The Natural Spaces Being Built into the ExxonMobil Campus

Here are some new renderings of the spaces between the buildings on the ExxonMobil campus under construction in Springwoods Village. The Houston Business Journal’s Shaina Zucker reports that the 20 or so office buildings that will constitute the 385-acre campus will be organized around “a central three-acre commons” much like the one, designed by Houston firm PDR, shown here. The commons, explains Zucker, is “modeled after great public squares found in Europe and the U.S.”


The rendering below shows an interior view of the atrium inside one of those 20 buildings.

Renderings: PDR

34 Comment

  • I like the gardens, nice landscape touch–ironic that an oil company would create such bucolic headquarters as it pollutes the rest of the world–how about a garden next to its massive plant in Baton Rouge that belches pollution all over the city–thoughts?

  • The great public squares of Europe aren’t typically off limits to all but the employees of one large oil company.

  • Who the hell gives a shit about Baton Rouge?

  • It looks nice, just a bit much.

  • Seriously why should most of us care? The great majority of Houstonians don’t work for Exxon so it’s not like we all could enjoy these “gardens”. They are private, not public (as is most things in Texas are). Also, most “great public squares in Europe” are usually found in the central core of European cities, not out in blurbs. Sorry, but lets not make this typical corporate campus out to be something it is not!

  • Geez, gosh forbid they hadn’t clear cut the whole “campus” to begin with.

  • miss_msry, they didn’t clear cut the entire campus, just the portions where buildings and roads are being built. Besides, it’s not like it was an old growth forest that had never been cut. That tract was probably clear cut 2 or 3 times in the past.

  • so when is exxon-mobil going to provide the carbon footprint for their full development?

  • This garden will be as vacant as a graveyard 99% of the time. Building a magnificent garden in the middle of nowhere gated off from the world to enjoy. The great common areas, urban gardens, and squares of cities are great because of the way people interact with them. It’s people from all walks of life…business people, residents, tourists….all using that area as part of something greater. This is an isolated monument in spite of itself. To heck with you Exxon….no one still likes you, and this is why. If the old boring downtown tower could get any less soulless than it is now, it will be when you vacate it and leave Houston for fake-Houston.

  • Compaq had a campus like this closer to town. Exxon could have had that cheap after the sell out to HP, which couldn’t get rid of the Texas property and staff fast enough.

  • Are you commies forgetting that this is private land and they can do what they please? Exxon is providing a valuable product to run your over-polluting Vespa and creating a park for their employees…. Are y’ll mad because it’s a park y’all are not allowed to “Occupy”?

  • Can you imagine the cost of this self serving campus. Will it be open for the public to enjoy? Not on your life. They will sell it as a prudent financial consolidation of all their other campuses when in reality it’s cost will far exceed any consolidation and be Tillersons gift to himself.

  • 3 acre park out of 300 acre campus.
    very very impressive. at least grow some
    coastal bermuda or raise some quality
    Texas beef (or Spanish goats or catfish
    ponds) grow something for all the Humble Oils Co. who will now live up there to eat . . . . is that too much to ask of “upper” level management? or their a-lickin’ “architects” ? ? ?

    just sayin’ me makes a great garlic/dill
    sweet onion tartar sauce for dem home raised catfishes.

  • I have traveled Europe and many of the great American Cities and there is still nothing in Houston like the “Great Public Squares” this article mentions including this Springwood Village site… perhaps the closest thing to the European public squares would be the Portofino Shopping center up the street across from the Woodlands. This Springwood square looks like Discovery Greens un-innovative little brother at best.

  • So let me get this straight,
    They’re putting in a great “natural” setting / “common” space that will be limited for all intensive purposes to its employees in the middle of a faux-urban yet sprawling campus that was placed in a suburb by leveling an actual forested / natural setting. Oh and the bucolic setting of this campus is going to be where decisions about how to better exploit the earth’s fossil fuels are to be made. To which the burning of the fossil fuels will lead to the destruction of the ecosystems the park is to be modeled after.
    This is so rich with irony. I mean… it’s seriously the Foie gras of irony. Nothing tops this. Nothing.

  • @cas. Hp sold 1/2 of the campus to Lone Star College & Noble Energy. hp has approx 8000 employees in NW Houston. I am one of them.

  • Lots of haters on here. Jealous of working for the largest oil company I see! Get over yourselves.
    I look forward to working there. Its going to be an awesome campus.

  • It would be a great public service and a nice message to the community if they’d build this campus around a fracking well. They could show Americans that it’s perfectly natural living with bathroom faucets that spew fire.

  • I like it, looks great imo

  • Haters gonna hate.

  • @newurbanite I wouldn’t compare the Portofino Plaza to a “Great Public Square” Market Street in The Woodlands would be more like it. But what about Herman Park, or any of the area around the Zoo? That seems the closest to a Public Square.

  • The campus will be a great place to work, and walkable to/from Springwoods Village. They’re going for a university campus design, trying to encourage collegiality and cross-pollination of ideas. I like it.

  • newurbanite, this park area is not a part of the Springwoods Village Center. It’s the center of the ExxonMobil campus, which will house around 10,000 employees. With spending most of the day in an open work environment, employees will need a break with a change of scenery. But take your laptop with you, so you can still do your work out in the park.

    Joel, the Chronical article mentions other aspects of the campus – sustainability is high on the list. Buildings are 40% more efficient that comparably sized buildings, and water usage is reduced 80%. The open concept and glass walls are to let in natural light to reduce artificial light usage. The 3 lakes on site will collect run-off for use in maintaining the landscaping, and most of the campus is being left in a natural state. Most of this area was an old planted pine forest that had been harvested mutiple times, allowing chinese tallows to invade. ExxonMobil is replanting with 10 different native tree species from a tree farm they started in Tomball several years ago.

    And for those thinking the Wellness and child care centers are perks, employees will still have to pay for using these facilities.

  • Oh you commies! Don’t you just love it when people who don’t really have anything productive to say just throw out the commie insult? And who can forget marxist fascist, since actually understanding what marxism and fascism means (and that using them together is nonsensical) would be too difficult so we can just double up on the insult!

  • you guys realize you are complaining about someone’s private garden? what does your company’s garden look like? Oh yeah, that’s right . . . .
    I think it looks awesome, but not nice enough to get me to move up there. They are going to have serious attrition problems at first.

  • @hardworkingwoman, haters gonna hate, they especially hate that their Art Appreciation degree and a Starbucks career are not cutting it in today’s world, so they disparage success in any shape or form.

  • Looks a lot like Halliburton’s north belt campus. Employees enjoy it every day before work, lunch time and after work, they have incorporated running trails and outdoor places to eat and socialize (when it’s not 98 degrees). It’s beautiful and it’s not uncommon to find yourself running with the CEO one day and with a machinist the next. These companies are made up of people, people from all walks of life and all corners of the earth. From my experience working abroad, I would compare the work/lifestyle landscape of these campuses more to a Scandinavian model.

  • Commonsense is a troll who just employed the left wing version of Godwins law. If he wants to use association fallacies to make his case. Then by all means… let him. It’s still a fallacy, and its still a bad argument.

    That being said, I have no problem with what XOM does with their land. Would I prefer if they built a highrise in the loop? Sure. But that argument has already been made, and lost.

  • This “Exxon Sustainability Pleasantville” is indeed in bizarre contrast to its nearby dirty and toxic production facilities:

  • Furthermore, since fracking chemicals pose no health risk to people as they claim, they should offer it bottled in the employee lounges instead of water. They could have ponds of the stuff teeming with fish and frogs and pretty native plants, and the Exxon campus could be a shining beacon of enlightened urban planning, built to coexist with the industry. We’ve been living with it for decades anyway, don’t see the big deal.

  • Allen Parkway: Can you offer your insight on the strategic importance of HP’s remaining presence in Houston? I’m curious about the role the local HP divisions play in the company’s overall strategy & how much HP values its Compaq legacy.

  • That area was old growth forest before it got clear cut. The tallows are to the south of the Exxon campus. Exxon did save some of the trees however. I used to survey the area before the construction.

  • Are they still building the underground tunnels? Moving 30 miles from downtown with tunnels almost assures survival in case of a suitcase nuke detonation near downtown.

  • sweet, this is such excellent cover. major cannabis opportunity in the back of the property behind the treeline, all it takes is one or two friendlys on the inside, and constables/county will never even think about saying boo to XOM. I know all you bitches love capitalism, amirite??