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Regent Square The largest of nine similar high-density, mixed-use projects planned for Houston, GID Urban Development Group’s Regent Square will transform 24 acres south of Allen Parkway into a four-block community connected by pedestrian walkways. David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services of Washington, D.C., is the master design architect working in collaboration with Houston-based Morris Architects. Select buildings will be designed by other firms, including Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Aponwao Design, B&D Studio, Hartman-Cox Architects, and Bowie Gridley Architects. The design of the buildings will draw upon traditional architectural styles, with exteriors of brick, stone, and stucco. The project will feature 340,000 sf of retail space and 60,000 sf of office space, plus 1,740 residential units and a 200-room boutique hotel. Under trees that soften the urban environment, a network of sidewalks and plazas will emphasize pedestrian accessibility and narrow streets will slow the flow of vehicular traffic. Prominent in the master plan is a north-south diagonal that will define a central promenade of shops and restaurants. The first phase of construction is scheduled to begin in September, with initial openings set for 2010.

Edinburg Catholic High School Inspired by traditional Spanish Colonial architecture, the design for Edinburg’s new 90,000-sf Catholic High School features a horseshoeshaped complex of classrooms and administrative offices that surrounds a large, landscaped courtyard. To create a design reflecting the Rio Grande Valley’s Mexican heritage, two architects and an interior designer from ERO International spent three days in central Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende gathering ideas for the project. Set to open as early as 2008, the high school’s two-story classroom building will be stuccoed with a red tile roof. Corners of its two corridor wings will resemble those seen in Mexico’s older towns – tower-like with open-air breezeways leading into hallways – and cupola-topped spires will bracket the administration building. The inner plaza, anchored by a kiosk at its center, will accommodate a fountain and group study space for the campus’ 600 students.

The Austonian 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. (Another four downtown projects are planned to exceed the height of the current tallest, the 515-foot, 33-story Frost Bank Tower, its distinctive glass peak visible above the horizon at the far right.) The Austonian will be crowned with an illuminated architectural feature. Elliptically shaped to maximize views from its 195 units as well as to preserve sight lines toward the State Capitol, the tower will sit atop a 10-story base, with retail space at ground level. A layered glass and aluminium skin will accentuate the high-rise’s slender profile. A rainwater recycling system and use of existing infrastructure will save energy, reduce water consumption, and lessen the maintenance burden on the municipality. Benchmark Development received a variance to allow for the 500,000-sf structure, almost double that permitted under the City of Austin’s zoning restrictions.

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Texas Architect May/June 2007: San Antonio  
Texas Architect May/June 2007: San Antonio  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...