San Jacinto Building by Specht Architects: A Concrete-Shell Building with Amenities and Services for Contemporary Use

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This original three-level building was a concrete shell without any code-compliant utilities, elevators. or fire stairs. San Jacinto Building is located in Austin, Texas, designed by Specht Architects. The new owner desires to add some spaces in this building and the challenge for the architect is to provide all the amenities and services necessary for contemporary use.

Overview

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In downtown Austin, the original poured-in-place concrete warehouse dates from the early 1900s. It is a prime example of the type of building that sat once in the neighborhood. The building was built alongside a once active railroad spur. It is purchased from its original owner with almost no alterations to the 1915 building. The original concrete brick and frame of the building had been used continuously as an unconditioned storage space.

 

Design

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This building was basically a concrete shell without any code-compliant utilities, elevators, or fire stairs. The new owner wants to create private club and storage spaces in the basement, three restaurant spaces on the ground floor, and also office spaces at the upper level. The character of the original warehouse building is also retained besides providing all amenities and services.

 

Structure

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The architect creates a new “service structure” adjacent to the building rather than carving out a large portion of the interior. It is not only allowed the unobstructed floor area to remain as flexible and large as possible but also allowed the architect o create an expressive pavilion to mark the building entry. The new addition character can complement the original building’s raw, muscular functionalism without replicate its details. It features clerestory windows, an articulated steel frame, and open stairs.

 

San Jacinto Building Gallery

 

Photographer: Taggart Sorenson

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