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Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Williams Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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Williams Tower

Formerly: Transco Tower
Formerly: 2800 Post Oak
Built: 1983
Designed by: Johnson/Burgee Architects and Morris Aubry Architects
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 64
Maximum Height: 901 feet / 275 meters
Location: 2800 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, United States
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Building Rating
80% of readers like the Williams Tower.
What do you think?
A rchitecturally familiar, but culturally significant to the people of Houston. The Williams Tower rises 64 stories over the Galleria Area and has become an icon of the city. Had it been cast in stone, rather than glass it would be easily mistaken for any of the skyscrapers that went up before the Great Depression. Now it is a memorial to those buildings that went before it, and still in-line with the other glass blocks that share its zip code.

The Williams Tower is actually constructed as two 32-story buildings stacked on top of each other. The first floor lobby services the Williams Corporation and its offices on floors three through 32. The second floor lobby services a number of other companies on floors 33-64.

Tenants boast that this is the tallest office building outside an urban core in America.

Unlike most buildings in the Bayou City, the Williams Tower is impressive at night. Even though it has the same light-dimming skyline-ruining glass that the other towers in the city do, the Williams Tower makes up for it by having a rotating beacon on top. It's similar to an aircraft beacon, but much more visible. It is said that its rotation was at one time synchronized with a similar beacon on the Palmolive Building in Chicago, but there is little proof.

There is a sky lobby that also serves as an observation deck on the 51st floor.. Unfortunately, it faces out over dull suburbia, rather than towards downtown, or any of Houston's other six skylines. You may not be able to go there, anyway. It was closed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the public hasn't been welcome since.

  • Developer: Gerald Hines
  • Architect: Philip Johnson
  • Architecture firm: Johnson/Burgee Architects
  • Architecture firm: Morris Aubry Architects
  • The building was designed to be 64 stories tall, matching the highest stock price that Transco had reached at the time.
  • Similarly, the nearby waterwall is 64 feet tall.
  • The building was inspired by a number of other structures including the Nebraska state capitol, Chartres Cathedral in France, and 1920's art deco skyscrapers.

  • Floor space: 1,500,000 square feet

  • 1985: A man was arrested for climbing the outside of the Transco Tower. Donald Treste was wearing a gorilla costume and using suction cups to inch his way up the building's glass facade.
  • December 16, 2002: A man described by his family as mentally ill took his own life by leaping from the Williams Tower. Ryan Hartley stopped rush hour traffic and caused a spectacle when he started climbing the outside of the glass building at 7:45am. Hartley, a skilled rock climber and University of Houston student, used only a hook and a small bag of chalk to make it to the 26th floor where he slipped, but then re-gained control. Witnesses say he paused for a few minutes, smiled, then leapt from the tower to his death while local television helicopters whirled overhead. Though Hartley appeared be a loyal Christian, and regularly attended services and activities at his church, KHOU Television reported that he left behind a suicide note denouncing American military involvement in Muslim countries, and warning that the country was getting itself into another Vietnam-style conflict.
  • March 25, 2008: The Houston Chronicle reports that Hines REIT bought this building and the adjacent parking garage for $271,500,000.
  • November, 2009: This building was awarded LEED Gold status.

  • This building is LEED Gold certified
  • This building has six Energy Star labels
  • This building has an Energy Star rating of 85 (as of 2009)
  • This building makes extensive use of reflective surfaces to reduce its heat island profile

Nearby Important Buildings
Related Links
See other Houston area skyscrapers, buildings, and landmarks at Houston Architecture.
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Friday, March 15th, 2013 @ 9:35pm
I had the pleasure of working in this building from 2002 to 2004. 44th floor. Very cool experience

J. K.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010 @ 6:42am
Rating: Five stars.
My favorite building, anywhere, for quite some time. I was also fortunate enough to work there for a short time, during 1998 and 1999. Truly iconic, the building soars like the ambitions of Houston. It makes me wish I never left, as I now find myself in New Jersey. You won't find buildings like that, or its sentiment, here.

Sandra Kessler
Friday, April 16th, 2010 @ 8:39pm
Rating: Five stars.
My three year old grandson (William Hayes) thinks the building is his. It is a very grand building.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 @ 11:03pm
Rating: Five stars.
Recently started getting interested in architecture, and this building seems beautiful. I wish I could go on the observation deck on a rainy day, but its too bad thats impossible now since its closed.

Jay Thomason
Sunday, August 9th, 2009 @ 2:42am
Rating: Five stars.
Quite a magnificent structure showing the effiiciency of design & construction. Another great example of Phillip Johnson as Architect & Hines Interest as Developer. Much of the praise would have to go to Gene Moss who was the Sr Director of Construction for Hines. It was my pleasure to have been part of Mr. Moss construction team as Gen. Supt. of J. A Jones Construction Co. Never have I known a more knowledgeable individual of true Skill, Integrity & Responsibility!. What a pleasure it is to look back as being a part of one the Worlds greatest piece of design & construction. Too add to it the construction broke a worlds record in completion of 15 months.

Kathy Strong
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 @ 9:39pm
Rating: Five stars.
I can remember when they built Transco Tower. It is now a land mark homeward. For a few years I was able to work as a contractor on a lot of floors.The view is awesome! Yes, it is like being in a cloud on rainy days. On one very clear day it seemed I could see the beach. (Spring Fever?) Those years will be always in my head when I see it. The Water Wall is a great place for lunch. Now that both sides flow again, take a friend. Good job Williams. Thanks.

Friday, April 24th, 2009 @ 9:22pm
Rating: Five stars.
Having moved from ABQ where the mountains are on the East, this building helps me keep direction in the city.

Dr. Cleve A Trusclair
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 @ 2:39am
Rating: Five stars.
While attending college at the University of Houston I had a chance to work in this tower and from my very first entry into the area I thought it was the most striking building I had ever seen. Now that I am the CEO of a Web Development company I one day will have a office space in this building. I love the city of Houston and the culture. I look forward to calling it home again soon 4/1/2009

Abhishek Shrivastava
Friday, October 17th, 2008 @ 3:18am
Rating: Five stars.
Great Architecture, Awesome....stunning. The water wall is a thrill. Outstanding piece of Great Architecture.

Brenton Allen McClanahan
Thursday, March 20th, 2008 @ 12:21pm
Rating: Five stars.
I remember this building as a child, I love this building

David Perry
Thursday, November 8th, 2007 @ 8:33am
Rating: Four stars.
One of the reasons this is such a significan structure in Houston (IMHO) is that it is very much taller than anything else near it. One can see this building from almost anywhere in this city. AdditionallY, I have personally been able to see this building from College Station, Tx just after takeoff from the airport (I fly and it was a very clear day). The building is not only attractive and efficient, but a landmark due to it's placement.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 @ 4:29pm
Rating: Five stars.
I work right next to Williams Tower and have a view of it from my office window and I admire it everyday, I love the view and am so proud that this structure is in Houston, Texas.

Avitosh Tiwari
Wednesday, May 9th, 2007 @ 5:19pm
Rating: Four stars.
"BEAUTIFUL" for many different reasons.totally AWESOME.

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 @ 10:38pm
Rating: Five stars.
It doesn't get any better than this!!

Harold Johnson
Friday, February 9th, 2007 @ 2:56am
Rating: Five stars.
The architect has to be praised. To build such a magnificent high-rise in the Galleria area gives those who are West of the city something to navigate by when coming into Houston from the West. And the waterfall cooling tower is a thrill.

Rafael Cabanillas
Friday, January 26th, 2007 @ 8:13pm
Rating: Four stars.
Me parece un edificio muy vanguardista y a la vez sobrio sus linea son muy simetricas. en fin un edificio muy agradable e la vicion de la urbanidad de texas.

Susie Qzzer
Friday, December 1st, 2006 @ 10:10am
Rating: Five stars.
When I look at this magnificent and powerful structure I think of Howard Roark, the famed architecht of non-conformity in Ayn Rands novel "The Fountainhead". Inside the lower lobby on the west side of the building you can get lost in time as the two mural paintings that adorn the rear wall represents the construction of this amazing structure back in the days the novel depicts. Its an icon here in Houston and for me represents beauty in simplicity. It remains strong, bold and beautuful. It's clearly a treasure amongst Phillip Johnson's outstanding collection.

Daniel Bolduc
Monday, July 24th, 2006 @ 12:20am
Rating: Five stars.
Just to see the tower shine it's beacon light at night, gives you an aww seen while driving passed the galleria area coming into the Northwest side of Houston. Oustanding at night with it's beautiful Waterwall.

architect ilyas siddiqui
Saturday, July 22nd, 2006 @ 3:37am
Rating: Four stars.
it is quite greaat structure showing effieciency of architect and cunstruction company

Gene Moss
Monday, May 1st, 2006 @ 7:29pm
Rating: Five stars.
A true architectural momument due to the efforts and creativity of Phillip Johnson, John Burgee and Gerald Hines that will long live in architectural history.

Dave Bastida
Wednesday, April 12th, 2006 @ 4:09pm
Rating: Five stars.
Another great Johnson/Burgee enhancement to Houston's skyline.

Eugene Smith
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006 @ 4:37pm
Rating: Five stars.
Absolutely imposing.

Sunday, March 20th, 2005 @ 8:36pm
Rating: Five stars.
I've seen this skyscraper so many times on my way to The Galleria. This skyscraper is not the tallest here in houston, but it might be the best known. Its just beutiful from the inside and outside in my opinion its one of the most beutiful skyscrapers in the world.

Joy Anderson
Friday, March 18th, 2005 @ 12:31pm
Rating: Five stars.
The most magnificent high rise office tower across America due to its reflective nature during the different times of the day. Even more so at night.

Sunday, January 30th, 2005 @ 12:45pm
Rating: Five stars.
Very nice structure, just awesome

Alan MacHett
Thursday, January 27th, 2005 @ 8:20pm
Rating: Three stars.
It's average. The only striking aspect of this building is that it stands taller than everything around it. I admire the linear facade and the monolithic style, but, to quote the article, it is "in-line with the other glass blocks that share its zip code" -- in other words, unremarkable. And I can't believe the article complains about its light-dimming glass, as if we don't already have enough light pollution.

John Mcenzie
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004 @ 7:04pm
Rating: Five stars.
this structure is builtiful

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