Rhode Partners builds Austin’s tallest skyscraper from cantilevered glass

Texas architecture firm Rhode Partners has built a 58-storey residential skyscraper in Austin, Texas, from stacked glass blocks angled around a central core.

Called The Independent, 688-foot-tall (212 metres) tower sits between Austin’s Seaholm District and Shoal Creek.

Rhode Partners designed the building
The tower resembles stacked Jenga blocks

It is several feet taller than The Austonian, a 56-storey residential tower that completed in the Texan capital in 2010.

Rhode Partners described the new apartment building as a “vertical neighbourhood”.

“As a new addition to the city’s skyline, The Independent’s striking silhouette represents the bold and innovative spirit of Austin,” Rhode Partners told Dezeen.

Rhode Partners built a swimming pool on the 9th floor
A swimming pool is located on the 9th floor. Photo is by Patrick Wong

Four distinct glass blocks are stacked in a formation resembling a Jenga tower. Residential units are arranged to provide each level with a different view of the city.

“Each tier is slid and mirrored around a central core, creating an assortment of unit types and views,” explained Rhode Partners.

The Independent is a tower in Austin, Texas
The Independent has expansive city views. Photo is by Jason O’Rear

The tower’s shape was informed by various site constraints, including an immovable utility line and a horizon protected by Austin’s Capitol View Corridor.

An amenity deck on the 34th floor which cantilevers, or juts out, over the city. With floor-to-ceiling glass window walls, the deck has unobstructed 360-degree views of Austin.

Owing to an efficient HVAC system, the tower is able to function as net-energy-neutral for a significant portion of the year.

Other sustainable measures include a regenerative elevator system and interior spaces with reduced drywall that is achieved through the use of locally sourced fly-ash concrete.

Minimal interiors line the rooms
Light wood lines interior spaces. Photo is by Jason O’Rear

The tower’s various amenity rooms are finished in walnut and white oak, with commissioned artworks and other built-in furnishings that elevate what Rhode Partners described as “a condo project with museum-influenced design”.

Founded in 2006 by Brett Rhode, Rhode Partners is an architecture and interior design office based in Austin, Texas.

More notable Texan architecture include a skyscraper with a glass-bottomed pool in Houston and a new canopy designed by Snøhetta for the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas.

Photography is by Nick Simonite unless otherwise stated