Uploaded by: Archetype Editor
Houston, United States
First purpose-built headquarters for the Foundation creates a more central, accessible, and welcoming base of operations along the Buffalo Bayou in Houston’s Spotts Park. Design facilitates a new way of working with the Foundation’s partners across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in an elegant, airy structure that meets the 2030 Net Zero Challenge.
The nearly 32,000-square-foot, $21 million building serves as the Foundation’s first purpose-built headquarters. The organization’s relocation from an office tower in Downtown Houston to an engaging, sustainable, and accessible new headquarters in Spotts Park reflects its on-the-ground ethic as a vital source of support and collaboration within the city. The building provides the Foundation with a new way of working with its partners across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and will support the mission of advancing equity of opportunity for the people of Greater Houston and enhancing the vibrancy of the region.
Kevin Daly, founder and principal of Kevin Daly Architects, said, “Attuned to Houston’s demanding climate, the new headquarters for Houston Endowment is intended to be as welcoming as the shadow beneath a tree. This could not have been achieved without Houston Endowment’s desire for a collaborative approach to design, which we fulfilled with our collaborator PRODUCTORA and landscape designer Tom Leader Studio. The Foundation’s brief challenged our team to represent the work of providing a network of support to organizations in Houston, to fully engage the landscape and complement Spotts Park, and to develop a robust environmental strategy that could be a roadmap for others in the city. We are grateful to the Houston Endowment for its belief in our approach.”
Ann B. Stern, Houston Endowment president and CEO said, “As a perpetual institution, it made sense for Houston Endowment to create a permanent home and a space that better supports how we approach our work today. The issues we seek to address are complex and can’t be solved by any one organization working alone. This new headquarters enables us to convene partners from across the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors, and to better serve the people of Greater Houston. We followed a
rigorous process to get to this point selecting a location that is easily accessible to convene our partners and establishing a design competition to find the right partners who would bring beautiful architecture to our city while prioritizing sustainability. kdA and PRODUCTURA understood our vision, and the design process guided us to the form that fits our future.”
The Houston Endowment headquarters has been thoughtfully designed to be the center of a network, equally a meeting place for members of the community and for the distribution of resources and expertise back to the community at large. The headquarters was imagined to have an anchoring quality in a transient city, a measure against the significant urban transformation that has followed the restoration of the Buffalo Bayou and the surrounding neighborhood.
The challenge of the project addressed by kdA and the design team was to create a building that is simultaneously a front door and a back porch for the organization. The front door is the public representation of the Foundation, formal enough to greet institutional partners while remaining approachable for any member of the community to feel welcome, with a strong sense of belonging for
collaborators and first-time visitors alike.
The building’s signature design element is an airy, elegant superstructure generously shaded by a large canopy within a grove of oak trees. The design is strongly connected to the site and context: the landscape and history of Spotts Park on the banks of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou. The intricate lattice of the sculptural roof canopy offers a sense of shelter to both the organization and the local community, encouraging the use of outdoor terraces, maximizing use of daylight within the building, and minimizing solar gain. Interior spaces are conceived within public and private zones and are highly flexible, linked to the park through a series of exterior terraces, shaded by the canopy. The design promotes healthy working and offers welcoming engagement spaces that provide zones for convening and collaborating with the community. The dynamic setting of the new headquarters allows the Houston Endowment unprecedented engagement with its many partners.
For the construction of the building, the architectural and engineering teams evaluated numerous systems, ultimately recommending the headquarters be constructed using a hybrid steel and crosslaminated timber (CLT) approach. CLT, a mass timber product consisting of layers of lumber glued together in alternate directions, offers exceptional strength while also enabling a reduced carbon footprint as a renewable resource, and steel framing provides both stability and flexibility. The building’s intricate latticed canopy maximizes daylight in the building, while minimizing cooling requirements and energy consumption. Together, steel and mass timber achieve a highly efficient and visually appealing new headquarters.
The 2030 Net Zero Challenge was set as the project’s primary sustainability objective, providing an achievable and forward-thinking framework and setting a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 through prioritizing energy-efficient planning and design. By including a geothermal well system, high-efficient rainscreen façade, and shade canopy, the carbon consumption of Houston Endowment headquarters will be reduced by 33%, as compared to a typical office building. The energy generation from the photovoltaic system will cover the balance of the required energy demand, therefore resulting in a “net zero” project.
A Home for Art
As a supporter of the vibrant arts community of Greater Houston, the Houston Endowment has purchased its permanent art collection with the new headquarters in mind, reflecting a bold vision to celebrate acclaimed local artists, lift up emerging artistic talent, and tell the stories of diverse people and communities in the region. The collection includes works by JooYoung Choi, Jamal Cyrus, Julie DeVries, Mark Francis, Sherry Tseng Hill, Julia Barbosa Landois, Rick Lowe, Matt Manalo, Delita Martin, Ami Mehta, Kate Mullholland, Phillip Pyle II, Preetika Rajgariah, and Gerardo Rosales.
ABOUT KEVIN DALY ARCHITECTS (kdA)
Kevin Daly Architects is an architectural practice based in Los Angeles and New York City. With a focus on craft, construction systems, and material research, the firm’s work interweaves innovation in technology and fabrication, new approaches to sustainability and urbanism, and a commitment to livability and economy.
Since establishing the firm in 1990, Kevin Daly has guided a design process that upholds the practical magic of architecture – an alchemy of craft, materials, and form. Buttressed by project-directed research, the work of kdA pursues design excellence in the public realm, creating communities for education, the arts, and dwelling, often by giving a second life to buildings through reclamation and consideration.
The firm’s award-winning portfolio includes environmental and socially responsive educational, residential, and institutional projects ranging in scale from single-room artist workspaces to campus master planning.
ABOUT HOUSTON ENDOWMENT
Houston Endowment is a private foundation that partners with others to achieve a vibrant and inclusive region where all residents can thrive. It advances equity of opportunity through deep commitments to PreK-12 public education and civic engagement; support cultural assets that engage and connect us; and drive sustainable change across our region.
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