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Houston-Architecture

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In the 1960s, downtown comprised of a modest collection of mid-rise office structures, but has since grown into one of the largest skylines in the United States. In 1960, the central business district had 10 million square feet (930,000 ) of office space, increasing to about 16 million square feet (1,500,000 mē) in 1970. Downtown Houston was on the threshold of a boom in 1970 with 8.7 million square feet (800,000 mē) of office space planned or under construction and huge projects being launched by real estate developers. The largest proposed development was the 32-block Houston Center. Only a small part of the original proposal was ultimately constructed. Other large projects included the Cullen Center, Allen Center, and towers for Shell Oil Company. The surge of skyscrapers mirrored the skyscraper booms in other cities, such as Los Angeles and Dallas. Houston experienced another downtown construction spurt in the 1970s with the energy industry boom.

 

The first major skyscraper to be constructed in Houston was the 50-floor, 218 m (714 ft) One Shell Plaza in 1971. A succession of skyscrapers were built throughout the 1970s, culminating with Houston's tallest skyscraper, the 75-floor, 305 m (1,002 ft) JPMorgan Chase Tower (formerly the Texas Commerce Tower), which was completed in 1982. In 2002, it was the tallest structure in Texas, ninth-tallest building in the United States and the 23rd tallest skyscraper in the world. In 1983, the 71-floor, 296 m (970 ft) Wells Fargo Bank Plaza was completed, which became the second-tallest building in Houston and Texas, and 11th-tallest in the country. Skyscraper construction in downtown Houston came to an end in the mid-1980s with the collapse of Houston's energy industry and the resulting economic recession. When the 53-floor, 232 m Texaco Heritage Plaza was completed in 1987, it appeared that no more skyscrapers would be constructed for a while.

 

Twelve years later, the Houston-based Enron Corporation began construction of a 40-floor skyscraper in 1999 (which was completed in 2002) with the company collapsing in one of the most dramatic corporate failures in the history of the United States only two years later. Chevron bought this building to set up a regional upstream energy headquarters and in late 2006 announced further consolidation of employees downtown from satellite suburban buildings and even Ca. and La. offices by leasing the original Enron building across the street. Both buildings are connected by a second-floor unique walk-across, air-conditioned circular skybridge with 3 points of connection to both office buildings and a large parking deck. Other smaller office structures were built in the 2000–2003 period. As of December 2001, downtown Houston had about 40 million square feet (3,700,000 mē) of office space, including 28 million square feet (2,600,000 mē) of class A office space.

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