Houston Endowment Headquarters / Houston, Texas
“From the beginning, we knew we were in great hands with Bellows. Bellows served as a trusted and valued partner for our entire team as we worked through the different design options and pricing scenarios. Their ability to listen and understand our needs combined with their demonstrated excellence gave everyone confidence that this building will achieve our initial vision while coming in on time and on budget.”
The Houston Endowment’s mission is to enhance vibrancy and advance the equity of opportunity for all. This organization’s sole purpose it to give back to the Houston community and make it a better place. Created in 1937 by businessman Jesse H. Jones and his wife, Mary Gibbs Jones, Houston Endowment has grown to a fund of $2.57 billion. Each year, the endowment disburses about $100 million to dozens of Houston area organizations, focusing on public education, civic engagement, arts, parks and social services, as well as in response to emergencies such as Hurricane Harvey. Their new beautifully-designed and expertly built headquarters perched above Spotts Park off of Waugh Drive is yet another gift from the Endowment to the people of Houston. Their bold move to establish a centrally located, accessible Headquarters which will provide healthy workspaces, meeting spaces, and innovative facilities for use by Houston’s diverse community will directly impact the lives of countless Houstonians.
The 40,000-SF building relocates the Endowment’s private office space from the JPMorgan Chase Tower downtown, a space that was not representative of their organization’s identity. Kevin Daly Architecture and Mexico-based Productora envisioned the building’s airy, elegant superstructure with TLS Landscape Architecture and Transsolar, a German engineering company specializing in energy-efficient architecture. “The design communicates transparency and clarity,” says Ann Stern, President and CEO of Houston Endowment.Photography by Iwan Baan Ann Stern Houston Endowment President and CEO
The Houston Endowment headquarters is an almost netzero building with its shaded canopy. Eighty percent of the building is covered in solar panels which allows more natural light to enter the patio while powering the building with natural energy. The building also features a unique geothermal HVAC system. Interior fans placed throughout the building lower the need for air conditioning.
The structural frame uses a combination of steel framing and cross-laminated timber (CLT), all of which are exposed inside to weave the theme of transparency throughout the building. The CLT panels were installed with precision and serve as a grounding yet beautiful ceiling treatment.
Purposefully designed to be inviting, the building is bright and light. Its sculptured exterior of curved aluminum panels is combined with a unique trellised canopy made of rows of 3D ovals of perforated metal, angled to filter harsh sunlight while still allowing soft breezes to sift through. The white exterior and canopy both reduce the latent heat of the building’s exterior, limiting the need for air conditioning.
Houston Endowment Headquarters (cont’d)
“The Houston Endowment evolved from a competition design to a real building on an accelerated schedule. Bellows joined the project during Schematic Design, and became an integral part of the design team. As we worked to reconcile the scope of the competition project with the budget, the Bellows estimating team priced multiple alternatives for the structure, building systems, and exterior cladding while providing timely advice on constructability issues and local trade practices.
When the world locked down during the pandemic and “Supply Chain” became a topic of everyday conversation, Bellows managed two separate transnational procurement efforts: the cross laminate timber structure was fabricated and shipped from Canada, and the custom aluminum trellis and exterior cladding was fabricated in Monterrey, Mexico. The team from Bellows was central to the success of the project from the earliest design meetings through completion.”
The new, two-story building focuses on collaborative workspaces, more small conference rooms for meetings and even small enclosed “Zoom rooms” for workers who need to make video calls. The new building furthers the Endowment’s mission in its design, structure, and meaning.
The inception of this project started when Stern felt it was time to stop renting a space downtown that was full of dark wood paneling and didn’t represent the Endowment’s staff and how they work. Accessibility was another concern. Having guests take two escalators and three elevators to visit the office wasn’t aligning with the Endowment’s desire to be open to the community.
The Houston Endowment now has a headquarters that mirrors their commitment to “support organizations and improve the systems that benefit the people of Greater Houston” as well as being responsible stewards of the environment. Centrally located, accessible, and architecturally reflecting its parkland location, the new Headquarters is an inviting, canopied oasis where all kinds of Houstonians can come and work together to better our community.Kevin Daly Kevin Daly Architects
St. Luke’s United Methodist Gethsemane Community Center / Houston, Texas
Composed of over 300 tons of steel, the new two-story, 55,000-SF center designed by Jackson & Ryan architects has reached its topping out milestone. To celebrate this exciting event, Bellows hosted a luncheon recognizing the project reaching over 36,000 hours worked without a lost time accident. Laura Bellows, CEO and Chairman; Erick Padilla, Bellows Director of Safety; and Ryan Villarreal, Director of St. Luke’s UMC Community Center spoke and thanked the team.
Aside from the steel, this building will feature a unique combination of finishes. The exterior alone has brick, plaster, two types of metal panels, hardie board, and two types of window systems. Inside, there are three main zones used by different tenants, each requiring their own signature layout and finishes while still complementing the overall cohesive feel.
When complete, the facility will serve as a community center for youth and their families in southwest Houston. The social services networking nonprofit Connect Community will be headquartered in the new community center where workforce training program PX Project will also open a classroom kitchen and cafe. Legacy Community Healthcare will have a clinic at the facility where it will serve uninsured and underinsured neighbors, with a focus on teens and young adults.
The faith-based, nonprofit Houston reVision will also have offices in the community center as well as offer a soccer program.The motto of the new campus is: “Where hope has an address” and we are humbled to build this significant project for such a deserving community.
emPloyee sPotlightClaudia Vasquez, Virtual Design and
Construction Project Manager
What is your construction background (education, training, etc.)?
I have a double bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M Prairie View in Architecture and Construction Management. After graduation I was a structural designer, building information modeling (BIM) coordinator, and now a virtual design and construction project manager.
How did you become interested in construction, specifically BIM? Since college I’ve been interested in building design and the thought that goes into smart and responsible construction. After graduation, I took a job that was mainly drafting, which I enjoyed, but I wanted to be more immersed in the projects. In order to understand design, I feel it’s important to understand BIM and how it’s used in the preconstruction and construction phases which meant I needed to fully understand the construction process. This prompted me to take a job as the BIM coordinator at another Houston general contractor which in turn lead me to Bellows Construction where I am developing the in-house BIM department.
What do you find the most interesting/challenging aspect of BIM and what do you see as the biggest benefits for a project?
The most interesting and challenging aspect about BIM is the successful coordination of architecture, engineering, and subcontractors’ models into one master file so the team can view the building prior to the commencement of construction. BIM is in high demand right now and is used on almost every project because ultimately, finding solutions before construction starts can help save the project time and money.
Have you had to overcome any challenges in this career path? Learning all the trades was imperative so that I can execute my part of the project and coordinate the BIM process properly and successfully. My job wouldn’t be possible without the support and collaboration from the Bellows team and subcontractors. We help each other so the final product is a satisfied client with a beautiful and functional facility.
What is you favorite thing to do outside of work?
I am a mom and wife so spending time with my family takes priority. There is always an activity we need to get to and someone always needs me. They definitely keep me busy and happy. I also love soccer! I have always enjoyed playing and watching soccer so I was very entertained during the World Cup. Lastly, I love a clean and organized space. I have found this to be one of my favorites things to do and believe it or not, it helps me relax!Claudia with her husband, Tzivan and two children, daughter, Tlali and son, Teotl.
The person responsible for Bellows’ culture of safety over our last four decades is Tommy Lee. For 42 years, Tommy has tirelessly gone above and beyond to achieve one goal: that everyone should go home the way they came to work – safely.
Tommy’s passion for safety, his constant quest for innovation, and his genuine concern for the safety and well-being of all our workers is communicated in everything he says and does. When you look at any Bellows project, Tommy Lee is the common thread. When you peruse our proud list of safety awards, including the most prestigious National AGC Grand Award for Construction Safety Excellence earned in 2017, Tommy Lee is, once again, the common thread. That he is a remarkable storyteller and keen listener is indicative of the caring, supportive relationships he has cultivated with employees, subs, clients, and colleagues over the years.
We thank Tommy Lee for his tremendous contributions to Bellows over the past 42 years. We will miss his presence, humor, and passion. After four decades and more than 100 successfully completed projects, Tommy is quite literally part of the foundation of Bellows and always will be.