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Office Building of the Week: One American Center

One American Center


One American Center

One American Center was the tallest building in Austin upon its completion in the mid-eighties and is currently the 8th tallest skyscraper in The Live Music Capital of the World. With its distinctive three-tier tower, it is an emblematic part of the city skyline and currently holds the title of the third-tallest office building in the Texas capital.

Construction and Development

The edifice you see today was built on the site of an old 2-level Woolworth’s Department Store—a landmark Art Deco-style building in its aside. Construction work of the new high-rise officially started on August 16, 1982 and the One American Center was completed just two years later.

The area in which the development was being built was slightly altered in order to accommodate the new arrival. Street-front parking on Congress Avenue was done away with to make room for an expanded sidewalk and two rows of Texas red oak trees. One American Center was the tallest office space in Austin for nearly two decades until it was surpassed by the completion of the Frost Bank Tower in 2003.


The development has quite an enviable location, situated at the intersection of Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. One American Center is part of Austin’s booming financial district, not too far away from the state’s capitol building and the federal courthouse. A large number of nice eateries, fine dining restaurants, banks, cafés and shopping establishments are all within walking distance of the building.


One American Center was designed by Morris-Aubry Architects, a Houston-based firm, and its architectural style is classified as postmodern. The building’s distinctive three-tier tower is probably one of its most eye-catching characteristics, standing out from the crowd of high-rises that surrounds it. The stepped tiers have an exterior of pre-cast limestone and a trim of granite, which further emphasizes the tower’s unique shape.

The 20,000 cubic feet of granite used in One American Center’s construction are in fact two different types of material: Sunset Red from Marble Falls, TX and Charlie Brown from Oklahoma. The granite was taken to Mexico to be cut and polished in the city of Puebla.

The building boasts a 6-story atrium facing Congress Avenue, and its floor plates range in size from 4,100 to 36,000 square feet. Its elevators are among the fastest in the city, travelling at 1,000 feet per minute. Another interesting fact is that One American Center’s ground level façade features indentations to give the impression of individual and separate storefronts.

The building is LEED-certified, and has received a handful of Energy Star Awards for its energy-efficient practices.

Current Use & On-Site Amenities

The edifice offers over 500,000 square feet of Class A office space to tenants on 32 different levels. One American Center has attracted a wide variety of corporate, tech and creative companies, which enjoy the vibrant workplace culture and the convenient location of the development. The building’s impressive supply of amenities should also be noted, ranging from an on-site fitness center, a full-service bank and ATM machines to a juice bar, a florist, and a Starbucks coffee shop.

In Popular Culture

The iconic building is featured in the 1996 fantasy film “Michael,” starring John Travolta. At one point in the movie we see a scene with Austin’s 6th Street and the One American Center on the right and Chicago’s Willis Tower popping up on the left.

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