Quick and intensive workshops, charrettes are innovative ways to arrive at solutions in real time. Often called upon to remote international locations, MGIA has a long history of experience assessing and analyzing local culture and building traditions. This aptitude allows the firm to create meaningful architectural solutions, which are hand-rendered and watercolored as part of the design process.
The study of the edge conditions at the proposed Hemisfair Civic Park was to provide an analysis of how the properties being developed by the Hemisfair Parks Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC) could create interaction between public and private realms to enhance a greater park experience, and a more enriched urban environment that reflected San Antonio’s architectural and cultural heritage. The study considers the potential massing, densities and porosity of the pedestrian ground plane, and options related to vertical mix-use development, as well as ease of use through below and above grade parking structures, permitting greater opportunities between the various components of the park and its edges. Hemisfair Civic Park has the potential to bring San Antonio’s “front porch” to a level of quality and community enrichment equal to other great urban parks of the world.
Planned as a market-rate residential tower on the western side of San Antonio’s downtown, the mixed-use Vistana contains housing, retail, parking, and storage facilities. The 14-story tower is located on the eastern side of the famous Milam Park and adjacent to the historic Market, with the unique opportunity of creating a western edge to San Antonio’s downtown skyline. Commissioned to design the exterior envelope of the building, MGIA used the unique character of San Antonio’s vertical masonry architecture to enhance the city’s visual fabric.
With this project MGIA proposed a stair tower of civic quality; one in which San Antonio’s architectural and building traditions are kept alive; a structure that is built to withstand time and trends, and to be enjoyed as part of the romantic continuum of the Riverwalk. The tower’s masonry core pays homage to other local landmarks like the Romanesque courthouse across Main Plaza and the Quadrangle Clock Tower at Fort Sam Houston. Capped by a covered walkway, the core transitions to louvered panels, creating a soft lantern effect when lit at night. Wrapping stairs, decks and terraces with louvered screens for shading draw inspiration from earlier cast-iron structures found on the building and others along the river. The new tower is designed to have an interactive quality, creating a gateway to downtown and beckoning visitors to explore the corner, patio, restaurants and Riverwalk below. It acts as a landmark to the Witte building and the East Commerce Street Bridge: an architectural icon strong enough to become a favored entry port to the river on the west side of our downtown.
A Vision Plan emerged from a week-long charrette in June 2010, including a series of illustrative examples of recommended types of buildings, streets, and parking arrangements for the Corridor. The charrette intended to capture the City’s heritage, support the present-day vision and spirit of the community, and attract private investment to improve the district’s business mix and economic performance.
St. John the Baptist
This recently completed preliminary design for a new church and campus is a solution to various challenges faced by a growing Catholic parish on the outskirts of Corpus Christi, Texas. One of the foremost challenges was to create an elegant master plan on the uniquely shaped 19-acre site, closely surrounded by neighboring buildings, while also providing ample parking. The new 1,000-seat church with its prominent bell tower is the focal point of the extensive master plan, which also features a wide processional path leading across the site. Additional components included in the plan are a chapel, parish hall, administration building, classroom buildings, youth center, courtyard gardens, an outdoor stations of the cross, and a grotto. Designed as a Gothic Revival campus, the architecture will be plaster masonry buildings accented with stone detailing to create a true sense of the sacred.
Regents School of Austin
Regents School of Austin, like so many schools that grow quickly through changes in leadership, had reached a point where it was in danger of losing both its character and cohesiveness. Program needs had superseded a sense of vision for the future of the school, and buildings and pedestrian malls were beginning to be built and planned in ways that obstructed meaningful future growth. MGIA was asked to re-evaluate the school’s master plan so that future buildings, amenities, and new flood plain requirements would create an atmosphere and environment commensurate with the school's reputation as an academic institution. This work was used extensively in fundraising for the campus and for the construction of the new Rhetoric School, which MGIA was subsequently commissioned to design.