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n the Rio Grande, midway between Laredo and Brownsville, Roma is the stellar setting for an award-winning civic design by Kell Muñoz Architects of San Antonio. Perhaps no other community of the border better demonstrates a regional sense of identity and history. Settled during the Spanish Colonial era, Roma was founded in 1848 as a trading center that benefited from a series of fortunate circumstances—the siting of a magnificent plaza overlooking the sandstone bluffs of the Rio Grande, the flourishing of trade by steamboats along the river, and the arrival of the talented German master mason Heinrich “Enrique” Portscheller. All of these contributed to the making of a very picturesque town with a colorful heritage still vividly portrayed through an exceptional collection of structures which in their design, materi-

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als, and construction techniques reflect the cultural continuity of the Texas/Mexico borderlands. The intrinsic spatial and architectural qualities of this community heritage are recognized in the Roma Visitors Center and Plaza Project completed by Kell Muñoz Architects with funding by the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Roma. Building on earlier efforts to stabilize several outstanding structures in the Roma National Historic Landmark District as part of a phased master plan, Kell Muñoz, with Steven Tillotson, AIA, as project architect, designed what is the second and pivotal segment of that long-term endeavor. Encompassing the rehabilitation of the upper portion of the plaza and the first publicly accessible building dedicated to heritage interpretation, this second phase gives credence and continuity to that earlier effort originally conceived

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Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  
Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

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