elpingüino, you should come on our Downtown Tours, I have mentioned this several times in the ones that I lead. Most people don't even realize that the older historic office buildings have very small floor plates, and are not full squares or rectangles.
It's going to be interesting to see how the Bob R. Simpson Building (originally First National Bank with 2 additions) is converted into a hotel. My original thought was that a courtyard might be carved in the center, creating an "O" shape, or the last addition might be demolished, creating an "L" shape.
As of today, Deco 969 is very close to its final overall height. The main core form work and rebar has been extended up above the roof for the elevator overrun and one column on the west side of the building has the rebar cage extended above the roof.
From the northeast, I moved to a slightly different location that eliminates some of the power lines. You can see the service elevator overrun on the left and the main core elevator overrun on the right.
We are nearly to the top of Deco 969. My photo tour is going to start on the front of the building an work counterclockwise around the building with the final view from more of a distance on E. 4th, between Grove and Pecan Streets.
Almost all of the formwork has been removed from the 23rd floor showing the double slab for the bottom of the pool and the main roof deck on the 24th floor. In the penthouse wing, you can see the rebar in place for the columns on the 27th floor.
The view from a little away down Commerce Street shows that a few of the columns have been poured on the 27th floor. You can tell that this is the top of the building because the rebar that is extending out from the top of the column does not extend a few feet vertically, but now turns horizontally to tie into the main roof slab. None of the column rebar on the south wall extends above this point.
On this next view, I was shooting into the sun, so I stood on the north side of the Young Women's Leadership Academy using the shadow of the building to protect the lens from shooting directly into the sun. This view shows the form work for the roof, the stair going to serve that level is in place. Rebar for the main elevator/stair core has been placed for the overrun and stair access to the roof. You can also see the 24th floor lounge that is set back from the north wall and from the west wall to allow the pool to be built on the roof. You also see the columns have been extended up to serve as decorative elements for the 25th floor rooftop garden.
Finally, this is a view from E. 4th Street between Grove and Pecan. Here, you can see the elevator overrun forms for the service elevator on the east end of the penthouse wing. Right now, the building is very close to its final height, and I look forward to see a tree on top of the building marking the building's final structural height very soon. Note: topping out ceremonies are usually done for the building achieving its greatest structural height. The lantern and miscellaneous roof screens to hide equipment usually don't count toward the ceremony, but they do count toward the total height of the building.
If you have any questions or comment about the building, now is the time to ask the resident architect. However, I am not involved with the building, so there is a chance I might not be able to answer the question. The historic Mt. Gilead Baptist Church is in the foreground.
The River District location was a problem from the beginning. Not only did I prepare the construction documents for the finish out of Lazy Daisy, I also revised the drawings to be a second location for Boozie's. The landlord there was difficult, and I think that is one of the reasons the building is still vacant.
They are just directly infilling the openings. There is one thing to note. The infill is being reinforced with steel rebar and the cells of the concrete block are going to be filled with concrete. This new wall will protect the openings. I also suspect that the finish material will be granite panels that either match or contrast with the existing. I would imagine that keeping the homeless from sleeping on the ledges is the primary reason for this action.
Architectural lesson: The actual name of the block is a "concrete masonry unit". It's often abbreviated C.M.U. It has other names, one of which is concrete block and another is cinder block.
Historical lesson: This masonry infill is being placed on the oldest structure within the AT&T Complex. It was built as a 3 story building in 1926 and was designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick. That one building has been expanded vertically twice by adding 3 more floors in 1929 and the final 2 floors in 1965. Also, the 1920's facade was altered to have the building appear more like the 1950s design of the other structures.
You are welcome. I always look in night photographs to see if any of the stars show in the sky. Normally, I wouldn't point out the constellations or a particular star (I might do it for a planet), but Orion really showed up in one of the photographs. Sirius was the bright star on the far left of that photograph, so I had to make note of them.