Architect: Mell Lawrence Architects
Located just two blocks from the State Capitol, the three-story 20 x 150-foot sliver at 811 Congress represents one of the few remaining historic buildings in downtown Austin. The structure, originally built in 1874 and used over the years to house a series of retail establishments, had been ravaged by fire and abandoned when Dennis Karbach bought the property to turn it into a residence. He hired Tim Cuppett, AIA, to help him realize the potential for the 9,000-sq. ft. shell hidden beneath an outmoded 1950s-era perforated-metal brise soleil.
Designed as a “village by a canal ,” this waterside residence integrates a series of small-scale, gable-roofed buildings with a narrow site along an inlet of Lake Austin. The architects of Lake/Flato once again have exhibited their adroit touch with materials and adeptness for capturing abundant outdoor views. Clustered like a rustic encampment, the individual buildings are designed to seamlessly blend their interiors with the exterior environment.
As one of two Miró Rivera projects selected for Design Awards this year, the renovation of this 1940s house required a fine balance between modern updates and traditional aspects of the original design.
Seton Medical Center, the largest medical and surgical acute care center in Austin, was in desperate need of a facelift. In 2005, Seton commissioned PageSoutherlandPage to expand and renovate its 1970s-era brick building. The scope of the expansion included 110,000 square feet of new facilities, including a day surgery center, a chapel with adjacent garden, a main entranceway, and a “front door image” for the hospital. When the work was completed, both the physical identity of the building and its capacity were improved.
An assemblage of 49 Corten steel plates arrayed in a coil-like shape, Miró Rivera Architects’ Trail Restroom is a captivating work of brutal simplicity.
The U.S. Courthouse in Alpine was universally admired by this year’s Design Awards jury for its simplicity of form and masterful response to the setting. The courthouse was a product of the U.S. General Service Administration’s Design Excellence Program with PageSoutherlandPage’s Austin office as the architect selected for the project.
The SHW Group, an Austin-based architectural and planning firm best known for its educational building design, developed the University of Texas at Brownsville’s Biomedical Research Laboratories and Community Sciences Building.
Located adjacent to Lady Bird Lake in Austin’s developing 27-acre Waterfront District, The Shore is a 22-story residential complex combining the luxury of lakeside living with the convenience of downtown accessibility. Designed for High Street Residential, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company, the complex sits within walking distance of the public hike and bike trail, Sixth Street’s nightlife, and the central business district.
Ever since 1962, when construction was completed on Interstate 35 through downtown Austin, the elevated highway effectively bisected the city between a prosperous west and a neglected east. Commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance to devise a solution to that perceived division, local firm Cotera + Reed Architects has imagined a permanent installation for a two-block section between Sixth and Eighth streets.
The complex development issues affecting Austin and the surrounding region are best understood when viewed as interwoven layers of culture and history suffused with equal amounts of enlightened leadership, misguided policies, good fortune, and poor planning.
It is hard for most of us to imagine the range of emotions and needs that a family experiences when a child is sick enough to require hospitalization. The staff and designers of the new Ronald McDonald House in Austin have clearly given this a lot of thought. The project offers a welcome refuge for parents and loved ones who keep vigil as their child undergoes treatment nearby at the Dell Children’s Medical Center. The latest of a national network built by Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Austin facility also merges purposeful design with sustainability. The architects’ success in creating an energy-efficient building has been recognized with the highest rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, making the Ronald McDonald House in Austin one of only three buildings in Texas to achieve LEED Platinum.
McKinney Green was the first LEED Platinum pre-certified shell and core project in Texas, to date one of only three in the state to achieve the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainability was established as a priority at the outset of the project by developer West World Holding Inc., a division of a Netherlands-based company. Advocating an integrated process, their intent was to build on knowledge gained from this project in future U.S. projects. After HDR was selected as the architect, Austin Commercial Construction was engaged early in the process for its experience in managing information as well as its record of completed projects.
When the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport shut down in 1999, the Austin City Council chose Catellus Development Group to transform the 711-acre site into a mixed-use “urban village.” As part of the development, local architectural firm Studio 8 was commissioned to design the first component—the renovation of an existing building that housed a private air terminal and an administrative office building.
Miró Rivera Architects’ Pedestrian Bridge was among three projects receiving top tier recognition in the 2006 The Architectural Review Awards for Emerging Architecture. Considered the best international award for young architects, the annual program celebrates the work of designers under the age of 45 who are at the start of their independent careers.
The new middle school building at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin represents one more step in a journey begun more than 15 years ago when school officials first collaborated with Austin architects Susman Tisdale Gayle. Over the years, STG has worked with the school to create a gracious campus composed of buildings set among large oaks and centered around what STG principal Jim Susman, AIA, calls “the community green”—the school’s athletic field.
IF all goes according to plan, on the morning of Feb. 25 the five-story structural frame that was once part of a planned $124-million office building for the Intel Corporation will be imploded to make way for a new federal courthouse. The skeletal remains of the unfinished project, abandoned by Intel in 2001 after a downturn in the technology sector, loomed for six years over the southwestern quadrant of downtown.
In constructing the $72 million Ullrich Water Treatment Plant expansion, the design team faced the challenge of addressing the community’s concerns while still adhering to the programmatic requirements.
On June 27, the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will open its doors as the first hospital in the world expected to achieve platinum LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council. Located on approximately 32 acres of the site formerly occupied by Austin’s Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, the four-story pediatric facility will replace the downtown Children’s Hospital of Austin with a complex three times its size.
The jury for the 2007 TSA Design Awards has been confirmed, with jurors scheduled to meet June 22–23 to review entries. The jury’s selections will be published in the September/October 2007 edition of Texas Architect. The awarded projects’ architects and owners will be honored during ceremonies at the TSA annual convention set Oct. 18-20 in Austin.
Breaking ground later this year, Ziegler Cooper Architects’ 55-story highrise of luxury condominiums will tower 680 feet above Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The $200 million project, scheduled to be completed in 2009, is expected to be the city’s tallest building.
In the early 1940s, the strip of asphalt known then as Austin Road served as a lively portal to the city that many San Antonians fondly recall for its many amusements. Lined on both sides by diners, motor courts, and nightclubs, Austin Road was a place where families enjoyed chocolate malts on a hot summer day and young couples danced the night away. Now called Austin Highway, visitors and locals alike headed there back then to lose themselves in the simple pleasures that San Antonio is still known for today.
AIA Austin honored 17 projects during the chapter’s 2007 Awards and Honors Gala held on May 12 at the Texas Memorial Museum on the University of Texas campus. The projects were selected from a pool of 65 entries submitted by local firms
The growing trend toward mixed-use developments in the United States is a welcome change from developments of the recent past where zoning more or less dictated single-use districts and led to an overall homogenization of our urban environment. And while they have much to offer, these new mixed-use developments have challenges to overcome if they are to thrive. It is clear that for them to function as relatively self-sufficient, sustainable communities, lessons must be incorporated from urban neighborhoods that have grown up over decades or, in some cases, centuries.
Art is important to Austinites, says Lauren Harris, director of mall marketing at the Domain, so the project’s developer installed 22 works by local artists to enhance the uniqueness of the setting