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Google’s sailboat-shaped skyscraper tops out in Austin

AUSTIN'S latest skyscraper has officially topped out. The sailboat-shaped Block 185 stands 180-metres above the Texas city and is set to be occupied by tech-giant Google.

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the tower has been designed to maximise a collaborative and sustainable working environment.

Wide programmable outdoor terraces on every floor will offer views of the Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake, and the city’s southern districts.

Above: Each of the terraced balconies will provide shade and contribute to the building's unique shape. Image courtesy of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Each of the building’s setbacks also hold rooftop gardens, allowing for social and professional gatherings.

These overhanging balconies reduce solar heat gain by shading the floors below.

They also contribute to the building’s unique shape; when viewed from an east-west point, the tower’s curve can be seen extending upward beyond the roof, into a slick, pointed expression.

The building’s façade will be made-up of high-performance glass and custom metal mullions in a tartan pattern. The transition in patterns makes the building appear unique from whichever angle it’s viewed from. 

Above: How the tower might appear on the Austin skyline. Image courtesy of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Block 185 is the final part of the Green Water Treatment Plant site redevelopment which first began construction in 2014.

The development has gradually replaced four sites formerly occupied by a water treatment plant with other buildings including Northshore Apartments, 500 West Second Street, and Austin Proper.

Remarkably, Block 185 is being built ahead of schedule, with general contractors DPR Construction working through the pandemic.

Once fully complete in 2022 the building will be Austin’s largest and tallest office tower with approximately 74,300 square metres of rentable commercial space.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects was founded by César Pelli, an Argentine-American architect most famous for the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the former tallest buildings in the world.

The studio is also behind Salesforce Tower, San Francisco’s tallest building.


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