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The building is massed as two connected rectangular boxes that are slightly shifted. From the approach, the first box is wrapped in a continuous field of repeated curtainwall bays. Each side has equal modularity and detail: there is no articulation at the cornice or base of the facade. One can imagine the cladding going on in any direction without end—an isotropic plane. Aside from the rectangular proportion of each individual glass pane that grounds the building and the slight variations in the glass type used in each bay, the first box is undifferentiated. A closer look at the facade reveals a simply detailed mullion cap on all sides of the box that makes a world of difference to the play of light on the facade, elevating this speculative office building to a new standard. Contrasting the undifferentiated box is a second, more articulated mass that peeks out from behind the other introducing the visitor to the entrance of the site as he turns the corner into the property. This mass fronts a steel superstructure of thin columns supporting a sunshade that protects the inside from the eastern and southern sun. The facade is capped with a thin cornice overhang that completes the trabeated design while providing protection from the sun. Counting the columns, one can ascertain that the dimensions of the second mass are based on the golden ratio, which provides, subconsciously, a comforting proportion. On the other hand, the odd number of columns on both the short and long sides (three and five, respectively), create a slightly unsettling balance that results in a central column where Ictinus and Callicrates would have expected a void. The environmentally conscious visitor in his fuel-efficient vehicle, fortunate enough to have parked close to the side of the building, is allowed to slip into the building without experiencing the order apparent in the landscape design with its central park extending onto the north side of the site. To anyone else, the rhythm and unity of the central park design and the strong axis that connects the parking lot to the entrance of the building again elevates the speculative office building type to a higher standard of design. The impact of this second impression to clients of Satterfield & Pontikes (and to the clients of other future tenants) will go a long way in communicating the firm’s values, standards, and capabilities. As a park, this area will prove to be an asset to the building occupants who choose to lunch or perhaps conduct meetings outdoors as the plants and groundcover grow to maturity. The building solves the problem of how to create a street presence and have the entrance at the opposite side or “back of the house.” Grounding the parking lot facade is a single-story, tilt-up protrusion that houses a plan room topped with a garden roof. The form is an aesthetic gesture to both the manmade (tilt-up structures) in the area and the natural roots of the site—the genius loci in a simplistic, speculative sense.


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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...