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TENNECO BUILDING. The Tenneco Building in Houston, first known as the Tennessee Building, was completed in 1963 for the Tennessee Gas Transmission Company. The company was founded in Houston in 1943 to deliver natural gas by pipeline to defense plants in Appalachia in World War II. The firm expanded into a broad range of business fields, including oil exploration and production, chemical manufacturing, food products, and insurance. In 1966 the building was renamed when the firm incorporated as Tenneco, Incorporated.

The building, located at 1010 Milam Street, was designed by Edward C. Bassett of the national architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. The thirty-three-story structure has a fifty-foot colonnade at the base of its tower, a dark gray metallic aluminum exterior, and pink Texas granite plaza paving. It is a prominent example of the late modernist architectural idiom. A fountain by Richard C. Keating of the Houston branch of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill was installed at the Tenneco Building in 1984.


Stephen Fox, Houston Architectural Guide (Houston: American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter, 1990). Jim Hutton, Houston: A History of A Giant (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Continental Heritage, 1976). David G. McComb, Houston: The Bayou City (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969; rev. ed., Houston: A History, 1981). Lee and Marsha Tucker, Houston: A Sesquicentennial Commemorative (Houston: Pioneer, 1986).

Diana J. Kleiner


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "TENNECO BUILDING," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.