The historic Barbara Jordan Post Office in Houston, Texas, is being redeveloped into an exciting mixed-use cultural and commercial hub. The project aims to utilise the building’s historical background to rejuvenate the city’s downtown districts by providing public spaces that will engage the community.
OMA partner, Jason Long, has designed the 51,100 square metre redevelopment project, dubbed POST Housten, which will be created for Lovett Commercial. The building has been used by the US Government from 1936-2014.
The former post office will host a variety of multipurpose spaces, including site-specific art installations, a concert venue, retail, restaurants, flexible working spaces, an international market hall and a rooftop park and farm – one of the largest of its kind in the world.
"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,” said Long. “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."
"Houston is the country’s most culturally diverse community,” said Frank Liu, president of Lovett Commercial. “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 travellers and we are determined to create a one-of-a-kind urban ecosystem that will showcase the vibrancy of our great city.”
Skylights and atriums will fill the existing warehouse, while new corridors will established a connected thoroughfare of activities
The existing warehouse will be punctured vertically with skylights and atriums, while new passages will establish distinct thoroughfares of connected activities. The three atriums, each covered with an etfe roof system and excavated from the existing structural grid, bring light into the depth of the building. Meanwhile, connecting the complex vertically, monumental staircases culminate in ‘skylawn’ — a rooftop park and farm designed by hoerr schaudt.
According to Lovett Commercial, “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 19,510 square metre rooftop park and farm."
The redesign aims to highlight the history of the site while exploring the possibilities of the future. as a forward-thinking development, the project will create a cultural epicentre that brings local and international cuisine, retail, art, music and innovation to our theatre district.
Skylawn is the name given to the rooftop park and sustainable organic farm, which will act as a key element of the precinct. It features 360-degree views of the city’s skyline and will include multiple dining, event, recreation and open spaces. The restaurants will be able to source ingredients from the farm, allowing them to offer a unique, fresh food experience.
To support the Innovation Corridor project by the government, POST Houston will include coworking offices, retail and collaborative spaces that will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and grow their businesses.
The project is expected to be completed in mid-2020.
Images courtesy of LUXIGON