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its education agenda. Additional spaces in the Houston Branch are varied and include a library, a cafeteria, a firing range used by Federal Reserve law enforcement officers, a wellness center, and parking for 300 automobiles. The new facility, currently occupied by 220 employees, is designed for flexibility to adapt to changing demands and future growth. The building, the Houston Branch’s fourth location, was completed in 2005 at a cost of $90 million. The site was previously occupied by the Jefferson Davis Hospital (designed by Alfred C. Finn and Joseph Finger) that was built in 1937 and demolished in 1999. The Federal Reserve bought the eight and a half-acre site in January 2000 from a private developer; the site was selected for the Branch due to its proximity to downtown and location halfway between Houston’s two airports. On September 11, 2001, with construction documents about 80 percent complete, the project was postponed while security features were reconsidered. Eventually, perimeter fencing, a separate pre-inspection building, a blast-resistant front facade, bulletproof glass, and redundant structure were added to the program. The architects successfully synthesized the prescribed security measures without making it a forbidding place to work or visit—the building wraps around exterior spaces, terraces, and porches to provide connections to the landscape without compromising its security. The overall organization is revealed in its massing. According to Tom Rowe of Grave’s office, “The pitched roofed section houses the secure cash processing facilities in the relatively solid first two floors with the common meeting, dining, and office spaces on the top two levels with panoramic views to the Houston skyline.” The boardroom, the symbolic heart of the building, is located on the northern end of the fourth level and has a porch that overlooks Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou. The functional heart of the building is the currency vault, located in a concrete shell protected by the green tile barrel-vaulted roof and set parallel to the bayou. “Together these volumes are intended to

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(opposite page) Viewed here from the northeast, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Houston Branch stands out along Allen Parkway. (this page) A pergola wraps the third-floor dining terrace.

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Texas Architect July/Aug 2006: Color  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

Texas Architect July/Aug 2006: Color  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...