One of the newest and most exciting developments to break ground recently is Google’s Block 185 tower. Block 185 will be a 35 floor, 793,883 square foot office building that stands 589-foot high with some parking and retail space underneath.
So what is it that makes this downtown office building special? The answer is simple: its shape. Block 185 will have a distinctive sailboat shape, in part due to restrictions imposed on it by its proximity to Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake.
Due to these two waterways and the setbacks imposed on the shape of the building to clear them, the architectural firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli developed a distinct pyramidal design that mimics that of a sailboat, quite an appropriate shape due to its proximity to the water. In fact, if you stare hard enough at the Block 185 renderings by Trammel Crow, you might even start to see it pick up speed and start to sail away!
Google will be the sole leaser of all the office space in the building, although there will be a variety of shops and restaurants at street level down below. The distinct design is creating a lot of buzz and excitement, as it promises to break up the monotony of the square box style of its neighboring skyscrapers and feels like the next innovative design to hit downtown since The Independent Condominiums (the Jenga building) arrived on the Austin Skyline in 2018.
Projections right now have Block 185 completed and ready for occupancy sometime in the Spring of 2022. The tower’s site is bound by Cesar Chavez St to the South, Nueces St to the East, Second Street to the North, and Shoal Creek to the West. This plot of land is the final piece of the old Thomas C Green Water Treatment Plant to be redeveloped, perhaps because it is the trickiest due to the variety of constraints that the nearby waterways have imposed. This new building will sit opposite from the plaza and trail space of the Central Library, and be close to the district’s distinctive new Butterfly Bridge as well.
What do you think of the design of this new building? Are you a fan of Austin’s continuously developing skyline?