Houston, Texas
550,000 ft² renovation


Reimagine the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office in downtown Houston as a mixed-use complex featuring an arts and music venue, workspaces, and one of the world’s largest rooftop parks and farms. In cooperation with OMA, MTWTF, Powers Brown, Hoerr Schaudt, Dot Dash.


Design and documentation, testing, vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding


Site Analysis

  • Site offers a cultural terminus to the Bagby Street corridor in north downtown
  • Opportunity to reuse and feature architectural artifacts from the existing site (flag pole, column identification), preserving the historic significance of the original post office
  • Wayfinding program must be distinguishable but also align with the character of the existing structure and new architecture



Design Team Site Walk

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1/7 Mockup reviews and sign location planning
Interior construction

Scale Model: Site Identification

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1/3 Philip built a wood model of the site identification sign structure
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1/2 Internal illumination simulated with electroluminescent wire and printed vellum

Site Identification

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1/6 Material and Illumination studies
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1/10 Development of form and structure

Unused: path lamps

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1/2 Landscape lighting studies

Under Construction

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1/3 Scenes from a site visit

Studying: material transparency, flexibility, shadow color

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1/3 Clamp lamp and flexible PVC


Custom sewn 8'×12' graphic appliqué flag flying over 401 Franklin (flag by Kronberg's)
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Pre-flight visibility tests (pictured from a distance of ~300ft.)

Field Test

1:1 mockup of sign type 405
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1/5 Fabricating scale mockup of sign type 405 in Philip's wood shop

Field Test

1:1 mockup of sign type 406

Field Test

Using an augmented reality iPhone application to answer questions of scale for planned scaffolding installation.

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1/3 Scale visualization test
Scale visualization test

Workshop × MTWTF

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Initial planning and charrette at the office of MTWTF, New York

Site Visit, Workshop

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1/9 Site tour and project workshop with OMA, Powers Brown, Hoerr Schaudt, MTWTF

Announcement of Work

FORMATION is pleased to be part of the design team reimagining the former US Postal Service distribution center at 401 Franklin in Downtown Houston.

This important structure was originally designed by Wilson Morris Crain & Anderson and named in honor of Barbara Jordan, civil rights activist and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the US House of Representatives.

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1/2 The historic Barbara Jordan Post Office building in 1962, Barbara Jordan