Considerations for Urban Architecture and the Tall Building

  • William Pedersen


The intent of this paper is two-fold: to offer a strategy for design of the very tall urban office building; and to act in defense of the design for a 96-story tower submitted to the Bank of the Southwest in Houston, Texas. The very tall office building as a single structure — albeit of great size — is but one piece in the fabric of a large city. Thus, its capability to detract from or contribute to the milieu into which it will be placed is limited. Nevertheless, a city is formed, ultimately, of many such individual units. Their additive influence is great or small depending upon the attitude each has for the other and for the whole. It is our responsibility, as architects of individual buildings, to search for an approach to design that will allow this additive potential to achieve the highest objectives of the society that these buildings ultimately serve. Beyond that, no more can be asked or achieved. But before one can proceed with the parts — the individual buildings — an examination of the whole is in order. This examination must include the nature of the present urban condition, both as it exists in general, and as it exists in Houston specifically.


Ideal Form Tall Building Building Type Individual Building Public Realm 
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Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Pedersen

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