower makes up for it by having a rotating beacon on top. It's similar to an aircraft beacon, but much more visible. It is said that its rotation was at one time synchronized with a similar beacon on the Palmolive Building in Chicago, but there is little proof.

There is a sky lobby that also serves as an observation deck on the 51st floor.. Unfortunately, it faces out over dull suburbia, rather than towards downtown, or any of Houston's other six skylines. You may not be able to go there, anyway. It was closed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the public hasn't been welcome since.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 1,500,000 square feet
Timeline
  • 1985: A man was arrested for climbing the outside of the Transco Tower. Donald Treste was wearing a gorilla costume and using suction cups to inch his way up the building's glass facade.
  • December 16, 2002: A man described by his family as mentally ill took his own life by leaping from the Williams Tower. Ryan Hartley stopped rush hour traffic and caused a spectacle when he started climbing the outside of the glass building at 7:45am. Hartley, a skilled rock climber and University of Houston student, used only a hook and a small bag of chalk to make it to the 26th floor where he slipped, but then re-gained control. Witnesses say he paused for a few minutes, smiled, then leapt from the tower to his death while local television helicopters whirled overhead. Though Hartley appeared be a loyal Christian, and regularly attended services and activities at his church, KHOU Television reported that he left behind a suicide note denouncing American military involvement in Muslim countries, and warning that the country was getting itself into another Vietnam-style conflict.
  • March 25, 2008: The Houston Chronicle reports that Hines REIT bought this building and the adjacent parking garage for $271,500,000.
  • November, 2009: This building was awarded LEED Gold status.
Notes
  • Developer: Gerald Hines
  • Architect: Philip Johnson
  • Architecture firm: Johnson/Burgee Architects
  • Architecture firm: Morris Aubry Architects
  • The building was designed to be 64 stories tall, matching the highest stock price that Transco had reached at the time.
  • Similarly, the nearby waterwall is 64 feet tall.
  • The building was inspired by a number of other structures including the Nebraska state capitol, Chartres Cathedral in France, and 1920's art deco skyscrapers.
Green Things
  • This building is LEED Gold certified
  • This building has six Energy Star labels
  • This building has an Energy Star rating of 85 (as of 2009)
  • This building makes extensive use of reflective surfaces to reduce its heat island profile
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