A team led by Kevin Daly Architects (KDA) with Mexico City-based PRODUCTORA, in collaboration with TLS Landscape Architecture, has won the international competition to design the new Houston Endowment Headquarters.
The new Headquarters will enable Houston Endowment, one of the largest private foundations in Texas, to relocate from its current offices in the city's business district and embed itself within the community. The initiative will give the philanthropy a more accessible, welcoming base from which to work, bringing people from public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors together.
The Selection Committee was unanimous in the choice of the winning team, which beat 120 others in the course of the two-stage competition to secure the commission for this US$20 million fast-track project, due to open in 2022.
The winning design concept envisages an airy, elegant superstructure generously shaded by a large canopy within a grove of oak trees. The proposal is strongly connected to the site and context: the landscape and history of Spotts Park. In KDA's words, the new building, which is attuned to Houston's demanding climate, is intended to be "as welcoming as the shadow beneath a tree."
The intricate lattice of the roof canopy - the design's 'fifth elevation' - will offer a sense of shelter to both the organization and the local community, whilst practically maximizing the 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 awnings. The design is intended to promote healthy working and offers welcoming engagement spaces that provide for convening and collaborating with the community.
"We are really honored to be chosen for this project," commented Kevin Daly, Principal, Kevin Daly Architects. "Houston Endowment is fundamentally about helping to define and build toward Houston's future. We were challenged to capture that mission in the design of this project through resilience and energy conservation.
"The living canopy of Houston was a huge influence on the team: the tradition of buildings that balance the being "a part of" and "apart from" the living landscape of the city was inspiring. We wanted to establish a continuity between the park setting and the vocabulary of the building.
"With our collaborators at PRODUCTORA in Mexico City, we wanted to focus on fundamental building elements: the loggia, veranda, the canopy and the screen. These work together in a climate like Houston's to create openness and accessibility while balancing the effects of the environment."
Photos: Courtesy of Kevin Daly Architects