How High Can You Go? In Houston, It’s 75 Stories

Skyscraper Day

Skyscraper Day occurs every year on Sept. 3 in order to acknowledge the architectural and engineering endeavors that make such stunning structures possible. Buildings that have at least 40 floors are commonly referred to as skyscrapers, and by that definition, Houston has 25 skyscrapers.

Space City Reaches New Heights
Seven of the 10 tallest buildings in Texas are in Houston, and six of those buildings are among the tallest 100 buildings in the United States. Houston ranks 4th in the U.S. in number of completed buildings exceeding 150 meters. The average age of 150m+ buildings is 31 years. 82% of these buildings are office buildings, with 10% designated as residential. And 48% of them constructed from steel, while 32% are built from concrete.

The original Binz Building, built in 1895, is often credited as the first “skyscraper” in Houston, but it only had six floors. By 1910, downtown Houston had 20 buildings reaching six stories or more. The early 1980s were the heyday for skyscraper construction in Houston. But after the late 1980s real estate collapse in Texas, no new major office buildings were completed in Houston until 2002.


Here are the three tallest skyscrapers in Houston:


1. JP Morgan Chase Tower

Heralded as the tallest structure in the state for more than 35 years, the JP Morgan Chase Tower has 75 floors and stands 1,002 feet (305 m) tall. It’s the tallest building in Houston and the 18th tallest (by overall height) in the U.S. It is also the tallest pentagonal (five-sided) building in the world. The building was completed in 1982, and until 1989, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Until last June, the public had access to the 60th floor Sky Lobby at the Chase Tower. For years, visitors could enjoy views of the south downtown area and west of the city from a two-story observation post, but the Sky Lobby is now restricted to building tenants and their authorized visitors.


2. Wells Fargo Bank Plaza

The second-tallest building in Houston (and Texas) is the Wells Fargo building, which has 71 floors and stands 992 feet (302 m) above the ground. Completed in 1983, it is the tallest all-glass building in the Western Hemisphere.


3. Williams Tower

The Williams Tower has 64 floors and is 901 feet (275 m) tall. Built in 1983, it’s the tallest building in U.S. not located in a downtown area or central business district. It’s also the 4th tallest building in Texas.


Currently, at least seven tall buildings are currently under construction in Houston and expected to be completed by next year. The tallest, Capitol Tower, will measure 579 feet and be 34 stories tall.


Jocelyn Sexton is a marketing and corporate communications professional with more than 15 years of writing experience. She is a passionate storyteller and has worked in a variety of industries, including a stint in state government where she worked to promote Texas food with the Department of Agriculture. She earned an Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has an undergraduate degree in Journalism-Public Relations from the University of North Texas.

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September 2021