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Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

United States Architecture News - Nov 8, 2019 - 10:37   1017 views

Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

Los Angeles-based architecture practice Kevin Daly Architects, together with Mexico City-based PRODUCTORA and TLS Landscape Architecture, has won the international competition to design the new Houston Endowment Headquarters

The team's design were selected from the strong shortlisted teams, including Deborah Berke Partners, Atelier Ten, Olson Kundig, Schaum/Shieh Architects, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), 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. 

Kevin Daly Architects' winning design concept was praised as a dynamic response to Houston’s architectural and landscape tradition.  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 foundation’s aims are to best meet the needs of the community and achieve lasting positive change for the greater Houston region.

Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

The distinguished selection committee - chaired by Joseph C. Dilg and composed of Guy Hagstette, Ann Stern, Tom Forney, Alex Washburn, Meejin Yoon, Malcolm Reading - 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 use of daylight within the building and minimizing solar gain. 

Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

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.  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," said Kevin Daly, Principal, Kevin Daly Architects.

"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."

Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

The winning team will now work with the client and stakeholders to develop this initial design concept. Longer term, they may work with the Endowment to consult with the local community and the city authorities on improvements to Spotts Park, including the planting of new trees.

"We are thrilled with the design and the team – this is a hugely energizing moment for Houston Endowment.  The new building will help us reach out to new audiences and better communicate the work we do everyday with our community partners. We are excited this effort is publicly underway," said Ann Stern, President and CEO, Houston Endowment.

"Our community partners tell us that Houston Endowment is a grounding force in an ever-changing dynamic city. We see our move from the 64th floor in downtown Houston to this new home as a manifestation of this wonderful compliment."

Kevin Daly Architects wins Houston Endowment Headquarters International Design Competition

Established in 1937, Houston Endowment is a leader in Houston’s philanthropic sphere. The foundation works to support under-resourced communities in the greater Houston area, and in 2018 provided funding of c. US$75 million to over 200 organizations in the education, healthcare, immigration, environmental and arts fields.

All images courtesy of Kevin Daly Architects

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