Absence (and Renovation) Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

500 Chicon

The TxA office, shiny and new after months of renovation – photo by Alyssa Morris

After several eager attempts, the TxA staff have finally begun to move upstairs into our freshly constructed office space. While the communications team will miss the water feature in our temporary basement office (a persistently leaky dishwasher that provided us with an endless stream of water and entertainment), the windows we have gained more than make up for it. Many thanks to Flynn Construction for being excellent partners in the process. 

As with any renovation project, there have been growing pains as we learn to navigate our new spaces — how do we communicate when we aren’t sitting right next to each other? What do we do with this much desk space? How can it possibly be so quiet? This has been a constant refrain as our construction crew has begun to move out and the newly installed soundproofing has begun to do its work. 

So far, favorite features of the updated space include a new quiet room, cozily equipped with two comfy chairs, and a flexible teamwork space where we can plan new issues of Texas Architect on giant whiteboards to our hearts’ content. Care to read a back issue of the magazine from the '70s? We have situated an archive in the loft, complete with a table and chairs for an optimal reading experience.

Most of all, we have a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life, like a functioning kitchen where we can eat lunch again, and the peace of mind of knowing that nothing will be falling from the ceiling onto our desks. Already the air feels lighter, and all of us still doing double takes as we walk into our new space and marvel that it is not only done, but also beautiful.

Plans for the future include the installation of a system to hang and showcase art, and ideas for hosting movie nights with our new projector. Work at the moment includes a bit of light moving or dish organization in addition to our normal activities in support of our members. All of this is to ensure everyone will have a comfortable and exciting place to visit in the future. Watch this space for information about our upcoming open house, when we look forward to officially unveiling our improved offices. Our first visitors arrived this past Friday, when the 2016 Design Awards jury convened at 500 Chicon to select the competition winners.

Meanwhile, I’ve kept my hard hat as a memento of the tumult of my first few months at TxA. I think I might plant some succulents in it to liven up my brand new desk.