HOK’s design has revitalized the 1.5-acre plaza space, lobby and two-story conference center in this iconic 75-story tower (formerly 600 Travis). The renovation weaves together the building’s interior and exterior amenities to enhance the workplace experience for tenants while creating a new public open space for the district as a whole.
The JPMorgan Chase Tower, built in an era when office towers were designed as isolated citadels, featured a vast plaza with no sense of connection to the streetscape. Despite housing the largest Joan Miró sculpture ever commissioned (“Personage and Birds”), the plaza lacked amenities and visual interest to draw pedestrians.
To infuse the space with new energy and attract world-class tenants, HOK’s design transforms the underutilized plaza into a dynamic urban garden that fully optimizes its prime location and close proximity to downtown Houston’s historic, cultural and transit offerings. It’s a welcoming oasis within the urban landscape, and the most recent addition to Houston’s expanding system of central public spaces.
The design reimagines the largely empty plaza as a series of interconnected outdoor rooms with versatile seating options, elevated decking, comfortable shade and lush landscaping. With dedicated wireless internet service and small, human-scaled gathering areas, the new plaza becomes a true outdoor extension of the office tower and a destination for workers, residents and tourists. The plaza’s well-lit, outward-facing architecture also makes the area active on the weekends and at night.
In a tribute to the building’s history and original architect, I.M. Pei, the redesigned plaza and renovated lobby come together at a new glass pyramid entry inspired by the Louvre Museum in Paris. This new entrance adds almost 3,000 square feet to the lobby. As visitors approach, handmade stonework with a triangular motif sits at the base of the pyramid to elevate the arrival journey and mark the official entrance. The trapezoidal glass pyramid’s biophilic properties and sunlight-reflecting properties enliven the remodeled interior.