Lonestar Shade

Kevin Daly Architects wins competition to design Houston Endowment headquarters

Houston Endowment's new headquarters is coming to Spotts Park in 2022. (Courtesy Kevin Daly Architects)

Los Angeles-based firm Kevin Daly Architects (KDA) and Mexico City studio PRODUCTORA were chosen alongside TLS Landscape Architecture to design the new, $20 million headquarters for Texas philanthropic giant Houston Endowment. The trio’s vision of an airy, light-filled superstructure was unanimously selected out of 120 submissions, and three powerhouse shortlisted firms this summer, in an international design competition.

Set to be located just outside of downtown Houston in Spotts Park, the building will give the organization a cohesive, more accessible space to host people from the nonprofit, private, and philanthropic worlds in their aim to create positive change in the city. The architecture, with its elongated flat roof canopy and striated glass facade, will effectively shade employees and visitors from the harsh Houston climate while also reducing solar heat gain on-site. Nature will also play a big role in the Buffalo Bayou-adjacent development; the large oak trees that surround the future headquarters will be mirrored within the building via interior vegetation. 

“The living canopy of Houston was a huge influence on the team,” said Kevin Daly, principal of KDA in a statement, “the tradition of buildings that balance the being ‘a part of’ and ‘apart from’ the living landscape of the city was inspiring. We wanted to establish a continuity between the park setting and the vocabulary of the building.”

Rendering of people walking under canopy of building during sunny time for Houston Endowment

“With our collaborators at PRODUCTORA in Mexico City, we wanted to focus on fundamental building elements: the loggia, veranda, the canopy, and the screen,” said Kevin Daly in a statement. “These work together in a climate like Houston’s to create openness and accessibility while balancing the effects of the environment.” (Courtesy Kevin Daly Architects)

Founded in 1937, Houston Endowment provides upwards of $75 million each year to strengthening the greater Houston community by building civic assets and donating to the arts, education, healthcare, immigration, and environmental sectors. It’s the largest organization of its kind in the state of Texas and currently works out of the 64th floor of JP Morgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston. The change to Spotts Park, when the new structure by KDA is complete in 2022, will be a monumental shift in the way the 82-year-old private nonprofit does business. 

Ann Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment, said the building will help the institution attract new audiences and better communicate the work it does with its community partners. “We wanted to bring outstanding architecture to Houston to complement Houston’s notable architectural wonders, and this design successfully communicates openness and transparency while also providing a tranquil and inviting presence.”

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