The Allen is a new mixed-use development located just west of downtown Houston along the Buffalo Bayou. HOK oversaw master planning for the six-acre development and designed its first two buildings: a 35-story luxury hotel/residential tower and a four-story retail podium.
The Allen embraces its location next to Buffalo Bayou Park through design and connections. The buildings’ sleek, contoured forms mimic the undulating, organic rhythm of the bayou. Elevated terraces and ground-level patios provide visible and physical links to the park’s trails and greenways.
An innovative cladding system, never used before in the United States, lends the retail pavilion and tower podium a cohesive, modern expression. In placing the tower on a podium, the design reduces the verticality of the building at street level, helping integrate it with nearby buildings and preserve the scale of the neighborhood. All parking is strategically located either below grade or within the podium, enhancing the overall pedestrian experience within the development.
The tower features multiple programming types, including ground-floor retail; a luxury Thompson Hotel on levels 5-13; and private residences on the top 22 floors. In addition to 134 guest rooms, the hotel includes a sky lobby, spa, 300-seat ballroom and seventh-floor terrace with a pool and views onto downtown.
Subtle, curved massing accentuates the tower’s stacked volumes, with a striking cantilever denoting the transition from hotel to condos. Private residences include individual balconies (some with plunge pools) and shared amenities that include an indoor lap pool, conference rooms and private lounge.
To accommodate its multiple users, the tower offers three distinct entrances. Separate elevators take residents and hotel guests to their floors. Guests attending the fifth-floor hotel conference center and ballroom arrive by escalator or via a monumental stair leading to the hotel sky lobby.
The adjacent retail pavilion further distinguishes The Allen as a destination for residents and visitors alike. The pavilion includes ground-floor dining and retail, a multi-story fitness center and a rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the park.