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City Center, Fort Worth, TX, 1978-1983


201 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX
“I have been influenced by the fact that people perceive the first six stories (or 120 feet) of a high-rise building in a very different way from the rest of it. I came to that 120 feet because it has been shown (and I tested this myself) that most people can’t recognize other people from more than 120 feet. So what happens higher than this matters only as seen from a great distance. Therefore, you can argue that above 120 feet, the high-rise tower can be scaleless, but below this level, the building must achieve a human scale... One of the unique things about these towers is that they are always leading you around from one facade to another. They are not frontal. They are not on axis, or not usually at least.. I managed, in the 120-foot vertical span that counts as human scale, to make each of the four sides of each tower start at a different height from the ground. Several facets of the towers begin at a point only one story off the sidewalk, others begin at six stories, the rest are somewhere in between. At the base of the towers this creates a loggia of varying heights into which are placed a bank, lobbies, and other elements. At the pedestrian level, this loggia is in scale with some very delicate adjoining buildings.
On every tower floor each one of the four corners is brought forward in a trapezoidal projection, adding three additional planes of window wall and additional floor area. In addition to the commercial attractiveness of this device, the parts that are brought forward reflect themselves in the opposite tower. Each facade then appears as a cluster of towers in reflection, not as a single shaft. I have also added what I call hinges , projecting glassed-in elements marking the intersection of each tower wall with its base. At the top of each tower are little leftover hinges that are not big enough to read the way the lower ones do...
I think the organization of the Fort Worth buildings is very clear. Further these towers show how they are constructed and what they are made of. I still think buildings should do this. This is very old-fashioned of me, I know."
Interview with Mildred F. Schmertz, 1985

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