The Gourd San Antonio, Texas  | The Gourd   |   San Antonio, Texas   |   100 SF

It’s not just something to look at. The kids can use it and probably have fun and people looking at it from the outside are going to be intrigued by it. The panelization is intricate enough, but you get the understanding of how it comes together. You’re using the fabrication technique to illustrate the joy of the structure.
Not just for the birds

Built for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens’ human-sized birdhouse competition, the Gourd is a testament to working for and with community, and offers a playful platform in which to contemplate the complex relationship between humans and the natural world.

Rather than pursuing a form that resembles a small human house—as is typically seen in most manmade birdhouses—the design team chose a form inspired by the bottle gourd, first used in its hollowed-out form by Native Americans to attract Purple Martins as a nesting spot. The organic form inspires creativity and imagination—particularly in its youngest of users who have affectionately nicknamed the structure their “pineapple house” and “spaceship”—while pushing the limits of digital design and fabrication.

The Gourd Collage

The Gourd is built out of seventy plates of 12GA Cor-ten steel that are wrapped around a robin’s egg blue internal octahedron structure, and perforated with over 1,000 Ball Mason jars. The jars illuminate the interior space while providing a visible connection to the outside world. Each steel plate, unique in shape and size, was fabricated using CNC laser cutting technology and emulates the pattern of a dragonfly wing.

Fabricated and assembled in house by over 40 Overland staff members design, the project provided young designers a firsthand education in material characteristics and craftsmanship, as well as working as part of a production team. The project serves as an exemplar model of high-end digital fabrication and finely honed craft, bringing an experientially unexpected space to life for the local community.

Read more about the Gourd on the blog, “The Birds Eye View.”


  • American Steel Institute IDEAS2 Award: Best Sculpture/Installation 2015
  • World Architecture News Temporary Spaces Long List Finalist 2015
  • AIA Texas Society of Architects Design Award 2015
  • Architizer A+ Awards Self-initiated Projects Jury and Popular Vote Winner 2015
  • World Architecture News Small Spaces Award Long List Finalist 2014
  • American Steel Institute IDEAS2 Award Honorable Mention 2014
  • Architect’s Newspaper Best Fabrication 2014
  • AIA San Antonio Honor Award 2014
  • Modern Steel Construction,”What’s Cool in Steel,” August 2015
  • Texas Architect, “Bottlehouse,” July 2015
  • Texas Architect, “2014 AIA San Antonio Design Awards,” March 2015
  • The Architect’s Newspaper, “Second Annual Best of Design Awards,” January 2015
  • Rivard Report, “Local Design Awards Recognize ‘Architecture in Everyday Life,'” November 2014

A very special thanks to our product suppliers & sponsors:

  • River City Industries, Chris Jones – Laser cutting
  • Alamo Crosslink Powder Coating, Ben Brewer – Powder Coating
  • Datum Engineers
  • Area Real Estate
  • Gates Machine
  • Alamo Hardwoods
  • Jarden Home Brands
  • Triple S Steel

We couldn’t have done it without you!

Gourd Donor Board