The city of San Antonio is steeped in culture and heritage. The influence of Spanish Missions, various Arts Movements, and classical styles of architecture are evident in the elements of its iconic skyline. The rich history of this three-hundred-year-old city is deeply contrasted by its modern developments – glass-clad towers comfortably sit next to stone and brick yesteryear monuments. One of the fastest-growing cities of the USA, San Antonio is strategically placed in the south-eastern corner of the Texas Triangle urban mega-region which comprises three other prominent cities – Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Austin.
Here are 15 tallest buildings in San Antonio:
1. TOWER OF THE AMERICAS
The centerpiece of the 1968 World’s Fair, the Tower of the Americas was designed by architect O’Neil Ford. The observation tower is 229 m tall and hosts a revolving restaurant that offers magnificent views of downtown San Antonio. It was the tallest observation tower in the USA from 1968 to 1996.
2. MARRIOTT RIVERCENTER
Built-in 1988, The Marriott Rivercenter by RTKL was intended to emulate the twin bell towers of the Mission Concepcion. It is the tallest multi-storied building, standing at a height of 166m above ground. While the Art Deco style of the tower speaks of its time, the hotel is set to be renovated in the coming years to reflect elements specific to San Antonio’s architecture.
3. GRAND HYATT SAN ANTONIO
The Grand Hyatt San Antonio was designed by renowned firms Arquitectonica and Kell Munoz Architects and was built in 2008. It is a luxurious mixed-use split-plan tower with residential and commercial uses, along with a business hotel and convention center.
4. TOWER LIFE BUILDING
Originally named the Smith-Young Tower, this building is a historic landmark of downtown San Antonio. It was built in 1929 and designed by the locally acclaimed firm Ayres & Ayres. It is an octagonal, neo-gothic masterpiece cladded in brick and green terracotta, and embellished with gargoyles. The tower features in the National Register of Historic Places.
5. FROST TOWER
A strikingly modern addition to the San Antonio skyline, the Frost Tower by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is a 122 m tall glass-clad skyscraper. Completed as recently as 2019, the tower is part of a new wave of iconic buildings in the city. The high-rise, which is aiming for a LEED Silver certification, was crowned the winner of the 2019 Best Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Project by Engineering News-Record, Texas.
6. BANK OF AMERICA PLAZA
Designed by world-renowned Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), the Bank of America Plaza is a landmark building in the Central Business District of San Antonio. The 118 m (28 story) tall postmodernist skyscraper was completed in 1984. It is cladded in brown granite and exhibits a contrast to today’s norm of curtain walled towers.
7. TOWERS ON PARK LANE
A departure from the bustling, commercial towers of downtown San Antonio, Towers on Park Lane is a retirement community designed by the international architectural firm HKS, Inc. Seemingly a typical postmodern skyscraper, this building is San Antonio’s tallest residential building.
8. MARRIOTT RIVERWALK
Situated on the vibrant RiverWalk in downtown San Antonio, and opposite the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk is a 106 m tall modern skyscraper with 30 storeys. It was conceived by RTKL and built-in 1979.
9. WYNDHAM SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK
The 99 m tall Wyndham Hotel is a modernist building by local architects Ayres & Ayres. It was built in 1957 and renovated in 2004 when a pyramid was added to the top of the structure to increase its height. The rooftop pool boasts of expansive views of the San Antonio skyline.
10. NIX PROFESSIONAL BUILDING
The Nix Professional is a hospital located in downtown San Antonio. It is 23 storeys high, and 98.5 m tall. The Art Deco building was designed by architect Henry Phelps and was constructed in 1931. At its completion, it was the largest and tallest hospital in the USA.
11. THOMPSON SAN ANTONIO HOTEL
The Thompson Hotel in downtown San Antonio is under construction and set to open in the fall of 2020. The modern building designed by Powers Brown Architecture and dedicated to the Arts District will stand at a height of 95.6 m when completed. It boasts of floor-to-ceiling panoramas of downtown San Antonio.
12. CITY TOWER
The City Tower, also known as the Frost Bank Tower, is a modernist building built-in 1975. It was designed by Charles Luckman Associates and is 91m tall. The building’s renovation is being touted as innovative adaptive reuse that saves money and has a minimal environmental impact.
Vidorra is a residential development with two twenty-story towers that rise to a height of 89m. It was designed by Humphreys and Partners Architects and completed in 2009. The post-modern building houses 314 luxury townhouse style homes.
14. BROADWAY SAN ANTONIO
The luxury residential project in uptown San Antonio was designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects and completed in 2010. The tower replaced the last Earl Abel’s Restaurant which stood at the corner of Broadway Street since 1940. The 85m tall postmodern style building incorporates sleek modern interiors.
15. DRURY PLAZA HOTEL – SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK
The Drury Plaza Hotel is an iconic landmark of San Antonio. It was one of the earliest towers to be built in the city in 1929. Using Art Deco ornamentation and Beaux-Arts fundamentals, the architecture firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White designed the 24-story skyscraper to incorporate traditional Texan patterns.