Considering the outsized everything this is Texas, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)’s first tower in the Lone Star State may seem like a long time coming. And that moment is now here with the news that the firm’s second Texas project will be 1550 on the Green, a 28-story downtown Houston office tower developed by Skanska USA. (To be clear, BIG’s first Texan project, an interlinked assemblage of stadiums slated for Austin, was revealed at the tail end of 2017.)
Located at 1550 Lamar Street, the clustered tower—a decidedly restrained design from BIG, based on the early available renderings—will anchor Discovery West, a larger three-block dining and shopping district master-planned by Skanska and BIG and located adjacent to Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park. Designed by Hargreaves Associates, Discovery Green opened to the public in 2008. Per a Skanska press release, the company, in partnership with BIG, worked alongside leaders from Central Houston, Inc., Discovery Green, Bike Houston, the Kinder Foundation, and others to “envision a compelling mixed-use development that prioritizes walkability, community and world-class architecture.” The park-adjacent parcels that will give way to Discovery West, which is also set to include multi-family housing, were purchased by Skanska in October 2019 for $55 million and together comprise just under three-and-a-half acres. They were previously home to several parking lots.
Spread across 375,000 square feet including 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, BIG’s Houston high-rise will mirror the leafy atmosphere of Discovery Green and include spacious pedestrian zones shaded by a canopy of trees, rooftop terraces on the 12thand 20th floors, and views of the surrounding landscape that allow “tenants to experience the benefits of nature both inside and outside the building,” according to Skanska. Austin-founded Michael Hsu Office of Architecture will design the interior amenity spaces, which are set to include a fitness center, a rooftop event space and terrace, and numerous community spaces. Tenant wellness and energy efficiency play heavily into the LEED Platinum-aiming tower.
Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has also just been announced as the anchor tenant of 1550 on the Green and will acquire naming rights after it relocates from its current Houston office into the new complex when it completed in 2024. Norton Rose Fulbright is the third-largest law firm in America.
Per Bisnow, construction is expected to kick off the Class-A office tower as the first phase of the Discovery West development later this year.
Originally published on The Architect’s Newspaper