Houston architecture legacy lives on
Prolific Houston architect Alfred C. Finn designed some of the most important buildings in Texas during his long career between 1913 and 1961. His first commission was as a project manager for the Rice Hotel, now known as The Rice. It seems fitting that another of Finn’s notable projects, the original headquarters of Gulf Oil, built in 1914, was renovated as the AC Hotel by Marriott Houston Downtown, with a historically-appropriate design by MCS Architects, LLC. Dallas developer NewcrestImage purchased the building and met with the Texas Historical Commission (THC) while considering redevelopment of the property, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. In an interesting twist, the THC recommended the building be restored to the aesthetic of a previous renovation rather than the original construction. Architect Eugene Slater had renovated the building in 1996 and covered the original façade with a simple, modern skin, representative of the New Formalism style of the time. It was this version of the building that garnered it a place on the register of the historic place. PRISM worked with MCS Architects, LLC to develop exterior and interior renderings showcasing the refined modernist design. AC Hotel Houston opened in 2019. It features 195 guest rooms, a 3,650 s.f. ballroom, a cocktail lounge, and the AC Kitchen.