Home In The Heart Of Progress Overland Partners Office | Hughes Warehouse   |   San Antonio, Texas   |   22,800 SF

When Overland decided a new home was needed to accommodate growth and better reflect firm culture, we aimed to take the practice into the heart of San Antonio’s burgeoning revitalization—downtown­. But in the process of designing an office space, we realized we had a greater opportunity—to revitalize a city block and cast a vision for the future of our city.

73%
Reduction from National Median EUI for Building Type
34%
Reduction of regulated potable water
90%

Daylight Atrium
48%

FSC certified wood
80%

Occupant Satisfaction rate

Lost History
Jones Avenue’s storied history as the streetcar line connecting local breweries was largely forgotten. Buried under urban decay, neglect, and mismanagement, the once-vital thoroughfare was an awkward string of blight along the newly redeveloped Museum Reach of the San Antonio River. Intimidating industrial spaces and run-down buildings isolated the San Antonio Museum of Art and left nearby Maverick Park largely vacant.
Unrealized Opportunity
Developer David Adelman began to develop multifamily housing in the industrial River North area of San Antonio, but his investment group was at a loss as to how to turn the 1917 Hughes Plumbing Warehouse into a neighborhood amenity instead of a liability to their other holdings. When he connected with Overland, the opportunity matched the firm’s mission, and together we embarked on a mission to elevate the tenor of development in the River North area.
Overland Partners Office | Hughes Warehouse Site Visit
Overland Partners Office | Hughes Warehouse Site Visit
Overland Partners Office | Hughes Warehouse Site Visit

Transformed City
A very successful example of a creative, low-cost adaptive reuse project that maintains the integrity and the character of the building. Introduction of contemporary structural, electrical, and mechanical systems was done in such a way as to not detract from the historic elements of the building. This proves that making use of a high percentage of reused and repurposed materials can be done creatively and affordably.
AIA COTE Award Juror
In Overland’s former offices, staff had been relegated to spaces with varying degrees of comfort and utility, and many felt increasingly insulated from the real transformation happening in San Antonio. The Hughes Warehouse space allowed the entire firm to office on one level. The open format allows light and ideas to flow freely across desks and aisles. Overland decided to reduce individual desk space in favor of public and meeting spaces of various sizes and privacy. These inspiring and versatile spaces encourage idea-sharing and collaboration to drive creativity on every level.

In keeping with the industrial aesthetic of the street, Overland preserved the brick and wood elements of the warehouse, as well as the concrete floors. The design team wanted to celebrate the raw nature of the space, while clearly communicating the atmosphere of a twenty-first century workplace.

The new elements of the design are primarily steel and glass, a clear juxtaposition of old and new. To bring in light to the formerly windowless space, Overland boldly proposed peeling back 1,200 square feet of roof to create a courtyard to be shared by the building’s tenants. The developer’s initial hesitation at losing leasable space was overcome by the significant value added by the common space, which has been used for live music, art exhibitions, and meetings. The old loading dock doors at the entry to the new courtyard speak to the ambition of the area as an arts corridor, with the new perforated steel gates patterned from an abstraction of a Jackson Pollack painting.

Functionally, the courtyard presented a series of challenges. The old building had very little lateral bracing, and removing the roof threatened the integrity of the structure. Overland created a custom floor-to-ceiling steel-framed glass wall to serve as lateral support, allowing ample light to flood the spaces.

The project also integrates sophisticated systems that optimize the building’s performance: shade control governed by the astronomical clock; automated lighting sensitive to occupancy and daylight levels; 65 kW solar panels on the insulated roof that meet about 50% of the building’s energy needs; and an HVAC system that allows individual control of each conference room. Incorporating these high-tech systems into a raw space required masterful organization to keep ducts, wiring, and hardware clean and orderly.

Materials were also repurposed wherever possible. Furniture from the previous office was remilled and reassembled to create workstations that support the open office plan. Timber salvaged from the roof and ceiling was repurposed as stair treads and for board-formed concrete poured onsite. Sections of otherwise unusable concrete floor became pavers in the alley, transforming a neglected zone into a vibrant outdoor meeting space.

Now, with a coffee shop tenant sharing the building, the Hughes Warehouse has become an anchor in Jones Avenue’s stunning renaissance. City leaders congregate at the coffee shop, arts events and festivals pass through the courtyard, and what was once a trickle of intrepid museum goers is now a torrent of citizens living, working, and playing on the banks of the San Antonio River.

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) Top Ten Green Projects Awards is one of the most prestigious programs in the industry, celebrating structures that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions which protect and enhance the environment.

Awards
  • Chicago Athenaeum Green Good Design 2016
  • SA Tomorrow Sustainability Award 2015
  • AIA COTE Top Ten Award 2015
  • AIA COTE San Antonio Design Award 2014
  • Texas Society of Architects Design Award 2014
  • AIA San Antonio Design Merit Award 2014
  • Centro San Antonio Best of Downtown Awards, Best of Greater Downtown 2014
  • Power of Preservation Foundation Adaptive Reuse Award 2013
Publications
  • Architectural Products, “Function: Overland Partners Offices,” April 2016
  • Dezeen, “Overland Partners Transforms a San Antonio Warehouse into a Lofty Studio,” June 2015
  • Metropolis Magazine, “The Top Ten Greenest Buildings of 2015,” April 2015
  • SNAP, “Time and Time Again,” March/April 2015
  • Facades+, “Overland Unclogs Historic Plumbing Warehouse,” November 2014
  • Texas Architect, “2014 Design Awards Hughes: Warehouse Adaptive Reuse,” September 2014
  • SA Express-News, “From Warehouse to Wow,” August 2013
  • Texas Architect, “Warehouse Transformation,” July/August 2013
  • BizNow, “Three Cool Cribs,” July 2013