OMA Partner Jason Long has designed a new redevelopment of the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office in downtown Houston. Dubbed POST Houston, the 550,000 sf project will be re-used as a mixed-use cultural and commercial hub. Created for Lovett Commercial, the redevelopment rethinks the post building that was in use by the US government from 1936-2014. The new design aims to reinvigorate the city’s north downtown neighborhoods.
The transformation of the former post office facility will house site specific art installations by acclaimed artists, as well as one of the world’s largest rooftop parks and farms, a concert venue and many other retail and office concepts including restaurants, bars, an international market hall and flexible co-working space. Jason Long commented on the design, saying that, "In a city that is constantly reinventing itself, it is incredible to have an 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."
Frank Liu, President of Lovett Commercial, said that, "Houston is the country’s most culturally diverse community. The city’s downtown infrastructure is experiencing rapid changes to accommodate a growing population and a new generation of Houstonians. 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.”
As the team states, "the design engages the city at multiple levels—from the Bayou and streetscape to the warehouse and its roof. The warehouse will be punctured vertically with skylights and atriums and raked horizontally with new passages to establish distinct thoroughfares of connected activities. Three atriums excavated from the existing structural grid will bring light into the depth of the building. Each atrium will be covered with an ETFE roof system (the first in Houston) and defined by unique monumental staircases linking the different layers of the building, culminating in an expansive 210,000 sf rooftop park and farm." Looking out to the city with a new view to Houston’s iconic downtown skyline, the design highlights the site’s history while simultaneously orienting the building towards an new future.
“We are thrilled that one of the city’s civic landmarks, the former Barbara Jordan Post Office, is being preserved through this adaptive reuse initiative and will be transformed into an iconic destination,” states Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston. “This forward-thinking development is breaking away from the traditional model by creating a cultural epicenter that brings local and international cuisine, retail, art, music and innovation to our theatre district.”
A key element of the design will be Skylawn, the expansive five-acre rooftop park and sustainable organic farm, designed by Hoerr Schaudt, the Chicago-based landscape architects behind Houston’s McGovern Centennial Park. As one of the world’s largest rooftop parks and farms, Skylawn features 360 degree, unobstructed views of the city’s downtown skyline and will include multiple dining and event venues, recreation and open spaces, as well as a stage for events. The property’s culinary tenants will be able to source ingredients from the rooftop farm, allowing them to offer a rooftop-to-table experience.
In an effort to support the City of Houston’s Innovation Corridor, POST Houston will feature co-working offices, versatile retail stations and a collaborative maker’s space aimed to attract local entrepreneurs by providing opportunities to showcase their products and grow their businesses.
Phase one of the mixed-use adaptive reuse project began in early September 2018 and is expected to complete in Summer 2020.
News via OMA