BHP Billiton Headquarters at Five Oaks Place – Houston, Texas

Consolidation is now just an everyday aspect of today’s business world. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the United States or abroad. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone, since everything tends to be “bigger in Texas”, that larger buildings and campuses are created by consolidation in major cities.  


Courtesy of Pickard Chilton Architects


BHP Billiton Petroleum, the oil and gas exploration, production development, and marketing arm of Australian mining company BHP Billiton Ltd., officially completed a several year leasing plan with Four Oaks Place’s New York-based owner TIAA-CREF to secure office space in a new building. BHP Billiton Petroleum currently has 1,800 employees in Houston and plans to have about 3,000 more in this new structure.


BHP has built this 30-story tower to house its global headquarters at Five Oaks Place, located at 1500 Post Oak Blvd. where they will be the sole tenant. The new building at the complex has changed the skyline within the Uptown District. The company’s employees were previously scattered between the Galleria area, downtown Houston, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. 



The building, designed by New Haven, Conn.-based Pickard Chilton Architects (PCA) Inc. with help from San Francisco-based Gensler’s Houston office, has a “skybridge” that connects the new building to the tower at Four Oaks Place (1360 Post Oak Blvd.) and a garage roof garden. BHP Billiton Petroleum did not disclose the cost of the building. Houston-based D.E. Harvey Builders Inc. had overseen the construction built on 2.72 acres.


PCA’s design called for a stunning structure featuring large expanses of glass for the curtain wall facade and lobby. Win-Con Inc. was selected as the facade contractor to install the intricate unitized facade and transparent lobby enclosure. The architect specified a custom Pilkington Planar™ structural glass system for the large lobby area for its optimal visual clarity and sleek design. The system was supplied to Win-Con by W&W Glass, LLC.



There were two main areas that received structural glass on the building podium. The 32 foot tall main wall is 80 feet wide with two angled wing walls at 25 feet wide each forming a trapezoidal shape. The time-tested Pilkington Planar™ glass fin wall system spans a total of 4,000 square feet. The smaller “T” lobby wall area is 32 feet tall by 5 feet wide. Each facade had large 5 foot wide by 10 foot tall lites. The face glass is comprised of Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass with Pilkington K Low-e on surface #4 for better thermal performance. The glass fins are also made from Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron laminated glass as well.


Due to the large sections of glass, many aspects of the conditions and materials, the design needed to be highly engineered by W&W/Pilkintgon. Houston has very high “windloads” – some up to 50 psf. W&W Glass/Pilkington engineers had to inset the Pilkington Planar™ 905 fittings further away from the corners to be able to make the glass work at an economical thickness while staying at only four (4) points of support. The walls were able to be base loaded to the ground via the laminated fins to reduce loading on structure at the head. Fins were spliced together on the ground and each was set in one large piece for faster erection.



There was a unique large door portal situation where the fins came down through the door portal frame to the ground. The header beam stainless steel clad “eyebrow” supplied by W&W Glass was connected directly to the laminated fins to allow for the doors to sit below it and hardware to be anchored. W&W Glass also supplied two large steel posts for the corners of the transition from the main wall to the wing walls for support.


On the interior, fins were anchored at the base below a stainless steel grate concealing them from view along with the perimeter mechanical systems.


In the end, all the technical aspects of the project helped the owner and architect construct this new office building to everyone’s satisfaction. The Houston skyline has changed and so has the location for many relocated employees who can now interact and collaborate more easily in the same complex.


For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals, visit our portfolio.


W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.


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