Dezeen Magazine

HKS reduces plans for its supertall Austin skyscraper by half

HKS reduces plans for its supertall Austin skyscraper by half

International architecture studio HKS has reduced the plans for its Wilson Tower in Austin, Texas just six months after unveiling the designs for the skyscraper.

The 80-storey residential tower was set to be the tallest building in Texas at 1,035 feet (315 metres) tall with 450 apartments.

Reduced wilson tower rendering from distance
HKS has announced that its planned Wilson Tower in Austin, Texas has undergone a size reduction

After an unsuccessful January review with the City of Austin's Design Commission, HKS Austin and the local development group Wilson Capital have lowered the building to 45 storeys and 350 residential units.

The shorter building reduces the planned density and addresses concerns over accessibility and approachability.

Market conditions a factor

"We are making some changes to the ground floor in response to the Design Commission's feedback and changes to the vertical nature of the building in response to current market conditions," Wilson Capital president Taylor Wilson told Dezeen.

"Construction costs and interest rates are both higher now than they were when we originally designed the project," Wilson said.

The ground-floor podium originally included a restaurant, movie theatre, coworking space and a fitness centre topped by a pool deck.

Reduced wilson tower rendering base
The street-level design was changed

But its connection to the streetscape prompted concerns from commissioners, while the building's height proved increasingly challenging for Wilson Capital to finance.

"We believe this new design is more appropriate to provide an activated ground floor while remaining feasible in today's environment," Wilson said.

While half the size of the original tower, the new design maintains the brise soleil-wrapped facade with a blocky metal exoskeleton that climbs up the narrow sides and over the rounded rooftop, while glass covers the broadsides.

The lower corner volume is banded with thin vertical louvres that curve around the corners.

Austin currently has three skyscrapers under construction that will dwarf the reduced Wilson Tower, which is scheduled to break ground this summer. The current tallest completed skyscraper – The Independent by Texas studio Rhodes Partners – is 688 feet (212-metre) tall.

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is constructing the 1,022-foot-tall (311 metres) Waterline luxury residential, office and hospitality project that is set to be completed mid-2026.

The three-part, sloping tower will unseat Houston's 1,002-foot-tall (305 metres) IM Pei-designed JPMorgan Chase Tower when it tops out in August 2025.

Wilson Tower base
The revised design has 45 storeys

Meanwhile, the 875-foot-tall (267 metres) Sixth and Guadalupe skyscraper by Gensler will open this year.

HKS is also constructing The Republic, a 710-foot-tall (216 metres) office tower, with North Carolina-based Duda Paine Architects that is estimated to open in 2025.

The renderings are courtesy of Wilson Capital.