Wells Fargo TowerHouston, Texas, US
The tower is sited so that its flat sides are in alignment with neighboring facades, unifying the buildings and the skyline. The semi-curved form was achieved by juxtaposing two quarter-cylinder shafts which are offset by one bay. The combination of planes and curves allows for the constant interplay of sunlight on the tower’s surface and also reduces the building’s substantial mass.
In contrast to the surrounding dark granite high-rises, this building is light and fluid, with is upper 70 stories clad in an uninterrupted skin of reflective green glass. At grade, the building is sheathed in polished black granite with a 5-foot stainless steel band capping the junction of the granite and glass. This use of rich materials and careful detailing also provides a human scaled sense of entry to the building.
Approximately 65 percent of the users enter the building through Houston’s downtown pedestrian tunnel system which protects against the city’s infamous heat, rain and humidity. As the tunnel enters the building it becomes a glass corridor, bisecting a sunken plaza which provides view and sunlight to the underground path. Double-deck express elevators shuttle passengers to sky lobbies on floors 34-35 and 58-59, where they transfer to local elevators. This arrangement keeps the core to a manageable size - there are 27 elevator shafts running 56 cabs.
The lower skylobby incorporates horizontal trusses tying together the bundled tube structural systems in each half of the plan. These structural elements are prominent in the two-floor public space and are clad in white paneled wood casings rather than in a high-tech material.