Judging Buildings – Austin, Texas Edition


I promise this won’t be a regular feature (unless you like it) but I was in Austin last week and I was really struck by this building. Sorry I only had my cell phone camera (yes, I’m aware there are better cell phone cameras out there…) but it made me think if DC is missing out on architecture like this due to the height limits. But first let me ask – do you like this building? If so, do you think DC is hindered in these options by the height limits?


20 Comment

  • thumbs down on this being a regular feature – only DC posts, please!

  • No and no.

  • Growing up outside NYC, I always thought that a skyline had to be massive. Since moving to DC, I’ve grown accustomed to the smaller buildings, and kind of like how simple the height limits make the city.
    Skyscrapers have their place, but I think DC is fine without them.

  • thumbs down …

    somehow reminds me of the Mormon Temple (don’t know why).

  • DC ain’t missin’ nothin’! I feel overwhelmed when driving through cities with huge skyscrapers… keep them away! The skylines of big cities can be beautiful, but you can only enjoy them from a great distance, or from the air. When you are walking about on the sidewalks, you can’t see the interesting roof-line half-a-mile up in the sky – you see what’s around you.

  • Human scale, please. No windswept canyons and surface parking lots. NYC is unique for an american city in that their skyscraper areas have 24/7 streetlife- not the case in most US cities, where it’s dead after 5 pm.

    I think it may be good for Rosslyn, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Crystal City, etc, but not downtown DC. You don’t see buildings like the one above in Paris or Rome.

  • I love that owl building. You missed the best angle by a little bit. here’s a better shot of the owl. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nika/122110022/

    I think DC is fine without the tall buildings. but I do love the fun design, and with we had more around town.

  • DC is definitely missing out because of the height restrictions. it’s a town with a big ego, not a real city (except for the crime). no more squat, ugly buildings – I want real architecture!

  • PoP – where you at the Hurricane Conference?

  • That building looks a lot better at night. During the day, it is massively fugly. DC is not limited in the least by the height limits; interesting buildings can still be built.

  • I’m sure there are many lovely blogs dedicated to Austin, and they’re not running items about DC architechture. Let’s keep PoP local, shall we?

    I like DC’s height restrictions. I can think of one other city that has restrictions like ours, and the one time they eased up a little, it was a complete and utter disaster (Paris, Tour de Montparnasse). Beautiful skyscrapers are the exception (like One Liberty Place in Philly and the Chrysler Building) not the rule.

  • If I may draw some parallels, this building is essentially in Austin’s Rosslyn, way south of the university and downtown. When they built it I heard it described as a giant nose hair trimmer. I think that description is still apt.

  • The Frost (bank) Tower is great!
    It’s probably the only iconic skyscraper in the whole CBD.

    I hope you go a shot of the CSC building. Most of Austin is 3 stories or less, even downtown.

  • it looks like a knockoff of the empire state building.

  • As a Texan, it’s funny to me that a building in Austin has led to a discussion about height restrictions in DC, because Austin has height restrictions (called “Capitol-view Corridors”) as well! Albeit they are not quite as strict in Austin, but the skyline there is much lower profile than other big cities in Texas.

  • The real question is if you found Stubb’s BBQ and live music…

  • keep’um low… it lets the sunlight down to the streets.

  • SunCom- yes! I love Chicago, but I always think of it as a dark city. The sun in DC is wonderful.

  • you may have just jumped it man.

  • If I may correct one part of USA! USA!’s comment — the Frost Bank tower is not in Austin’s Rosslyn. It is on Congress Ave, between the capitol and Town Lake, i.e., in the middle of downtown.

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