Houston to Get ‘Skylawn’ Development
Developed by Lovett Commercial and designed by Luxigon (Paris) and Dutch architecture firm OMA, renderings for POST Houston were recently revealed for the city’s new mixed-used development.
Collaborators for the project include OMA New York partner Jason Long and Houston-based Powers Brown Architecture serving as executive architects; Hoerr Schaudt serving as the landscape architect; Harvey Builders serving as the lead contractor; and Cardno as the structural engineer.
About the Site
Located in the Theatre District of Downtown Houston, the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office was originally built in 1936 and was named after the first African American state senator. In 1960 it became occupied by the U.S. government and underwent a major expansion—designed by Wilson Morris Crain and Anderson—creating the 550,000-square-foot space seen today.
In total, the building houses a five-floor administration building and former mail-sorting facility where the two floors are reported to encompass 200,000 square feet. According to BISNOW, there are 992 columns within the structure, all of which have kept their historic column markings and retained tunnels.
About the Design
Predicted to be one of Houston’s largest adaptive reuse projects, the 15-acre POST Houston is slated to be home to a new concert venue, various restaurants and bars, an international market hall and co-working space. Also slated for construction and what is being boasted as one of the “world’s largest,” a rooftop farm and park space.
“Houston is the country’s most culturally diverse community,” said Frank Liu, President of Lovett Commercial. “We hope POST Houston will become a destination for Houstonians and travelers and we are determined to create a one-of-a-kind urban ecosystem that will showcase the vibrancy of our great city.”
Starting with the interior, the structure is to be converted into three levels anchored by large staircases whilst keeping historic architectural elements such as original columns and tunnels. To achieve this, as well as bring those design elements to the forefront, the warehouse will receive vertical ETFE skylights, three atriums and various horizontal windows to increase light and connectivity within the spaces. According to Curbed, the project is aiming to become LEED Gold certified.
“In a city that is constantly reinventing itself, it’s an incredible opportunity to transform a building of such solidity and sheer scale. Lovett’s vision to preserve this structure from Houston’s past allowed us to design a multi-layered, interconnected platform for the city’s cultural and commercial future,” said Long.
Additionally, the developers hope that the interior will include several art installations, performance spaces, exhibits and various collaborative spaces for business and entrepreneurs.
Moving to the exterior, all three atriums are slated to be covered in Houston’s first EFTE roof systems and will open to a five-acre rooftop park. Dubbed “Skylawn,” the rooftop park will host a sustainable organic farm and feature various dining and event venues, able to provide a “rooftop-to-table” experience.
The exterior “blankness” of the existing facade will also receive some minor redesign. According to OMA, the current state of the exterior serves as a “powerful identity” and will only receive vertical cuts, various shape cut-outs and new entryways as to provide light, correspond with the staircases and reinforce the building’s character.
The developers plan to use the historic tax credit to overhaul the site, which was purchased by Lovett Commercial in 2015. The developers haven’t announced how much they plan to spend on the project. However, the project is expected to reach completion by 2020, with Phase One having begun in September 2018.