Awty International School Student Center
The Awty International School Student Center dramatically reshapes the existing campus serving 1400 students in grades 2 – 12 in Houston, Texas.
609 Main at Texas is a 50-level Class A high-rise office building in Downtown Houston
609 Main is a 50–level office building in Downtown Houston, Texas. The building consists of 1,050,000 SF of office space with an additional 728,000 SF of parking located on two below-grade levels and twelve above-grade levels. Features include an all curtain wall building envelope, cable-net, and point-supported lobby glazing system, conference center, fitness center, approximately 30,000 SF of green roofs, all capped off by a 60 foot high cantilevered crown above level 50. This building is located on the block bound by Main Street, Texas Avenue, Fannin Street and Capitol Street and will include a tunnel connection under Main Street.
The tower sits on a full city block on the East side of the Central Business District in Downtown Houston, on a block that was continually developed and redeveloped for the last one hundred years. The site is bordered on two sides by the Metro light rail system and two of the busiest streets in Downtown on the other two sides.
Site logistics were severely impacted by the light-rail system, forcing the site to be serviced entirely from two sides. The site possessed all the typical challenges of a dense urban construction site; i.e. pedestrian and vehicle traffic, directly adjacent residential buildings, city noise ordinance and restricted work hours, lane, sidewalk, and parking meter closures, air rights over existing buildings, existing utilities that show up in the most unexpected places, etc.
The project started with a six-month deconstruction of the existing 18-story Texas Tower, located on the Northeast quadrant of the property. Meanwhile, mass-excavation began on the other three quadrants. During excavation, portions of 13 different building foundations were discovered and subsequently removed. All-told 87,736 cubic yards of dirt and rubble were hauled from the site.
The unique geometry of every corner of the project presented ongoing challenges for the project team; starting with the concrete superstructure, where no two floors had the same footprint. Dimensional control and formwork adjustments were in a constant crunch to maintain a seven-day floor-to-floor cycle. The geometry presents its full glory in the glass façade systems; starting with two sloping atriums, nicknamed “The Southwest Wall” and “The Cone of Silence.” Perhaps the most striking part of the façade is the custom bright-dipped “jewelry” attached to the face. The jewelry is comprised of 33.4 miles of aluminum tubes running both vertically and horizontally across the entire North and South faces of the tower. At night, two bright white lines run vertically up light-notches centered on the West and East faces; while the West side culminates in the “crown light boxes”; which are two ~7,500 SF light features at the top of the building, featuring color-changing LED lighting.
The crown light boxes are part of a more prominent feature of the tower, known as the Crown of the Building; which gives it its unique sloping roof profile. The Crown contains approximately 650 tons of structural steel. This extreme weight presented a unique challenge for the project team. Tower cranes had to be sized to handle this weight more than two years before they would ever pick up a piece of steel. Housed in the Crown are the cooling towers, outside air handling units, water softener system, and Building Maintenance Unit.