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A New Tower For Stinson

In theory, this is what the new tower at Stinson Municipal Airport is going to look like.

People often ask us, "What kind of architecture do you do? Houses? Schools? Office buildings? Retail?" To that question we always answer, "Yes."

Airport infrastructure? Yeah, we do that, too.

Earlier this week we learned that our proposal for a new air traffic control tower had been been declared the winner in a completion sponsored by the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio AIA. For this effort we collaborated with Work5hop and together developed a proposal that will create a functional landmark that pays homage to the unique history of the site.

Stinson Municipal Airport played an important role in the early days of flight. In addition to being a training site for World War I pilots, “Stinson Field” was also the home of the first woman-operated flying school in the nation. This rich heritage is what is referenced in the proposed "design enhancements" - an engineering firm had already designed the main portion of the tower and the competition was held to devise ways to improve it.

Our proposal calls for a steel armature to be attached to the precast concrete panels of the original tower design. The form and articulation of this secondary structure references the construction of early aircraft and their fabric-clad skin. As the site of the tower is 2,000 feet from the terminal, the enhancements are intended to be legible from a great distance. During the day the fabric-clad airfoil shapes, steel cables and struts read as abstracted interpretations of biplane wings. At night, these wings glow with internal LED illumination. All this occurs below the level of the control tower cab so as to not interfere with its FAA-mandated function. 

Will the sea swallow Houston?

image courtesy the Rice Design Alliance

That was the question Erica Goranson and I answered in our Houston Ark competition entry from last year. Erica and I were having some fun creating some architectural science fiction based on a frighteningly real potential future scenario. At any rate, we recently saw that Raj Mankad, editor of Cite Magazine referenced the entry as a way of introducing an essay on how rising sea levels will impact Houston. We were thrilled to see our work used to introduce more serious scholarship on the topic.


HiWorks Project Featured In "Texas Monthly"

image courtesy Texas Monthly

Well, actually the project is just referenced and there is no photo and no attribution given to either Erica, myself or HiWorks.  For as much press coverage as our second place Astrodome entry has received, it's been rare that we've actually been credited.  Still, it's flattering to see your work described in print:

Maybe what’s most surprising about the languishing Dome is that, in a city that prides itself on innovation, no one has had the vision or the will to come up with a workable plan to save it. Some of the more novel proposals came from a contest sponsored by the Architect’s Newspaper, a national trade journal; ideas included turning the Dome into an ark in time for a final, devastating flood (the floating dome would hold the contents of the Houston Zoo, the MFAH, and the Rice library, among other things)...

It's especially cool to share space in a magazine next to Guy Clark.