The History of Some Iconic Houston Construction Projects

If you live in or have visited the fourth-largest city in the nation, you’ve seen some of the Houston construction projects that have defined our city for years. Not only are they grand feats of engineering and design, but they lend their contributions to our skyline, our identity and our way of life. As a company that is committed to addressing the growing needs of the Houston construction industry, we thought we’d pay homage to some of Houston’s most iconic construction projects, and how they came to be.

Interstate 610

Colloquially known as the 610 Loop, this freeway forms a 38-mile loop around the inner-city sector of Houston and took decades to complete. The original concept was first proposed in 1931, and formally approved in 1942. World War II delayed construction until the 1950s, and the freeway was built in sections – North, East, South and West. It wasn’t fully completed until 1976, with the interchange that connects the loop to Interstate 10 in East Houston. Described by the Houston Press as “as much a social and philosophical divide as a physical one,” it’s not uncommon in Houston to hear the terms “inside/outside the loop” to refer to different styles of life in the Bayou City.

TC Energy Center

If you’re a Houston native, you might know the TC Energy Center better as the Bank of America Center. The iconic structure was designed by Johnson/Burgee Architects and evokes Dutch Gothic architecture with three segmented tower setbacks, each with a steeply pitched roofline topped with spires – easily recognizable as part of Houston’s skyline. At 56 stories, it’s the seventh-tallest building in Texas and is clad in Napoleon red granite and reflective glass. The tower was completed in 1983, and the building features a hidden secret – it’s designed around an old Western Union building that was too expensive to move. During construction, the building was sealed off from public view within the tower’s lobby. Recently, plans to turn the Western Union building into a lobby café were announced, and renovations began in 2018.

The Astrodome

The world’s first air-conditioned domed sports stadium was built right here in Houston, and its design and scale were so impressive when it opened in 1965 that it was nicknamed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The covered stadium was built to account for Houston’s subtropical climate and hot summers when the city was granted a major league baseball franchise. The dome stands at 18 stories tall, and the ceiling is 208 feet above the playing surface. There are over 4,000 skylights set into its ceiling that provide natural light. Ground was broken in 1962, and many engineering changes were required during its construction to cope with environmentally induced structural deformation, including a slight flattening of the domed roof. Although the Astrodome isn’t currently in use, it’s been designated a historical site and plans for its refurbishment are still in development. In the meantime, it remains a symbol of Houston’s accomplishments and is still a large part of the identity of the Houston Astros.

FUSED Industries is dedicated to the Houston construction industry and hopes to build on our city’s incredible history. Ready to work with us? Reach out today.