Google building plans for downtown Austin revealed

Despite (or maybe because of) the speed and extent of Austin’s long, recent boom – the open floodgates of tech money, the tripling of tourism and the resulting hotel flood and the luxury residential towers necessary for a city suddenly full rich young people is – The skyline has persevered.

Sure, there are exceptions (The Independent, which isn’t even the new Frost Bank Tower), but not enough for a city that wants to be taken seriously.

Fortunately, when Austin set out to refurbish the former Seaholm Power and Thomas C. Green Water Treatment facilities (now prime downtown, lakefront properties), it made the decision to get big – or at least get more creative .

The power plant was repurposed for mixed use in a way that made it contemporary but retained highly visible elements of its original Art Moderne design. The new central library on the site of the former water treatment plant takes a completely different approach with an exciting, dynamic new building – an important building and a model of sustainability.

Of course, the expectations for Block 185 – across from Shoal Creek from the library and also part of the former site of the water treatment plant – were enormous. With surprisingly little fanfare, the plans for this location were recently unveiled at a meeting of the City Design Commission – especially as they are renderings of a 35-story office tower that could become a prominent part of the New Austin skyline.

Just a few months ago (in a Jan. 31 article) the Austin American-Statesman confirmed that the entire building was already rented from Google and that the renders were only released a week ago at the above meeting (and) after that Project had already laid the foundation stone).

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

For architecture fans, the wait was worth it. The currently unnamed building was designed by the internationally renowned Pelli Clarke Pelli company, which is just finishing a building for another technology giant, the Salesforce Tower. It is now the tallest building in San Francisco. Other notable designs by the Connecticut-based company include the New York World Financial Center complex (now Brookfield Place) and the landmark Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Together with Pelli Clarke Pelli, the local companies STG Design and Campbell Landscape Architecture are involved in the project.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

A building-height, curved glass wall, and tapered structure allow for outdoor terraces at any level, creating the overall effect (as many have noticed) of a sail that forever catches a breeze from the lake across the street.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

The tower will have 793,883 square feet of office space – enough for around 5,000 people – and include standard perks for tech companies: a fitness center and relaxation areas, lounges, kitchen and dining areas, conference centers, a bar / tavern, and certainly more. The 1,327 parking spaces are located on the lower floors, some of them underground.

Google, which currently occupies a 29-story tower on another area of ​​the redevelopment site east of the new construction site, employs about 800 people in Austin, according to Statesman.

While the upper floors of the new building will be fully inhabited by Google offices and parking lots, the structure will relate to the surrounding area in a number of ways. Retail stores will occupy the first floor, and the large, open lobby will provide access to the Second Street retail and entertainment district. The building will also have bicycle and pedestrian access on Shoal Creek, which connects West Cesar Chavez and West Second Streets.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

Google occupancy and Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Salesforce Tower experience are not the only technical connections used in the new tower. According to the Statesman article, MSD Capital, Michael Dell’s personal investment firm, is the project’s financial backer.

Developer Trammell Crow bought Block 185 in January for about $ 10.27 million. This emerges from Statesman’s story that the company and the city came to that amount in a 2012 master development agreement that also replaces part of the standard design process with the city.

The new tower is located on the last of the four parcels of the former greenwater facility renovation. In addition to the building where Google currently has its offices (500 West Second Street), the Northshore Apartment Tower and the almost completed Austin Proper Hotel & Residences occupy the other areas covered in the plan.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / STG Design / Trammell Crow Company

The new tower had to fit into angled setbacks on the sides facing the Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake Civilitude engineers

As fully explained in a Towers March 26 article, the need for development code was likely the mother of design fiction in the case of this final important piece of the site’s redevelopment puzzle.

James Rambin of Towers points out that the 589 foot tall building’s unusual shape is undoubtedly due in part to two setback requirements stemming from its location between Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake. The resulting shell forms an approximately pyramidal shape into which the architects and engineers had to fit the structure. In the opinion of many, they went beyond the challenge and benefited from Austin’s changing urban landscape.

Lady Bird Lake Trail, Austin, TX 78704

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