Houston Deco: Houston's Modernistic Architecture
1314 Texas Ave.
Historic name: Petroleum Building
Current name: Great Southwest Building
Completed: 1927
Architects: Alfred C. Bossom (New York) with Maurice J. Sullivan and Briscoe & Dixon

This transitional building, inspired by Mayan pyramids, introduced the stepped-back skyscraper to Houston, a type later refined in the Gulf Building. The Petroleum Building's decoration features Mayan relief figures, a characteristic Art Deco use of exotic design motifs. Except for the installation of plate glass windows, the building's appearance remains substantially unchanged.

above | façade, 1930s
detail (top) | façade detail, 2007
detail (upper center)
| relief detail, 2006
detail (lower center) | garage ceiling relief, 2007
detail (bottom) | grotesque, 2007

Photo courtesy Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
  Copyright 2014 Preservation Houston | terms of use | contact us