Tenneco Building

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Not many know the history of a building and the effects it took in becoming the beauty it is now. We are quick to admire, but never take time to acknowledge the history. This essay will talk about The Tenneco Building, better known as the Kinder Morgan Building and how it was designed and renovated.

Located at 1010 Miliam Street in Downtown, The Tenneco Building is not much of an eye catcher or dazzling, but rather earthy and sophisticated with a sense of structural integrity. It is one of the finest of the modern genre, completed in 1963, which was developed in the decades following World War II to deliver gas by pipelines to defense plants in Appalachia during the war. Also, known as the Kinder Morgan, this building was designed by three talented architects, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill LLP. Marking as the 28th tallest building, the Tenneco building is 502 feet tall with 33 floors and 15+ elevators.

The Tenneco Building is a structural cage with recessed glass walls which is articulated to distinguish the important roles and parts that each element plays. Glass, steel, and concrete are used in the building making the building an international style. Dark amber grey aluminum cladding gives the cage a strong, tangible feel to the skeletal exterior of the building.  Each side of the building is exposed to the sun due to the diagonal street grid of downtown Houston; therefore, sunshades from the structural beams are nicely hung above them stopping the heat and harsh sunlight from making its way into the building. The building’s columns are slightly pulled forward from the beams emphasizing a vertical line.


Downtown buildings build in the middle century have been renovated in order to compete with new multimillion dollar towers and comply with tenant’s demands, regulations and systems that need maintance and replacements. The building did not only go through renovations, but it also renovated its space with fancy facilities and gained 32,000 square feet on both the top and bottom of the building. After time the firm expanded into important range of businesses which included food products, chemical manufacturing and oil exploration. 

Tenneco’s first renovations began in 1984 when a number of drive through bank kiosks along Louisiana Street were replaced with fountains which were then refurbished in 2001. A few years later in 1996 long stock tickers were installed to deliver messages to add to the visual appeal. Later renovations were then started in each floor of the building.

Level one is used for the lobby, level two contains conference rooms, level three through twenty-nine are used for office spaces and levels thirty, thirty-one, and thirty-two are executive offices. These executive offices include a three story grand monumental stairway, boardroom, and spacious offices and meeting areas. At the bottom of the building a three story high arcade is settled to provide shaded mini pink granite plazas on three sides and a two story banking facility is deferred in the arcade by means of bars in the curtain wall.

 Modernism and international style has been a great element for this building, catching the eye of downtown people. The Tenneco Building was one of the biggest challenges in the 21st century when it came to renovations, but it has marked a big part of Houston’s history due to the ability of staying downtown rather than finding a new piece of land.

Submitted: May 06, 2015

© Copyright 2021 marisela acosta. All rights reserved.

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???? great

Wed, May 6th, 2015 3:54am


A very good essay, good worded, and interesting!

Thu, May 7th, 2015 2:50am

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Essay / Historical Fiction