New Recreation and Commercial Facility
IMEG provided structural design services for the POST Houston recreation and commercial facility in Houston. The 700,000-sf building opened in 2021 and is a repurposing of the former U.S. Post Office Houston Processing Center into a multi-purpose office, retail, food, and entertainment facility.
Serving as a cultural hub for the community by providing working and recreational amenities such as a food hall, rooftop garden, co-working areas, and a live music venue, POST Houston provides an innovative reimagining of the area and reflects the cultural diversity of the city. IMEG assisted the owner in evaluating the property before it was purchased and advised on potential re-purposing concepts and additions. IMEG provided structural input to the owner and various architects for numerous conceptual studies and delivered the final construction documents and construction administration services for the implemented design.
IMEG coordinated with geotechnical engineers to verify existing foundations in order to support structural modifications that increased existing loads. Additionally, the team increased the roof live load capacity to support assembly loading and landscaping by bonding additional thickness of reinforced structural topping slab. Vendor-designed air-inflated ETFE long span roof structures were placed over several newly created atria which improved the integrity of the facility. IMEG also assisted in determining locations where large openings and full bays could be cut out of the existing structure without requiring structural revisions to the remaining structure.
The challenges of the project included timing, design, and coordination. Evaluating capacities of existing structural components to support new proposed loadings increased the original planned loading demands. Evaluations of cutting out large sections of the original structure for redesigning was another challenge as the integrity of the existing structure could not be compromised in order to accommodate new ideas or designs. The architecturally exposed geometric stairs responsible for the interior’s iconic look also was a challenge for the team due to the complexity of the design. In addition, the sloped seating within an event center created within the existing structure was similarly complex. The existing roof also had to be modified and designed to provide space and structural capacity for additional event space, shade structures, trees, and other landscape and hardscape features.
The project was successful in converting the once-abandoned post office warehouse-type building into a vibrant architectural space which engages the historic Buffalo Bayou on which Houston was founded. Considering Houston’s recent rise in popularity and influx of interstate residents, this addition will benefit and revitalize the cultural community of Houston’s central business district for years to come.