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Pennzoil Place

Listed under Contemporary Architecture in Houston, United States.

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Photo by flickr user rkimpeljr
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Deliberately designed as an optical illusion, Pennzoil Place presents a different face from every vantage point. In some skyline photographs, it appears as a long, low barn; in others it reveals itself as two towering spires. It can also appear as a single sloping tower, a pair of complimentary blocks, and possibly many more. Chief architect Philip Johnson was awarded the 1978 AIA Gold Medal. The project was so successful at the outset that despite the mid-1970s recession the developer added two floors to each tower during construction to meet the demand for office space. Pennzoil chairman Hugh Liedtke asked specifically for buildings that did not look like One Shell Plaza. The two towers are separated by a 10-foot gap, with 45° sloping roofs.

Written by  George Monkhouse.

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