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Houston: Introducing the Winning Team of the Houston Endowment Headquarters Architectural Competition

Feature Illustration (above): Side view of the front edge of the proposed Houston Endowment Headquarters in Spotts Park. Courtesy of HE.

Posted: 9-22-2020

by Adolfo Pesquera

Houston (Harris County) — The international design competition for the new Houston Endowment Headquarters attracted 121 architectural teams from 22 countries, and earlier this year the Houston Endowment (HE) announced the winning team.

As reported in this VBX article of June 2019, the HE announced a global competition for designs for a 40,000-square-foot headquarters building that will eventually be constructed at Spotts Park.

The contestants were whittled down to four finalists toward the end of 2019. These teams were Deborah Berke Partners, Kevin Daly Architects, Olson Kundig and Schaum/Shieh Architects. And in late February, the Kevin Daly Architects team was selected as the winner.

Kevin Daly Arhitects is based in Los Angeles, California. Their team included Productora, TLS Landscape Architecture, Arup, Transsolar and Kirksey Architecture.

The new $20 million headquarters building will enable the Endowment to relocate from its current offices in the city’s business district and embed itself within the community. Scheduled to open in 2022, the 40,000 sq ft building will provide dedicated space for its team and community partners, including healthy work spaces, accessible meeting spaces and flexible and innovative engagement facilities.

A private, place-based foundation valued at $1.8 billion, Houston Endowment works to address and take a long-term position on key areas of opportunity that will elevate the city. The Endowment convenes thought leadership, provides funding and collaborates with the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors to achieve lasting positive change for the region.

Malcolm Reading, the competition director, said, “The four shortlisted design concepts were detailed, credible schemes, all capable of being delivered. It was evident in the proposals that all teams were moved by the Endowment’s community ethos and by Houston’s distinctive landscape and history.”

The four finalist teams were asked to submit design concepts for the new Headquarters, before being interviewed by the Selection Committee in October 2019. The team led by Kevin Daly Architects (KDA) and PRODUCTORA was the unanimous choice of the committee, who also awarded Olson Kundig an Honorable Mention. An honorarium of $50,000 was paid to each shortlisted team for their design work.

VBX Project ID 2019-43C3.

Front elevation as viewed uphill from Spotts Park. Illustration by KDA.

About the Selected Design:

As welcoming as the shadow underneath a tree, the new Houston Endowment building is conceived as a natural continuation of the forest canopy that defines the boundaries of Spotts Park.

Slender columns represent the tree trunks, providing the building with an effective structural system and the Endowment a scaffolding in which to freely organize activities. An energy-generating roof structure evokes the tree canopy and foliage; an intricate lattice providing sun control to the interiors and open terraces. These awnings are designed to offer a sense of shelter to both the organization and the surrounding neighborhood community.

This combination of shading elements with the rhythm of the supporting vertical columns generates a unique and contemporary building that conveys both tradition and stability as well as lightness and transparency.

Bird’s-eye view of Houston Endowment Headquarters within Sports Park. Illustration by KDA.

Edited from HE news releases.