in the heart of downtown Dallas, Republic Center is a Class A, mixed-use
office and retail project residing on one of the largest contiguous blocks.
Republic Center has been a Dallas landmark since 1954 and was completely
restored in 2000 with a $75 million renovation to create a state-of-the-art
Republic Center's aluminum-plated façade with four-pointed stars
has long been a recognizable part of the Dallas skyline. The project was
originally constructed in 1954 as the Republic National Bank Building.
Bank officials wanted a building that would stand out boldly and represent
an optimistic future for Texas and the Southwest. The design needed to
be entirely original and unique, but familiar and traditional at the same
time. Legendary architect Wallace K. Harrison was selected to design the
project. Harrison incorporated the use of an exterior shell of interlocking
aluminum plates to create the now-familiar star motif to create Republic
Center's shimmering façade.
The complex was built in three stages, with Tower I opening on December
1, 1954. Dallas society turned out for the elaborate festivities held
at Fair Park. Major R.L. Thornton, whose Mercantile National Bank had
been Dallas' highest building before Republic's completion, enviously
quipped, "It's a fine building, if a bit too high to suit us."
At the time it was built, Republic Center was the tallest building west
of the Mississippi, topped only by the skylines of New York, Chicago and
Cleveland. No expense was spared in creating one of the most remarkable
buildings of its time. Engineering feats such as a column-free lobby expanse
are extravagances that would not be replicated today. In order to create
the unobstructed lobby, upper floors had to be hung from above. The lobby
was finished with exquisite marble, inlaid wood and 3,000 square feet
of pure gold leaf.
In 1964, a 50-story tower was added to the complex.
In 1980 an eight-story building connecting the two towers was completed.
By today's standards, Republic Center is over-engineered. In fact, most
of the specifications were double the legal requirement. Enough structural
steel was used to lay more than 65 miles of railroad tracks, and the blueprints
weighed more than three-and-a-half tons. Innovations such as underground
drive-through banking and valet parking were incorporated within the building.
Elevators sped at a phenomenal rate of 1,400 feet a minute, which makes
them among the fastest in the nation even now.
Republic National Bank symbolized an optimistic view of the future and
helped make Dallas a financial center for the Southwest. The restored
Republic Center will lead Dallas into the 21st century while reminding
future generations of the spirit and commitment that made our city great.