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City National Bank (FirstCity Bank) and FirstCity Centre
These two buildings display a more sensitive response to the urban context of downtown Austin. Eschewing glass curtain walls for exterior treatments of stone and brick, breaking up large masses, and stepping towers back from lower street-level facades, these towers eased the transition from the old buildings to the new. City National Bank, taking cues from the Tenneco Building ( HN6) in Houston, sets its ground-level glass deep inside the exposed structural frame, expanding the public space of the sidewalk.
One American Center (1984, Morris Aubry Architects) at 600 Congress Avenue also employs setbacks to reduce its presence on the street. These successes were dimmed, however, by controversies surrounding the increased density of large buildings that blocked views of the capitol at the head of Congress Avenue.
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