Williams Tower

Williams Tower, Houston-Texas - United States, Philip Johnson, John Burgee, Morris Architects
Construction year: 1983
Address: 2800 Post Oak Blvd | HOUSTON-TEXAS | United States
Latitude/Longitude: 29.73725, -95.46140

The Williams Tower is a 64-story, 1.4-million-square-foot (130×103 m2) class A office tower located in the Uptown District of Houston, Texas. The building was designed by New York-based John Burgee Architects with Philip Johnson in association with Houston-based Morris Architects.

Construction began in August, 1981 and was completed in December, 1982. The tower is among Houston’s most visible buildings and is the 4th-tallest in Texas, the 26th-tallest in the United States, and the 140th-tallest building in the world. The Williams Tower is the tallest building in Houston outside of Downtown Houston, and at the time of its construction was believed to be the world’s tallest skyscraper outside of a central business district.

The building was named the Transco Tower after its first major tenant, Transco Energy Co. Transco Energy Co. merged with the Williams Companies in 1995 and in 1999 the name of the building was changed to the Williams Tower. Despite the name change, the building is often referred to as “the Transco” by long-time Houston residents.

At 64 stories and 909 feet (277 m) above the ground level, the Williams Tower is the tallest building in Houston outside of Downtown Houston. When it was constructed in 1983, it was also the world’s tallest skyscraper outside of a city’s central business district.

Williams Tower was built to function as two separate towers stacked directly on top of one another, one comprising the first forty floors and the other the forty-first to sixty-fourth. The building has separate banks of elevators and lobbies for each of the two building sections. A majority of the bottom 40 floors are occupied by Williams. The remainder of the building is occupied by a variety of tenants.

Williams Tower was named “Skyscraper of the Century” in the December 1999 issue of Texas Monthly magazine. Paul Gapp of the Chicago Tribune said that the building became an “instant classic” when it opened. Paul Goldberger of The New York Times said that the tower gave Post Oak Boulevard “a center, an anchor, which most outtowns lack”.

There are six elevators that take tenants to the 51st floor, where they can transfer to other elevators to get to the 49th through 64th floor of the building. There is no public observation deck.

During the night-time hours, the building is defined by a 7,000 watt beacon that sweeps across the sky and can be seen up to 40 miles (65 km) away on a clear night. Topped by such a beacon, the tower hearkens back to the Palmolive Building in Chicago, Illinois. The building, along with its beacon, is a Houston landmark that identifies the Uptown Houston district.

Williams Tower is connected to a 10 level, 3,208 car parking garage by a sky bridge. The bridge also connects the building to retail outlets, like the Galleria, and two Federal Aviation Administration-licensed helipads.

In a grass field adjacent to the Williams Tower is the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park. Formerly privately owned in common with the tower, the waterwall and park has been owned since 2008 by the Uptown Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, a non-profit local government corporation.

⇒ Architecture Guide to HOUSTON-TEXAS
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