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Found in Austin, Texas, the Frost Bank tower is a 515-foot office building with 33 stories. The building has an office space that sits on 525, 000 sq. ft. of land. It starts with rectangular base at the bottom before stepping into a square point tower at the top. The building base is made of ground floors that have a polished finish limestone. Its unique architecture makes it the focal point of the City of Austin. Onsite amenities include a fitness center, ATM, full-service bank, dry-cleaner, overnight courier drop box, coffee shop, deli/carry-out restaurants and conference facilities. The Frost Bank Tower also features an 11-level garage with over 1400 parking space. The accent mullions enhance the verticality of the buildings and column covers. It sits at 401 Congress Avenue between the Mexic-Arte Museum at 5th and 4th street.

Officially opened in January 2004, the building became the first to be built after the September 11 attacks. It is stipulated that the designing team to the Frost Bank Tower was Duda/Paine Architects, LLP & HKS, Inc. The tower also boasts of carrying the highest logo in Austin. Among its construction materials, over 200,000 sq ft of glass built the façade of the building while the crown used 45,000 sq ft of glass. In 2005, the Frost Bank Tower was awarded the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) Award of Merit, an honor for the lighting, which was designed by Cline Bettridge Lighting Design Inc. two years before, it also won the 2003 Texas Construction Magazine Award of Merit.

Significance of the Frost Bank Tower Project

The project came in time to save the very challenging difficult office market at the time. Apart from giving a shining look to Austin’s skyline, the Frost Bank Tower created remarkable value of shareholders and developed the most valuable office space never done before in the state of Texas. Fisher (1996) points out that the office building housed big businesses including Frost Bank, The University of Texas Investment Management Company, Jenkens & Gilchrist PC, Winstead Sechrest & Minick PC, Graves Dougherty and Moody PC, and Heritage Title Company of Austin (Images Publishing; Images Australia Pty Ltd, 2008).

Architecture

Duda / Paine Architects, LLP designed the Frost Bank Tower in conjunction with HKS, Inc. who made it one of the most recognizable towers in the city of Austin, Texas. On the ground, it takes the shape of a rectangle before finally becoming a square pint at crown. While the base was expressed in honed finish limestone, the main superstructure of the Frost Bank Tower building is covered in a blue low-e glass skin (Thomas Properties Group, 2012). The low-e glass skin refers to a type of glass that is relatively thick; covers the whole tower.  There are only two building in the world that has used the low-e glass skin, and one of them is the Frost Bank Tower. The other is the Reuters Building in the city of New York.

According to Images Publishing; Images Australia Pty Ltd (2008), the folded panes of the structure reverse to create a form that is unique; segmented pyramidal form. The crown is all covered in lights, where some part of the building 46m usually lights up depending on the occasion. The color of the lights can also change, for example, the 2006 Rose Bowl, a time when the University of Texas Longhorns, based in Austin, defeated the USC Trojans.

Construction

Preconstruction services entailed the collaboration of the whole building team for a period of six months during the planning phase. The schematic design was important for the final design and construction of the crown. Before the construction started, several restaurants, clubs, retails shops and a bank were demolished to pave way for the mega structure. After clearing the site, piers of about 52-inches in diameter were sunk whilst a concrete mat slab of 6ft was poured to help in giving support to the structure. The tower began to take shape after using 7000 tons of reinforcing steel and 62000 cubic yards of concrete. Each floor took an average of six days to turn. Following tradition, the concrete on each of the 33 floors had a tin cross was implanted.

Society (2011) asserts that the Frost Bank Tower represents an iconic feature on Austin’s downtown scenery. It is a Class A office building built with a cast-in-place concrete frame together with a combination of limestone and glass curtain wall. The design of the tower included a stair-stepped outer façade that ends in a crown made of glass and steel. Notably, the crown is illuminated using 220 high-intensity lights (Thomas Properties Group, 2012). The first 11 levels offer parking space enough for about 1500 motor vehicles while the remaining 22 levels cater for over 500, 000 square feet that is rentable to prospective tenants. There sits a landscaped urban plaza at street level with finished out space for conference facilities and restaurants as well. The shell and interior common areas were built within 24 months.

The crane used in its construction was 600 feet tall, which became the tallest ever to be used in Austin at the time. The four Frost Bank logo sign on top of the main roof, which have a diameter of 20 feet each, are currently the highest on any building in Austin; they stand at about 420 feet high. Floorplates, on the other hand, range from 16, 826 to 25856 sq ft. All this uniqueness made Austin Chronicle readers to vote for the building as the best new building in the city. Equity Office Properties who are based in Chicago later acquired it.

The Low e Reflective Glass

It is also known as the Most Energy Efficient Glass; a high performance coated glass, which is energy efficient. Its advanced thermal insulation and solar control characteristics are very beneficial. The glass is manufactured by depositing layers of highly specialized oxides that are metallic in nature. The low e reflective glass also comprises of selected coatings, which is ideal for use in modern architecture. Modern architecture calls for exterior glazing solutions that apply a neutral appearance. It is a perfect sustainable glazing solution that suits all seasons as well as desired functionalities. Its aesthetic value makes it appealing to the eye, and despite its uniqueness, it has a neutral appearance. It is friendly to the environment and helps reduce high levels of energy consumption.

Following the tower’s history, T. Stacy & Associates consolidated land at the construction site in 1988, and then sold it to Cousins Properties three years later. They first planned to build a 352 ft building with 27 floors; however, the final plan was a 515 ft tall building complete with 33 floors. Construction at the site began on the 27th of November 2001, which ended in 2003. Yankopolus (2005) points out that the estimated cost of the tower stood at $ 137 million. However, the tower was surpassed by the 360 Condominiums, which stood at 563 ft in the year 2008.

The Frost Bank Tower shows uniqueness in how it was designed and built. As it became the tallest building in Austin when it was opened the tower inspired several other construction companies to come up with unique designs that would show the best of building designs and safety.

Onsite amenities include a fitness center, ATM, full-service bank, dry-cleaner, overnight courier drop box, coffee shop, deli/carry-out restaurants and conference facilities. The Frost Bank Tower also features an 11-level garage with over 1400 parking space. The accent mullions enhance the verticality of the buildings and column covers. It sits at 401 Congress Avenue between the Mexic-Arte Museum at fifth and 4th street.

In 2005, the Frost Bank Tower was awarded the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) Award of Merit, an honor for the lighting, which was designed by Cline Bettridge Lighting Design Inc. two years before, it also won the 2003 Texas Construction Magazine Award of Merit. In my view, the Low e Reflective Glass is a pioneer in the building industry. Its high performance coated glass makes it an exemplary building material that is energy efficient and thermal insulated. Its advanced thermal insulation and solar control characteristics are very beneficial. The glass is manufactured by depositing layers of highly specialized oxides that are metallic in nature.

Thomas Properties Group (2012) points out that the low e reflective glass also comprises selected coatings, which is ideal for use in modern architecture. Modern architecture calls for exterior glazing solutions that apply a neutral appearance. It is a perfect sustainable glazing solution that suits all seasons as well as desired functionalities. Its aesthetic value makes it appealing to the eye, and despite its uniqueness, it has a neutral appearance. It is friendly to the environment and helps reduce high levels of energy consumption. The building came to be known as a centerpiece to the skyline because of its location in the skyline as well as, its height and uniqueness.

The tower has also faced a number of criticisms from the public. A newspaper columnist talked of the building looking like a huge set of nose hair trimmers. Others said that the top of the building resembled an owl’s face, which made the city of Austin look “weird”, meaning that the building made Austin appear Unique from other cities. The face of an owl is unmistakable if the iconic Frost Tower is studied from a certain angle. While it still remains an argument regarding the design of an owl’s face, fact is, the Frost Bank Logos that add up to what may look like an owl were placed on the building long after the building was finished. Its set of accent lights, which display vertical mullions near the top of the building made it unique. The lights added scale as it created a welcoming frame that surrounded the opening portals at the lobby. 

Code: Sample20

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