Gerald Hines, developer behind iconic Waterwall near Galleria, dies at 95

KTRK logo
Monday, August 24, 2020
Developer who helped shape Houston skyline dies
EMBED <>More Videos

Don't know much about architecture in Houston? You might recognize more than you think thanks to developer Gerald D. Hines, who passed away at 95.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gerald Hines, a developer whose firm is known for building some of the most iconic landmarks in Houston, has died. He was 95.

Hines died peacefully at his home on Sunday while surrounded by family.

Hines was the founder and chairman of his namesake firm, started in 1957 in Houston.

His company shared a salute Monday morning with an interactive look at his life.

The real estate legend would go on to shape the city through his company, creating buildings native Houstonians or those who have lived in the city for a while will recognize.

According to his company's website, a decade of prolific building began on Richmond Avenue in 1960. It's along that corridor where you'll find several International-style buildings along with a group of office/warehouse buildings for high-profile companies.

Ever been along Richmond Avenue? In 1960, Hines began a decade of building along this corridor.

Shopped at the Houston Galleria mall? In 1963, Hines's firm completed Joske's department store, which is now Dillard's. It was the first major building on Post Oak Boulevard. A few years later, that would be followed by a ground breaking for famed Galleria anchor store Neiman Marcus.

Remember Joske's? The department store was completed in 1963, but if you don't know that name, you may know it by it's current moniker: Dillard's.

And you've probably taken pictures at the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, which includes the semi-circular architectural fountain at 2800 Post Oak Boulevard. Hines developed the sculptural Waterwall in the early 1980s, commissioning the fountain be built next to Williams Tower (formerly Transco Tower), which he also commissioned.

Posed in front of the Waterwall? It was created in 1983.

Hine's firm moved into Williams Tower in 1983, the tallest building outside a central business district in the U.S.

Through the years, Hines' company would be responsible for prime real estate along the West Loop, the Galleria itself, the 50-story One Shell Plaza, the tallest reinforced concrete structure in the world, and a tract of land known as First Colony, marking the largest land value deal in Texas.

Another great feat was building the 75-story Texas Commerce Tower (now known as the JPMorgan Chase Tower/600 Travis), the tallest tower in Texas in 1982. It was designed by I.M. Pei.

JPMorgan Chase Tower/600 Travis, left, was designed by I.M. Pei, and it's the tallest in Texas. One Shell Plaza, pictured on the right, was Hines's first skyscraper.

Here are several more notable buildings you may recognize from Hines's group.

  • One Post Oak Central and Pennzoil Place
  • Hilton Americas-Houston
  • Toyota Center
  • 717 Texas

Hines was also known for his work outside of Houston, including the completion of One Shell Square in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1972 and projects in Chicago, Manhattan, Seattle, Miami, and Cincinnati. Internationally, the group was behind projects in Paris, Milan, Barcelona and more.

Today, Hines's firm has more than 4,800 employees and is active in 225 cities in 25 countries.

But within the Bayou City, the support of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston and the establishment of the ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition were among his proudest accomplishments, his website reads.

Hines was born in Gary, Indiana, on Aug. 15, 1925, and recently celebrated his 95th birthday.

He'll be laid to rest in a private family ceremony in Aspen, Colorado, before a celebration of life to be announced at a later date when it's safe to hold gatherings.