Roy G. Cullen Building

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Roy G. Cullen Building
Roy G. Cullen Building 2.jpg
Roy G. Cullen Building across from the Cullen Family Plaza
General information
Architectural style Art Deco
Town or city Houston, Texas
Country United States
Coordinates 29°43′12″N 95°20′41″W / 29.72002°N 95.34478°W / 29.72002; -95.34478
Current tenants University of Houston
Construction started 1938
Completed 1939
Owner University of Houston System
Design and construction
Architect Lamar Q. Cato

The Roy G. Cullen Building (dedicated as Roy Gustav Cullen Memorial Building) is the oldest building on the present-day campus of the University of Houston. It is believed to be the first building on a campus of higher education in the United States with air conditioning.[1] Construction for the building began in 1938, and was completed the following year.[2]


A preliminary drawing of the tower entrance to the Roy G. Cullen Building by its architect in 1938

From its inception in 1927, the University of Houston did not have a dedicated campus. In 1936, when the university was still located at South Main Baptist Church, Houston philanthropists Julius Settegast and Ben Taub donated conjoining pieces of land totaling 110 acres (45 hectares) to the university. This land was to be used as a permanent campus for the University of Houston.

Although land had been donated to the university, it was not until two years later that the university was able to build on the location. Hugh Roy Cullen—a wealthy businessman—and his wife Lillie Cullen donated a combined $335,000 dollars for the first permanent building to be built at the campus. The building was named the "Roy Gustav Cullen Memorial Building" as a memorial to the Cullens' only son who had died in an oil field accident two years earlier. H.R. Cullen would later serve as Chairman of the Board of Regents for the university—and before his death in 1957—had donated over $11 million to the University of Houston.[3]


  1. ^ "Roy Gustav Cullen Memorial". UH Through Time: Buildings. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  2. ^ "Science Building and Roy G. Cullen Memorial Building". Houston Deco - Modernistic Architecture of the Texas Coast. Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Cullen, Hugh Roy". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 

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