Architectura SA Headquarters, San Antonio, TX
ICF Builder Award FinalistEnergy Star Certification
During the economic downturn in 2008, Architectura SA took the initiative to establish its roots in San Antonio with the construction of its first permanent ICF main office. Today the office stands as the premier example of the possibilities of utilizing Insulated concrete forms for new construction in the greater San Antonio area. The building was nominated as an ICF builder award finalist and recognized for the cleverness of combining the use of the self-spanning arched metal roof panels with ICF walls and the use of natural light as the main source of illumination for the studios.
Situated in the bustling suburbs of northern San Antonio, in the middle of immense city expansion, the biggest obstacle for the office building is to appeal to the general public in such a way to become recognizable as an architectural firm while still providing energy efficient design. This ICF design is an attempt to break away from the common shopping center style trends plaguing the northern suburbs of San Antonio and provide unique sustainable architecture which the local community will appreciate and admire. By utilizing a combination of strong colors and tectonic values, cost-effective reusable materials, and an arrangement of sloped curves within a rectangular space, the building is able to achieve status to be a recognized attraction by everyday locals.
Energy Star Certified Building
The Architectura S.A. office is an energy star certified building that capitalizes on natural daylighting along with an exquisite view of a beautiful tree line northeast of the site. The northeast wall consists of a series of windows that allow for a view of the vegetated area of the site. The building utilizes concrete forms construction as both load bearing walls and for its inherent insulating qualities to create an energy efficient envelope, while at the same time, minimizing the cost and construction time of the building by eliminating several steps of the construction process.
In addition, the ICF walls act as anchor points to provide the necessary support for the American Shelter Arched Roofing attachment assembly. These arched roof panels are the defining features of building that enables this edifice to stand out to the general public and give its identity. In addition, the flexibility of the ICF walls to give any form needed enables it to provide a continuous concrete wall envelope following the shape of the arched roof panels creating the building’s unique profile.
By strategically planning the building’s orientation towards the creek at the rear of the property, the design of the building allows for creating a pleasant, tranquil work environment that focuses the energy of the interior space towards nature and enables the occupants to experience the outdoors from within the work environment. Another critical feature of the vegetated space is that it allows for a feeling of separation from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio’s suburban city life and establishes a secluded, welcoming, and open space for architectural office work.
The open office concept of the office was designed to capitalize on this building’s unique feature and included a mezzanine along the opposite wall of the windows to enable the occupants to have two rows of cubicles oriented towards nature and use of the natural lighting as the main source of illumination during working hours. This planning allows for the occupant’s everyday computer work to be done with nature as the wonderful backdrop.
This building is another great example of finding ways to maximize usage of a small site and using creativity and wit to create an oasis within the heart of the high-traffic chaos typical of Texas’ urban cities.