Wilson Tower: a super-tall skyscraper will appear in Austin, Texas
There is a famous saying that everything is bigger in Texas. But so far, this does not apply to the skyline of the state capital.
That may change soon, Brad Wilkins of architecture firm HKS said in an interview with CNN.
Wilkins has worked on some of the world’s tallest buildings, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Wuhan Greenland Center in China, and is the principal and design director for Wilson Tower, a 1,035-foot 80-story residential skyscraper planned for Austin. state of Texas.
The project, which developer Wilson Capital announced this month, is expected to launch next summer, although it is still going through the approval process and the budget has not yet been released.
The 80-story, 1,035-foot project is still going through the approval process. The developers say they plan to start construction in the summer of 2023. Credit: HKS
HKS believes it will be the tallest building in Texas and the tallest residential building outside of New York City in the United States. But maybe not for long.
“We are going to see other people of the same height around the city. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more,” Wilkins said.
Those unfamiliar with Austin and all it has to offer may not expect to hear about the super-tall skyscrapers being built there.
“Why Austin?” is an obvious question,” Wilkins said. “When you dig under the surface, it just makes sense. This is a really energetic place. It’s amazing how much is happening here and how much more will be happening here.”
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According to Wilkins, the original goal was not to build the tallest building in Texas.
“We didn’t set out to be the tallest… It was really just the result of creating the best design possible,” he said.
The building has 450 residential units, from studios to three and four bedroom penthouses. The developers say the plans include four floors of amenities for residents, including a cocktail bar, cinema, co-working space and a floor dedicated to pets.
While Wilson Tower’s planned height made headlines, it’s just one of the design features that Wilkins says will make it stand out.
The initial announcement of the building plan also advertised its brise soleil, or sunscreen, which is meant to provide protection from the sun and wind and ensure structural strength. And there’s an added bonus, Wilkins said.
“It also allows us to have open space behind us – terraces and decks to make life in the tower more convenient for people.”
Director and design director Brad Wilkins of architecture firm HKS says his team wants to build a structure that incorporates local design elements and looks unique to Austin. Credit: HKS
Wilkins, who not only designs tall buildings but tries to live in them, said he hopes to foster a sense of community through this and other similar projects.
“There’s something special about vertical neighborhoods because it’s a lifestyle that brings people together,” he said. “Every day I meet new people in the elevator, I meet new people every day when I go outside and walk my dog… There’s something really special about it that we’re trying to bring to these buildings to make sure it’s things that bringing back that old-fashioned good-neighborliness to the cities.”
Wilkins is a member of the Council’s Advisory Group on Tall Buildings and the Urban Environment. And while he has worked on projects around the world, he believes this project will be unique to Austin.
“Colors and textures are what we’re trying to justify here in Austin… to be something like nothing else that doesn’t belong anywhere else,” he said.
Jacqui Palumbo of CNN contributed to this report.