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Case Study: Hess Tower



Hess Tower is a 29 story, 844,000 sq. ft. mixed use building containing commercial office, retail and dining space with an adjacent parking garage. It's located in Houston's Inner Loop East area adjacent to Discovery Green park, a 12 acre urban green space for outdoor activities, concerts and other entertainment events. Originally named Discovery Tower, it was renamed in 2009 for the Hess Corporation, its current lessee. It was formally completed in 2010 and is Houston's first downtown LEED Platinum office building.

Case Study: Hess Tower

Ruskin's Challenge:

Being a high-profile building in downtown Houston, the aesthetic design was a critical component to the success of the project. The architectural design incorporated a significant amount of architectural louvers in the lower elevations. The louvers needed to provide HVAC airflow in some areas with protection against rain penetration in storm conditions. Other areas were to be inactive with blankoff panels on their interior. All louvers, whether active and inactive, needed to have the same exterior appearance with consistent transitions from one area to the next. The louvers required custom fabrication for various features such as pipe penetrations, mitered corners, door openings and decorative architectural fins. Being in a hurricane-prone area, the louvers had to stand up to the high velocity winds that can occur in the area. Additionally, many of the areas of louver installations were inaccessible from the rear which required those louvers to be installed and fastened entirely from the exterior.

Ruskin's Solution:

Ruskin and its sales representative, Steve Bryan of ADW Corporation, partnered with NOW Specialties to successfully complete this LEED ® Platinum Certified project. ADW and NOW provided vital information on field conditions and adjoining construction to Ruskin’s project management team. This enabled our engineers to precisely design the complex louver system and its custom installation details.

The louver model selected for this prestigious project was the EME745. Its Wind Driven Rain (WDR) rating as well as its architectural continuous blade design was the perfect product for this demanding application. The two-piece louver construction includes an exterior 4” deep stationary louver with hidden mullions and a rear 3” deep vertical WDR louver that provides excellent weather protection for HVAC intakes. The two louvers are factory combined prior to shipment to the jobsite. Integral to the model is a special design for inactive areas. To keep the clean lines of the exterior louver, the 3” louver is replaced with a solid blank-off panel to block weather & humidity.

Ruskin’s Geneva, Alabama production facility fabricated the louvers & delivered to the jobsite in coordination with NOW’s installation schedule. Ruskin’s in-house painting facility is state-of-the-art that not only shortens the lead time to the job site, but includes a 20-year standard warranty for painted finishes. For Hess Tower, the louvers were coated with Ruskin’s Pearledize 70 finish (70% Floropolymer) in a custom Meteor Gray pearlescent color. Due to the extensive custom fabrication and installation requirements, a team effort was needed to successfully design, build and supply the louvers.


Ruskin is very proud of its contribution to the Hess Tower project. The louver system is a key element in the building’s form and function. With innovative products, comprehensive project design and management services and unmatched quality in fabrication, Ruskin is prepared to tackle any architectural challenge. That is why Ruskin is Specified by Many, Equaled by None!

Project Location: Hess Tower Case Study, Houston, TX

Architect: Gensler

Contractor: NOW Specialties, Inc.

Ruskin Architectural Products: EME745 Wind Driven Rain Resistant Louvers (See Mechanical Products Detail}

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