Moving On

A historic, ritzy private club gives a sneak peek at its new look even as its old artifacts scatter

A historic, ritzy private club gives a sneak peek at its new look even as its old artifacts scatter

Houston Club, remodel, The Magnolia Room, January 2013
A rendering of the Magnolia Room at the Houston Club's new One Shell Plaza quarters.  Gensler
Houston Club, remodel, lobby, January 2013
A rendering of the new lobby Gensler
Houston Club, remodel, Allen's Landing, bar, January 2013
A rendering of Allen's Landing, the club's new bar. Gensler
One Shell Plaza, skyscraper, Houston
The Houston Club, now combined with the Plaza Club, will take over a space on the 49th floor of One Shell Plaza.  Khan.Princeton.edu
Houston Club, remodel, floor plan, January 2013
The renovation will be completed in two phases.  Gensler
Houston Club, remodel, The Magnolia Room, January 2013
Houston Club, remodel, lobby, January 2013
Houston Club, remodel, Allen's Landing, bar, January 2013
One Shell Plaza, skyscraper, Houston
Houston Club, remodel, floor plan, January 2013

Although the gold flatware, priceless artwork and antique furniture that lent an affluent ambience to the Houston Club will make the move to One Shell Plaza, the designer in charge of that building's renovation will do its best to "incorporate the vintage essence into the new space through its color palettes, luxury fabrics and high-end finishes." 

"It wasn't just the business class. It was very much a social club," Lisa Pope-Westerman, design director for Gensler, told the Houston Business Journal. "A place to bring their wives, in a very elaborate setting with phenomenal events."

 The contents of the city's oldest private social club — including every winged chair, antiquated piece of gym equipment and industrial-sized kitchen gadget — were auctioned. 

There was nothing of that grandeur in the current state of the building at 811 Rusk Street, its ceilings crumbling, its facilities shabby and its offices seemingly ransacked. 

The contents of the city's oldest private social club — including every winged chair, antiquated piece of gym equipment and industrial-sized kitchen gadget in the 120,000-square-foot facility — were auctioned off last weekend, with a cowboy painting selling for nearly $10,000 and a large map of the United States for nearly that. 

At 15,000 square feet, the space on the 49th floor of One Shell Plaza, home to the combined Houston Club and Plaza Club, will be significantly smaller once a $3.5 million renovation is completed. 

"There were portions of the old club that were not actively utilized," Pope-Westerman said. "We've tried to redefine what amenities are most relevant for today's businessman while still upholding their expectations for quality." 

The first phase of construction is expected to be complete this spring, with the second and final phase finished in September.