HDRC OKs Rooftop Addition, Sculptural Canopy for Aztec Theatre

Originally published by The Rivard Report


The Historic and Design Review Commission granted conceptual approval Wednesday for rooftop additions to the Aztec Theatre. Preliminary renderings show a glass structure with a sculptural canopy and terrace on top of the
six-story building.

San Antonio developer Samuel Panchevre plans to convert the empty office space above the 1926 theater into a 55-room boutique hotel. Panchevre envisioned adding a terrace, and possibly a restaurant, on the roof of the building, he told the Rivard Report in September.

Overland Partners designed the additions, and Timothy Blonkvist, the firm’s founding principal architect, delivered the presentation to commissioners.

“It looks like a very simple glass addition to the top, and when you get in and you go up to the roof, then there will be something there that is very memorable and very unexpected,” Blonkvist said. “Not something you’re really seeing from the ground.”

Blonkvist said inspiration for the design came from visiting the Louis Vuitton Foundation Building in Paris, which was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Frank Gehry.

“We need to do something special up there,” Blonkvist said. “Something other than just another flat rooftop trellis in San Antonio.”

Along with the additions to the rooftop, another terrace that will be connected to the north facade of the building and constructed over West Crockett Street will give visitors an overview of the San Antonio River. A staircase will replace a fire escape currently on the north side of the building and connect viewers to both the terrace overlook and the rooftop.

“It’s a real nice break from the historic building,” said Commissioner Michael Connor. “Something that’s very contemporary … theatrical.”

In other action, HDRC also recommended giving historic designation status to the proposed Westfort Historic District. The neighborhood located in City Council District 2 includes around 60 parcels that are surrounded on three sides by Fort Sam Houston.

The two-street neighborhood features homes and apartments designed in a variety of styles, including Tudor, Prairie, Craftsman, Spanish Eclectic, Folk Victorian, post-war mid-century apartments and neoclassical homes, according to documents presented to Commissioners. It was platted in 1909.

Eight residents in the the neighborhood voiced support for the designation. The recommendation goes next to the Zoning Commission and City Council, which will decide whether to grant historic designation status.

The original story can be found here.