JPMorgan Chase Tower (Houston)

JPMorgan Chase Tower (Houston)
JPMorgan Chase Tower
Former names Texas Commerce Tower in United Energy Plaza
Texas Commerce Tower
Alternative names Chase Tower
General information
Type Commercial offices
Location 600 Travis Street
Houston, Texas
Coordinates 29°45′38″N 95°21′50″W / 29.760556°N 95.363889°W / 29.760556; -95.363889Coordinates: 29°45′38″N 95°21′50″W / 29.760556°N 95.363889°W / 29.760556; -95.363889
Construction started 1978
Completed 1982
Roof 1,002 ft (305 m)
Technical details
Floor count 75
Floor area 1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2)
Elevator count 50
Design and construction
Main contractor Turner Construction
Architect I.M. Pei & Partners
Ziegler Cooper Architects
Developer Hines Interests Limited Partnership
Structural engineer CBM Engineers

JPMorgan Chase Tower, formerly Texas Commerce Tower, is a 1,002 ft (305 m), 75-story skyscraper in Houston, Texas. It is currently the tallest building in the city, the tallest building in Texas, the tallest five-sided building in the world, 12th tallest building in the United States, and the 54th tallest building in the world.



The tower was built in downtown Houston at 600 Travis Street in 1981 as Texas Commerce Tower. It was designed by noted architects I. M. Pei & Partners. In some early plans, the building reached up to 80 stories; however, the FAA expressed concern that additional height was a risk for aircraft going into and out of nearby William P. Hobby Airport. Nonetheless, when it was completed, it was the eighth tallest building in the world.[citation needed] The building was developed as part of a partnership between Texas Commerce Bank and Khalid bin Mahfouz.[5]

Upon its completion, the building surpassed Aon Center in Los Angeles to become the tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi River, a title it held until Los Angeles's Library Tower, now known as the U.S. Bank Tower, was built in 1990.[citation needed]

JPMorgan Chase Tower is also connected to the Houston Downtown Tunnel System. This system forms a network of subterranean, climate-controlled, pedestrian walkways that link twenty-five full city blocks. The lobby of JPMorgan Chase Tower has been designed to harmonize not only with the height of the structure but also with the portico of Jones Hall, home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and which occupies the city block immediately to the west. For that reason, a five-story glass wall supported by a stainless steel space frame spans the entire 85 foot width of the front entrance, making the lobby area light and airy, and opening up the space to the plaza outside.[citation needed]

The sky lobby observation deck is located on the 60th floor. The sky lobby acts as a transfer point for persons traveling to the upper (61-75) floors, but also as an observation deck for the public during the working hours of 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday, free of charge. One can take the express elevator, providing a panoramic view of the city of Houston thanks to the use of wide glass spans and thirteen-foot ceilings. In the large plaza area at the entrance of the building is a multi-colored sculpture entitled "Personage with Birds", which was designed by painter and sculptor Joan Miró, and which was installed in the plaza in early 1982.[citation needed]

While the tower's name reflects the bank JPMorgan Chase, the only space designated to Chase is a single branch office on the bottom floor. The tower is owned by Prime Asset Management and managed by its original owner, Hines Interests.

Hurricane Ike

On September 13, 2008, many of the tower's windows were blown out as Hurricane Ike moved through the area leaving desks exposed, metal blinds hanging in a twisted heap and smoky black glass covering the streets below. Police were forced to cordon off the area due to the amount of debris lying in the streets.[citation needed]

At first, it was speculated that the glass came off the building due to impact from debris or due to high-speed winds in the confined spaces. However, flying glass debris must be entirely governed by drag and lift forces that overcome gravity for a considerable time period. Also, the high speed in confined spaces theory is not entirely justified since the height of damage seen in the tower exceed too significantly the height of the Chase Center parking garage next to the tower. This theory was proposed because an increase in wind speed produce a drop in external pressure in the side and leeward walls and the pressure inside the building remained normal (high) thus resulting in a force that would overcome design pressures. Other interesting observations include those of ABS Consulting engineers who suggest that glazing damage may have been produced by "organized" vortices produced by the upwind Calpine Center and steady vortices between the Tower and the Chase Center parking garage.[6] The NatHaz Modeling Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame is currently conducting an investigation of the flow field around the structure, modeling the tower and the immediate area surrounding it using Computational fluid dynamics (CFD).[7] Preliminary findings suggest that the localized damage is the result of a confluence of multiple mechanisms arising from the arrangement of nearby buildings, critical flow directionality and the possible entrapment of debris within evolving flow structures.


See also


External links

Preceded by
Enterprise Plaza
Tallest Building in Houston
305 m
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Renaissance Tower
Tallest Building in Texas
305 m
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Aon Center (Los Angeles)
Tallest building in America outside of New York and Chicago
Succeeded by
U.S. Bank Tower

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