OMA / Jason Long’s Adaptive Reuse of Historic Houston Post Office Opens to the Public

The public is now able to see the first phase of POST Houston’s redevelopment. Jason Long and OMA New York transformed the old Post Office mail sorting warehouse to become a public destination and cultural venue. They used adaptive reuse and made precise interventions to make it more usable.

© Leonid Furmansky

Built in 1962, the Barbara Jordan Post Office warehouse measures 500,000 feet (46,500 sq metres). It was used until 2015 by the United States Postal Service (USPS). In 2019, the site was redeveloped. The idea was to preserve the enormous building and integrate it into downtown Houston. Jason Long’s design transforms the warehouse into an economic and cultural hub that will bring a vibrant new life to the area.

© Leonid Furmansky

POST Houston will reflect the variety that makes Houston so fascinating: a microcosm of the city’s diversity, a fusion of culture, food and tropical urbanism all within a concrete shell. We are trying to draw people into and through the building by cutting into it and putting different programs in every corner. This will allow us to place weddings next food halls next concerts next to new ways to work and make Houston a city that is bold and ambitious. Jason Long, OMA Partner

The project creates a series if paths through the warehouse volume. It establishes three programmatic strips that are dedicated to culture, retail, food market, and collaborative workspaces. Vertically, the building has a commercial ground plan, a second floor of offices and a rooftop garden. These atriums are divided by three atriums, X, O and Z. Each has a unique monumental staircase that leads to the roofscape. These staircases, which double, intertwine and expand, are intended to facilitate social interaction and chance encounters.

© Scott Shigley

POST Market is located in the O-atrium and features a series stainless steel elements such as seating, counters, and kitchens. These create a system that includes kiosks in varying shapes and orientations organized in clusters. Skylawn on the rooftop houses two additional restaurants as well as an urban farm. These, along with the landscaped garden, shaded gardens, and recreational areas, add to downtown Houston’s public realm.

© Leonid Furmansky

OMA/ Jason Long also designed the 713 Music Hall, which is located in the eastern wing at POST Houston. The music venue can accommodate 5000 people and features a flexible main performance area with raked seating that hovers above the general assembly area. This allows for different configurations.