78ºF

LIST: The 20 tallest buildings in Houston

How many of Houston’s tallest skyscrapers can you name?

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas (Pixabay)

From sleek assemblages to hulking ziggurats of concrete and glass, it’s safe to say there’s a lot to look at when it comes to Houston’s skyline. With 7 of the state’s 10 tallest buildings, Houston’s got a towering Texas-sized skyline made all the more distinctive by the city’s lack of zoning restrictions. Sans the aforementioned zoning, giant, glistening towers have cropped up across the city. Houston’s third tallest skyscraper, the 901-foot Williams Tower, is the tallest building in the United States outside of a city’s central business district, according to building database Emporis.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the tall buildings you’ve all been waiting for.

(Cue drum roll)

Scroll through the photos below for a virtual tour of Houston’s skyline.

20. American General Center

American General Center
American General Center (Google Maps)

Height: 590 feet, 42 floors

Completion: 1983

Location: 2929 Allen Parkway

The tower is the former headquarters of Continental Airlines and serves as current headquarters to American General, according to building database Emporis.

19. 1500 Louisiana Street

1500 Louisiana Street
1500 Louisiana Street (Google Images)

Height: 600 feet, 40 floors

Completion: 2002

Location: 1500 Louisiana Street

1500 Louisiana Street, formerly Enron Center South, was built for but never occupied by the failed Enron Corporation.

18. 800 Bell Street

800 Bell Street
800 Bell Street (Pixabay)

Completion: 1963

Height: 606 feet, 44 floors

Location: 800 Bell Street

Located in the southernmost portion of Houston’s Skyline District, the building was once the tallest building in Texas and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River from 1963 until 1965 when it was surpassed in both categories by Elm Place in Dallas, according to building database Emporis. Formerly known as The Humble Building, Exxon Building, and the ExxonMobil Building, the tower’s facade features distinctive seven foot wide cantilevered shades at each floor level which screen out the sun.

17. 811 Main

811 Main
811 Main (Google Maps)

Completion: 2011

Height: 630 feet, 46 floors

Location: 811 Main Street

Alternative names for 811 Main include MainPlace, Block 93 and BG Group Place. Located in downtown Houston, A signature feature of 811 Main is a dramatic 39th-floor sky garden recessed into the building’s form that reveals planted terraces and a five-story crystalline atrium, according to Hines.

16. San Felipe Plaza

San Felipe Plaza
San Felipe Plaza (Google Maps)

Completion: 1984

Height: 646 feet, 45 floors

Location: 5847 San Felipe Street

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Felipe Plaza is located in Houston’s Uptown District. The tower is the second-tallest building outside of downtown Houston (At 901 feet, Williams Tower is the tallest building outside downtown Houston). This building’s design combines elements of two other Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Houston projects: Wells Fargo Plaza and Enterprise Plaza, according to building database Emporis.

15. 1001 Fannin

1001 Fannin
1001 Fannin (Google Maps)

Completion: 1981

Height: 662 feet, 49 floors

Location: 1001 Fannin Street

Designed by Morris-Aubry, the building is also known as First City Tower as it formerly housed the headquarters of the now-defunct First City Bank. The indentations in the tower’s north and south facades were supposed to represent an "F" for the building’s main tenant at the time, First City Bank, according to building database Emporis.

14. LyondellBassell Tower

LyondellBassell Tower
LyondellBassell Tower (Google Maps)

Completion: 1978

Height: 678.49 feet, 48 floors

Location: 1221 McKinney Street

LyondellBasell Tower, formerly 1 Houston Center, is part of Houston Center, a retail and office complex in Downtown Houston. The Museum of Art of the American West was located in One Houston Center’s lobby from 1978 to 1990, according to building database Emporis. Fullbright Tower, the city’s 10th tallest building also belongs to the Houston Center. LyondellBasell Tower is the 22nd tallest building in Texas

13. Three Allen Center

Three Allen Center
Three Allen Center (Google Maps)

Completion: 1980

Height: 685 feet, 5 floors

Location: 333 Clay St, Houston, TX 77002

The building designed by Lloyd Jones Brewer & Associates is one of tree buildings belonging to the Allen Center, a mixed-use skyscraper complex in Downtown Houston. The tower has eight sides and is the 20th tallest building in Texas.

12. 1400 Smith Street

1400 Smith Street
1400 Smith Street (Google Maps)

Completion: 1983

Height: 690.68 ft, 50 floors

Location: 1400 Smith Street

Formerly know as the Enron Building and the Four Allen Center, 1400 Smith Street was once the headquarters of Enron. It is the 17th tallest building in Texas.

11. One Shell Plaza

One Shell Plaza
One Shell Plaza (Google Maps)

Completion: 1970

Height: 714 feet, 50 floors

Location: 910 Louisiana Street

The building was the world’s tallest reinforced concrete building from 1971 to 1975. It was surpassed by Water Tower Place in Chicago, according to building database Emporis. One Shell Plaza was the tallest building in Texas from 1971-1980. It was surpassed by the Enterprise Plaza in Houston. The building’s facade is clad with 27 tons of Italian travertine marble, quarried at Montecanti near Rome, according to Emporis. It is currently the 16th tallest building in Texas and is situated across City Hall Park.

10. Fulbright Tower

Fulbright Tower
Fulbright Tower (Google Maps)

Completion: 1982

Height: 725 feet, 52 floors

Location: 1301 McKinney Street

Know to some as the Chevron Tower, Gulf Tower, 3 Houston Center, or the Houston Center, Fulbright Tower was designed by architect Caudill Rowlett Scott. The 1,247,061-square-foot-tower is the 14th tallest building in Texas. The building was once owned by Chevron which vacated 400,000 square feet to consolidate to Heritage Plaza after the merger of two giants created ChevronTexaco in October 2001, according to Emporis.

9. 1600 Smith Street

1600 Smith Street
1600 Smith Street (Google Maps)

Completion: 1984

Height: 732 feet, 55 floors

Location: 1600 Smith Street

Formerly knows as Continental Center I, 1600 Smith Building, and the Cullen Bank Tower, 1600 Smith Street is a 1,048,218-square-foot office building in downtown Houston. This building was once the headquarters for Continental Airlines. Designed by Morris Aubry, the building is 13th tallest tower in Texas.

8. Centerpoint Energy Plaza

Centerpoint Energy Plaza is the black building in the center of the image. It features a distinctive "top hat" structure.
Centerpoint Energy Plaza is the black building in the center of the image. It features a distinctive "top hat" structure. (Pixabay)

Completion: 1996

Height: 741 feet, 53 floors

Location: 1111 Louisiana Street

Designed by the architectural firm of DMJM Keating, this building was a renovation that replaced 1100 Milam Building. The building is formerly known as Houston Industries Plaza and Reliant Energy Plaza. It is the 11th tallest building in Texas. The building was extended 90 feet higher in a 1996 renovation by architect Richard Keating which added extra floors and a distinctive 6-story “top hat” structure with a circular hole in its roof, according to Emprois

7. 609 Main at Texas

609 Main at Texas
609 Main at Texas (Google Maps)

Completion: 2017

Height: 755 feet, 48 floors

Location: 609 Main Street

Just a foot shorter than Enterprise Plaza,

609 Main at Texas sits at the corner of Main Street and Texas street in downtown Houston. The 1,073,075-square-foot office tower’s exterior façade is clad in floor-to-ceiling glass with brushed-stainless-steel accents, according to Hines. Designed by Pickard Chilton, 609 Main is the 10th tallest building in the Lone Star State and the 100th tallest building in the United States.

6. Enterprise Plaza

Enterprise Plaza
Enterprise Plaza (Google Maps)

Completion: 1980

Height: 756 feet, 55 floors

Location: 1100 Louisiana Street

Formerly the First International Plaza, the Southwest Bank of Texas, and Interfirst Plaza, Enterprise Plaza is located in downtown Houston. Developed in 1980 by Hines, the 1.3-million-square-foot office building’s exterior consists of Spanish Rose granite with rose-colored windows, according to Hines. Enterprise Plaza is the 9th tallest building in the state and the 98th tallest building in the United States.

5. Heritage Plaza

Heritage Plaza
Heritage Plaza (Google Maps)

Completion: 1987

Height: 762 feet, 53 floors

Location: 1111 Bagby Street

Formerly the Texaco Heritage Plaza and the Chevron Texaco Heritage Plaza, Heritage Plaza is a skyscraper in downtown Houston. The tower is the 8th tallest in Texas, and the 94th tallest in the United States.

4. TC Energy Center

TC Energy Center
TC Energy Center (Pixabay)

Completion: 1983

Height: 780 feet, 56 floors

Location: 700 Louisiana Street

The TC Energy Center, formerly known as Bank of America Center, the Republic Bank Center, NCNB Center, and NationsBank Center is a 56-story office tower in downtown Houston with an adjacent 12-story banking hall. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, the red granite building ranks among the country’s tallest towers: It is the 82nd tallest building in the United States and the 7th tallest building in Texas.

3. Williams Tower

Williams Tower
Williams Tower (Google Maps)

Completion: 1982

Height: 901 feet, 64 floors

Location: 2800 Post Oak Boulevard

Completed in 1983, the Williams Tower remains the tallest H-Town skyscraper outside of Downtown Houston. The 64-story, 1.4 million-square-foot office tower stands at 901 feet tall. The 1,002-foot-tall JPMorgan Chase Tower and the 992-foot-tall Wells Fargo Plaza, both located in Downtown Houston, are the only two Houston buildings taller than the Williams Tower. Here’s how the Galleria-adjacent building sitting at 2800 Post Oak Boulevard ranks among the world’s tallest towers: It’s the 265th tallest building in the world, the 39th tallest building in the United States and the 4th tallest building in the Lone Star State. The 901-foot Williams Tower, is the tallest building in the United States outside of a city’s central business district, according to building database Emporis. A product of the architectural team of Philip Johnson and John Burgee, Williams Tower features a soaring 88-foot-high granite arched entry, a helipad, a revolving beacon of light atop its peaked roof and an adjacent three-acre park with a 64-foot water wall. Williams Tower serves as the headquarters for Hines, an international real estate firm, and also houses several other tenants.

2. Wells Fargo Bank Plaza

Wells Fargo Bank Plaza
Wells Fargo Bank Plaza (Pixabay)

Completion: 1983

Height: 992 feet, 71 floors

Location: 1000 Louisiana Street

Wells Fargo Bank Plaza, formerly the Allied Bank Plaza and First Interstate Bank Plaza, ranks among the world’s tallest towers: It is the 2nd tallest building in Texas the 25th tallest building in the United States and the 161st tallest building in the world.

1. JPMorgan Chase Tower

JP Morgan Chase Tower
JP Morgan Chase Tower (Google Maps)

Completion: 1982

Height: 1,002 feet, 75 floors

Location: 600 Travis Street

The 1,002-foot-tall skyscraper sitting at 600 Travis Street in Downtown Houston is the city’s tallest building. The JPMorgan Chase Tower, formerly the Texas Commerce Tower, was designed by I.M. Pei and associate architect 3D International. Originally intended as an 80-floor structure, builders had to cap the skyscraper at 75 floors at the insistence of the Federal Aviation Administration, who declared anything taller than 75 floors would be a hazard to air navigation. “Personage and Birds,” a 55-foot sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miró, overlooks the plaza. The building ranks among the world’s tallest towers: It’s the 142nd tallest building in the world and the 22nd tallest building in the United States.

------

Sources: Emporis, The Skyscraper Center, Hines


About the Author: