Friday, January 27, 2023

A super-tall skyscraper is coming to Austin, Texas

(CNN) — There is a famous saying that everything is bigger in Texas. But so far, this has not happened in the case of the state capital’s skyline.

That may soon change, Brad Wilkins of architecture firm HKS said during an interview with CNN.

The project is still in the process of permitting. The developers say they expect to begin construction in the summer of 2023. credit: HKS

Wilkins has worked on some of the world’s tallest buildings, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and Wuhan’s Greenland Center in China, and is the principal and design director behind Wilson Tower, an 80-story, 1,035-foot residential skyscraper. (315 m) planned for Austin, Texas.

The project, which developer Wilson Capital announced this month, is expected to begin next summer, although it is still in the permitting process and the budget has not been made publicly available.

HKS believes it will be the tallest building in Texas and the tallest residential building in the United States outside of New York. But probably not for long.

This is the thinnest skyscraper in the world 1:13

“We’re going to see others across town that much longer. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more,” Wilkins said.

Super-talls are, by definition, residential or office buildings that reach 300 m (984 ft) or more. Another super-tall project in Austin, the mixed-use Waterline skyscraper, is already under construction. Under current plans, Wilson Tower would be 13 feet (4 m) taller than that structure, and more than 30 feet (9 m) taller than the current Texas record holder, JPMorgan Chase Tower in Houston, which stands at 1,002 feet (305 m). ) Is. ) High.

Those unfamiliar with Austin and all that it has to offer wouldn’t expect to hear about the super-tall skyscrapers being built there.

“‘Why Austin?’ would be the obvious question,” Wilkins said. “As you scratch beneath the surface, it just makes sense. It’s a really energetic place. It’s amazing how much is happening here and how much will continue to happen.”

According to Wilkins, the initial goal was not to build the tallest building in Texas.

“We didn’t set out to be the tallest … It was really the result of making the best possible design,” he said.

The building’s 450 residential units will range from studios to three- and four-bedroom penthouses. Developers say the plans include four floors of resident amenities, including a cocktail lounge, movie theater, co-working spaces and a floor dedicated to pets.

Giant skyscraper containing over 80,000 plants 1:05

While the planned height of Wilson Tower is making headlines, Wilkins says it’s only one design feature that will set it apart.

The initial announcement of the building plan also touted its brise soleil, or sunscreen, which is intended to provide protection from the sun and wind and provide structural strength. And there’s an added bonus, Wilkins said.

“It also allowed us to have an outdoor space at the back: terraces and decks to make the tower more people-friendly.”

Wilkins, who not only designs tall buildings but also strives to live in them, said he hopes to foster a sense of community through this project and others.

“There’s something special about a vertical neighborhood, because it’s a way of living that brings people closer together,” he said. “I meet new people every day in the elevator, I meet new people every day when I walk my dog… There’s something really special about what we’re trying to design in these buildings, For sure, these are the things that are bringing that kind of old fashioned neighborhood back to the cities.”

Wilkins is a member of the Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Council’s advisory group. And while he’s worked on projects around the world, he believes this project will be unique to Austin.

“Color and texture is something we’re trying to bring to the ground here in Austin,” he said.

CNN’s Jackie Palumbo contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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