Hiphn mickey leland building view night aker 150603

Mickey Leland Federal Building Renovations

Comprehensive upgrade delivered economically

Project Facts

Location Houston, Texas
Owner General Services Administration
Size 375,000 SF
Cost $90 million
Status Completed 2014
Certifications LEED Platinum


The renovation of the Mickey Leland Federal Building required a complex engineering approach that allowed for the vision of the architect, LEED sustainability certification, and the ability to meet cost requirements. The modeling technique applied by the Walter P Moore team delivered above expectations. The updated building was transformed into a modern structure representing the significance of the Federal institution it holds. 

M031001400 N6 large

M031001400 N19 large

M031001400 N22 large

M031001400 large

M031001400 N8 large

1 / 1

About the project

Built in the early 1980s, the George Thomas “Mickey” Leland Federal Building is a 22-story office tower in downtown Houston. In 2009, the General Services Administration sought proposals to update and re-skin the structure. Since the original construction, new wind load provisions have been added to the code. In addition, the new skin design also included a more extensive “wind sail” area, requiring the existing lateral load system to be checked for compliance with current requirements.

The initial static analysis of the existing lateral force-resisting system showed the higher current code wind loads and new cladding configuration significantly overstressed many members. To avoid the need to strengthen all of them, Walter P Moore used an innovative analysis approach to better model the building’s structural behavior. This performance-based analysis accounted for the non-linear behavior of material using state-of-the-art methods instead of the approximate methods used in conventional industry practice. While this technique had previously been used in seismic design, it had never been applied to wind loads.

M031001400 N10 large

M031001400 N14 large

M031001400 N11 large

Hiphn mickey leland building detail aker 150603

1 / 1

LEED Innovation in Design

The alternative design approach made it economically feasible to save the entire existing structure by significantly reducing the number of members requiring strengthening, thus saving on the demolition and new materials. The savings were approximately 1,500 tons of concrete, 175 tons of reinforcing steel, and 350 tons of cradle-to-grave CO2 emissions that would have been generated from producing this quantity of structural metals. The design team applied for and achieved a LEED Innovation in Design (ID) credit for demonstrating that, using this approach, a 30% reduction in material quantities in the lateral load-resisting system had been achieved.

View of secure Mickey Leland Federal Building facade at night.


2016 ULI Houston Development Distinction Non-Profit

2016 GSA Design Award