Architecture of Houston - Houston's Architecture and Styles


Architectural buildings witness historical inventions through the ages. They are the reflection of the culture and society of the specific place the creation stands. Not bound to a single style, the architecture of Houston is difficult to define.  Therefore, you have the independence to use every word in the dictionary to describe the artistry.  Every building, commercial house, shopping centre, and residential complex in Houston is built to stun the visitors. Houston architecture sets an outstanding example of how an isolated land renovated itself into a big and happening commercial hub. 

Here, in this article, you will get a glimpse of the architectural wonders of Houston in detail:

Architectural Styles of Houston 

Houston is home to marvellous and diverse architecture that have also won several awards. Since its inception, the city has encouraged innovation in the blueprint of its overall infrastructure. Visitors can witness Gothic, Modern, and Greek architecture in Houston's architecture in their truest form. 

In the middle and late centennial, the famous Downtown Houston had presented with the greatest number of structures around Allen’s Landing and Market Square area. Therefore, by the time the city needed to build the office culture, there already was a series of mid-rise buildings ideal for the purpose. Downtown Houston has since then grown into the third-largest skyline in the United States. 
Downtown Houston (Source)
When it comes to residential structures, the style is varied and vivid. River Oaks has mansions while Houston Heights is known for its Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman architectural styles. Homes across Houston show post-war neoclassical style, which is also the most common type of structure in the Space City. 

The Man Behind the Architectural Development of Houston - Gerald D. Hines

Gerald Douglas Hines is the name behind the development of Houston from ashes to where it stands today. He was an American real estate developer from Houston and also the founder and chairman of Hines. His name is the one name that can state the whole of the Architecture of Houston.
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The man started with a single room office in Anita Street. Till his last breath, he was worth $1.3 billion estimations, with Hines boasting in 24 countries about more than 1300 properties.  While visiting the rich Architecture of Houston, whenever you come across a building with a “Capital ‘A’”, know Gerald D. Hines is the name behind the creation.  

Houston Neighborhoods with Excellent Architectural Display

Theatre District 

Theatre District, Houston
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The Theatre District in Houston is the home to 9 professional performing art organizations. The entire region has 17 blocks at the heart of Downtown, Houston. The Theatre District has the 130,000 square feet Bayou Place entertainment complex with bars, restaurants, and theatres.

If you are planning to explore the place, visit the welcoming entertainment places. Movie theatres, plazas, restaurants, and parks are gorgeous places to hang out in the Theatre District.

Architecture In and Around Theatre District

1. Alley Theatre: The Theatre District is known for the famous Alley Theatre. It is the oldest professional theatre company in Texas. It is designed in the Brutalist style by Ulrich Franzen. The Alley Theatre is also reminiscent of Frank Llyod Wright’s buildings. The interesting feature about the Alley Theatre is the exterior architecture. 
Address: 615 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002, United States
2. The Jesse H. Jones Hall: The Jesse H. Jones Hall stands tall with an eight-story building made of white Italian marble at the exterior. The place is common for tourists as a cultural and architectural sight. The concert hall ceiling features 800 hexagonal segments which can rise or be adjusted as per the hall acoustics.
Address: 615 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Museum District

The Museum District of Houston
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With more than 7 million tourists visiting every year, the Museum District is an immense draw for artists and art enthusiasts. The Museum District is the home to 19 museums, several galleries, as well as cultural centres. It is also the neighbourhood where the first art museum in Texas, the Museum of Fine Arts. Apart from the 19 museums and art centres in Houston, The Museum District is a colourful canvas for architecture.

Architecture in and around the Museum District

3. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is among the USA's largest museums. The museum's collection dates back to more than 6,000 years and is accumulated from across six continents. Established in 1900, the museum shows distinct features of neoclassical architecture.
Address: 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005, United States
4. Contemporary Arts Museum: The Contemporary Arts Museum is a prominent site at Montrose and Bissonnet's corner. The building is made of stainless-steel allowing contemporary art for visitors.
Address: 5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, United States
5. Rothko Chapel: Another must-visit place in Museum District is the Rothko Chapel if you explore architectural diversities in Houston. The interior of the chapel successfully ditches the tradition. Instead, you will witness modern art from every aspect. The walls of the Rothko Chapel have 14 black but colourful paintings of Mark Rothko.
Address: 3900 Yupon St, Houston, TX 77006, United States

River Oaks

River Oaks Neighborhood of Houston
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The architecture of Houston is not only confined to the heritage sights. River Oaks is a residential site in Houston, Texas. The exact location will navigate you within the 610 loops between the Uptown and Downtown community spans. River Oaks is well popular for high-end community planning. The real estate value ranges from USD 1 million to more than USD 20 million. Owing to the value, this place was announced as the most expensive Houston neighbourhood in the year 2013.

Architecture in and Around River Oaks

6. Shopping Center:
You will find the River Oaks Shopping Centre adjacent to the community centre. The place has its significance as it was the first shopping centre in Houston.
Address: 1964 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019, United States
7. Arthouse Theatre: The part of Houston’s dominance on art and cultural buildings falls in the residential complex as well. The centre has an Arthouse Theatre which operates as the River Oaks Theatre. The design has been the same since inception.
Address: 2009 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019, United States

Sam Houston Park

Sam Houston Park
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The Sam Houston Park dedicates its presence to the cultural and architectural history of Houston. The place is a proud oasis with living greenness and modern monuments. Freeways and skyscrapers surround the Sam Houston Park amidst urban life.

Architecture in and around The Sam Houston Park
  • Inside the 20 acres area, tourists experience a Victorian-style village with clean footpaths that lead to the old mill.
  • The small river stream flows inside the Park premises. It is a great place to sit and relax after a decent evening walk.
  • You will also see the 52-year-old building inside the park, a popular school in the locality.
  • Part of Sam Houston Park is known for retaining the community's glory through the Greek architecture of Houston. Inside the park is the home of St. John Church which is prominent for Gothic architecture in Houston.

10 Best Iconic Architecture Specimens of Houston

1. JP Morgan Chase Tower

JP Morgan Chase Tower of Houston
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Located in downtown Houston, the JP Morgan Chase Tower is the tallest building in Texas. It is also the tallest building in the world with five sides instead of four. This Art Deco skyscraper comprises 75 stories and 1.98 million square feet of office space. Designed by I. M. Pei, the entire structure is covered in pale grey polished granite, grey glass, and stainless steel. The most striking feature of this tower is the curved glass top.

Address: 600 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
Hours: 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Monday to Friday

2. Beer Can House

Beer Can House of Houston
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Created by John Milkovisch, this unique house is made entirely of beer cans, bottles, and other beer paraphernalia. It is estimated to comprise fifty thousand beer cans and is a prime example of recycling. It is one of Houston’s most famous folk art structures and attracts many visitors.

Address: 222 Malone St, Houston, TX 77007, United States
Hours: 01:00 AM - 05:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday only

3. Heritage Plaza

Heritage Plaza of Houston
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The heritage plaza is located in downtown Houston. It was designed by M. Nasar and is 53 stories tall. It features a multi-level waterfall flowing down from the lobby. However, a unique feature is the stepped granite structure resembling a Mayan Pyramid, on the top of the building. The building’s crown is also believed to resemble a bald eagle spreading its wings.

Address: 1111 Bagby St. 1900, Houston, TX 77002, United States 

4. Houston City Hall

Houston City Hall
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 The Houston City hall has been skillfully designed as a seemingly simple building structure with intricate details. Constructed between 1938 and 1939, it is an architectural classic designed by Joseph Finger. While the doors feature prominent historical figures, the floors depict the protective role of the Government. The structure includes a stone sculpture and 27 plaster casts for friezes produced by Beaumont artist Herring Coe and designer Raoul Josset.

Address: 901 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
Hours: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM, Monday to Friday 

5. 1940 Air Terminal Museum

1940 Air Terminal Museum of Houston
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 Another one of Joseph Finger’s designs, the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal was built in 1940. It is a classic Art Deco structure. It served as Houston’s main commercial airport till 1954. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum at the William P. Hobby Airport terminal displays collections from Houston's aviation history.

Address: 8325 Travelair St, Houston, TX 77061, United States
Hours: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM, Tuesday to Saturday01:00 PM to 05:00 PM, Sunday Closed on Mondays.
Admission Fees: Adults - USD 10; Children USD 4; Children under the age of 2 - Free. The rate will change after January 4, 2021. 

6. Williams Tower

The Williams Tower Waterfall
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The Williams Tower was designed by Phillip Johnson and was formerly known as the Transco Tower. It is the tallest building in uptown Houston at 901 feet with 64 stories. One of the distinctive features of this structure is that it is divided into two halves horizontally. 

It has separate elevators, lobbies, and garages for the top and lower halves. Another key feature is the granite arched entry which is 88 feet high. It also has a revolving beacon of light mounted on its peaked roof. Adjacent to the building is a 3-acre park with a 64-foot sculptural fountain. Known as the Williams Waterwall, this multi-storied fountain has 11,000 gallons of water cascading down both sides every minute.
Address: 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, United States
Hours: 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Monday to Friday

7. Astrodome

Astrodome, Houston
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Spanning over 9 ½ acres of land, the Astrodome is the world’s first domed stadium. Roy Hofheinz conceptualized the stadium. It was designed by architects Hermon Lloyd and W.B. Morgan, Wilson, Morris, Crain, and Anderson. The structural engineering and structural design were performed by Walter P Moore Engineers and Consultants of Houston. This architectural marvel is situated 25 feet below ground level with a ceiling 208 feet above the playing level.   
Address: 8400 Kirby Drive, Houston, Texas 

8. Bank of America Center

Bank of America Center, Houston
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An excellent example of postmodern architecture is the Bank of America Centre termed as Texas’s most beautiful building. Situated in downtown Houston, the building was built by award-winning architect Phillip Johnson and partner John Burgee. This 780-foot tall skyscraper comprised 56 stories and was built in 1983. It bears elements of Dutch Gothic architecture common to the canal houses of the Netherlands. This building's remarkable feature is that it is clad in red Swedish granite and is dark pink.
Address: 700 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
Hours:  06:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Monday to Friday

9. Johnson Space Center

Johnson Space Center of Houston
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Situated in the Clear Lake Area of Houston, the Johnson Space Center covers 1620 acres and consists of 100 buildings. Most buildings in the compound are numbered and not named. It was built by Joseph L. Smith and Associates and designed by Charles Luckman. It was subsequently leased to NASA and was officially inaugurated in 1963 and was responsible for commanding the moon missions.  
Address: 2101 E NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058, United States
Hours: 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM, Monday to Friday10:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday

10. Wells Fargo Bank Plaza

Wells Fargo Bank Plaza, Houston
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This 71 storied building is the second tallest building in Texas after the JP Morgan Chase Tower and even extends 4 more stories below street level. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Lloyd Jones Brewer and Associates to resemble the dollar sign in shape.
Address: 1000 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
Hours: 06:00 AM - 07:00 PM, Monday to Friday
There are several popular sites worldwide to cater to varied tastes, from the quirky to the elegant. Houston holds a diverse world within it. Full of iconic landmarks, Houston’s legacy lies in its culturally rich architecture. Have a great time exploring them all!

This post was published by Anwesha Nag

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