Ever since we dug up the first drawings of the 35-story office tower planned by Trammell Crow Company atop Block 185, the final piece of redevelopment at the site of the city’s former Green Water Treatment Plant, we’ve been itching to get a better look at this upcoming project — especially now that prep work is clearly underway at 601 West Second Street:
A siginificant amount of excavation already at Block 185 pic.twitter.com/fmJ8vqW5Eh— Justin Baudoin (@justinbaudoin) January 26, 2019
Now, thanks to a breaking news story from the Austin American-Statesman indicating that there was something to those rumors about Google leasing the whole dang ol’ building, we’ve got a few more renderings of this striking new addition to Austin’s skyline. We’ve cropped and slightly color-corrected them for your viewing pleasure:
The folks at the Statesman (and seemingly also the Austin Business Journal, which snuck the first rendering out last month) have allegedly sourced these renderings from a marketing brochure by Trammell Crow Company and CBRE, which is not yet available to the public — or us, for that matter — so their images are all we have to work with for the moment.
With design by famed architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli — which previously designed a tower for Fifth Street and Congress Avenue that never saw the light of day, along with countless other buildings you’ll recognize — the sail-like appearance of Block 185 elegantly accommodates the restrictions imposed upon its site by its proximity to Shoal Creek, which runs directly to the west of the property; and Lady Bird Lake, the shoreline of which is just south of the site across Cesar Chavez Street.
The setbacks imposed by these two waterways are the driving force behind the building’s pyramidal shape on its western and southern elevations, a tower design we haven’t really seen in downtown Austin until now — though the diagonal elements of the upcoming Block 71 and Republic towers are also doing their part to break up the right angles of our current skyline.
In terms of first impressions, it’s hard not to be excited about this tower’s look, which is immediately striking and pushes the boundaries of what we might expect from our growing skyline — not to mention the prominence of the architects that design those new additions, considering that Pelli Clarke Pelli is considered quite a “starchitecture” firm in its own right.
Even so, there are also some mildly disappointing elements in these early renderings — the building’s parking podium is unexpectedly prominent at its Cesar Chavez Street frontage, something other buildings have managed to hide more elegantly, and overall its street-level appearance doesn’t seem particularly active, other than what appears to be a nice outdoor space on the banks of Shoal Creek at the tower’s western side. What’s unclear at the moment is how much of that will actually be accessible to the public, since Google certainly loves its exclusive employee perks:
According to the brochure, the office space will feature floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of Lady Bird Lake, the Austin skyline and the Hill Country. Other features include a plaza along Shoal Creek and an expansive lobby with easy access to shops on Second Street and electric car-charging stations.— Austin Business Journal
The marketing brochure refers to a “creekside amenity section” of the building with retail space, a library, conference centers, fitness centers, a lounge, a kitchen and dining space, a bar/tavern and a recreation area.
Still, with the few renderings and low-res images we’re working with at the moment, there’s plenty of room left for speculation — we’re just happy to finally get a decent look at this thing after more than two years of guessing. With preparation at the site already visibly underway, the tower, according to the Statesman story, should be completed and ready for occupancy by the second quarter of 2022.