The Point Tower for More Walkable Urban Living

Characteristics & Advantages

In great part, the point tower typology came about to help provide higher density development for more walkable, urban living. A point tower lifts all residential units away from the hustle-and-bustle of the street while creating opportunities for desirable views for the residents, and more opportunities for active retail and commerce below.


One significant attribute of a point tower, for example, is its ability to reduce the street walleffect that is created by long, bulky buildings that pedestrians too often encounter on city streets. The street wall-effect is the result of form-based zoning codes prevalent in many major US cities, such as New York and Chicago, that create bulky layer-cake buildings. These buildings may narrow as the tower goes up but allowing only a thread of sunlight to reach the street level. Nevertheless, the street wall-effect remains, and it detracts from the pedestrian’s sense of safety and well-being, blocks healthy sunlight, and limits activity at street level.

Hines Aris Market Square

shown here, is an exemplar of the point tower endowed with good design to activate the street and enhance the city’s skyline. The architectural expression of this 32-story residential tower employs brick, and accents of stone and glass to articulate a well-detailed podium structure. Hines’ Aris Market Square is a luxury apartment tower that is home to 274 apartments ranging in size from 570 to 2,227 square feet, appointed with contemporary European-style kitchens, wood floors, and upscale bathrooms and closets.

Creating a pleasant human scale

At the street level of the Market Square Historic District, the tree-lined streets of Preston and Travis create a welcoming canopy of shade for outdoor dining. The bustling street level is articulated with a pilastered retail expression with expansive structural glass, and large-scale architectural canopies that cantilever out over the base of the retail to reinforce the pedestrian zone.

Other amenities afforded by the point tower-over-podium design typology in this instance include a stunning roof-top pool deck and terraces, and outdoor living and kitchen for entertaining.

A point tower is a compact, tall and slender residential building form with a small footprint, resting on a well appointed mixed-use podium below.

Scott Ziegler

Scott Ziegler, AIA

Senior Principal

Senior Principal

Scott Ziegler

Among its generous street-level amenities, Aris boasts the Bravery Chef Hall with its five distinctive miniature restaurants and three bars in one, and a Secret Garden reminiscent of the tree-shaded courtyards in the New Orleans French quarter.

Featured in this Case Study

Hines Aris Market Square

Houston, Texas