PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston July_August 2021_rev

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Page 51 of 99

T here are many, many layers to this story. First, the numbers are staggering: 16 acres, a million square feet. The redevelopment of the 1960s modernist Barbara Jordan downtown post office on Franklin Street, which served as the main hub for mail for the fourth largest city in the nation for more than half a century, is not for the faint of heart. This was an edifice where 10,000 federal employees worked daily, deployed in three shifts. The building itself aligns with our time: It was named in honor of Barbara Jordan, who broke gender and race barriers as a Texas legislator then U.S. Congresswoman. Iconic architecture firms separated by 50 years are also part of this transformation tale: Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson, Houston (one of the two firms that erected the Astrodome), who built the structure in 1962, and global firm OMA/Jason Long, NYC (OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam in 1975), which is reworking the decommissioned post office to be reborn as POST Houston opening this fall. Then there's Chicago- headquartered landscape architect Hoerr Schaudt (Hermann Park's McGovern Centennial Gardens), which has designed seven rooftop gardens atop POST Houston that would be the envy of many a botanical park (from the Bamboo Garden to the Brazilian Water Garden — the latter, a nod to late South American landscape master Roberto Burle Marx). An adjoining rooftop farm comprises the Skylawn, where the harvest will be plucked daily for two well-known chef-concept rooftop restaurants (names to be revealed). All of this is directed by 30-something Kirby Liu, son of Houston real estate developer Frank Liu, whose firm Lovett Commercial acquired the property in 2015. The elder Liu is a first-generation Chinese-American who left Vietnam as a teenager and attended Rice University on a scholarship. Frank Liu's other real estate companies include InTown Homes and Lovett Homes — the latter name referencing his dorm, Lovett College, at his alma mater. Frank Liu's self-made success enabled his family foundation to donate $16.5 million to Rice for an EPIC: FIRST LOOK AT POST HOUSTON OPENING THIS FALL By Catherine D. Anspon (continued) POST Houston's Vladimir Tatlin-inspired staircase under construction, designed by architecture firm OMA/Jason Long. OMA was founded by Rem Koolhaas, Rotterdam. 34

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