Here’s a brief description provided by ULI: “Newly constructed 30,000 square foot office building along the museum reach section of the San Antonio River. Its design elements include metal panels, perforated metal screening, local stone veneers, metal roofing and curtain wall glazing. The site embodies numerous green initiatives including water collection, long-term bicycle storage, and solar shading. This three story plus roof entertainment deck overlooks the San Antonio River at 9th Street and Arden Grove. The space includes several offices with private terraces, war rooms, open office, a kitchen, conference rooms and changing rooms with showers.”
As I was walking through the building and admiring all of the details, I realized very little of this building was completed in a “standard” finish. Each detail was chosen very carefully and artfully as to make the space feel extraordinary. Even the furniture within the building was hand-crafted to complement the design of the developer.
After contemplating the development of this building for several days I have come to the conclusion that great design really does pay off in the end. This is apparent in products from companies such as Apple, Tesla, Trump Organization and many others.
I was raised and still live in a great little German town outside of San Antonio called New Braunfels. Our town isn’t as little as it once was and over the past 20 years we have seen tremendous growth and development.
It pains me to see many of the developments in New Braunfels. I see many quickly erected metal buildings that don’t take design and planning into consideration. I certainly understand that developers and builders must consider the economics of a development when establishing the feasibility of their project, but the huge number of ugly buildings going up in and around our town is disturbing.
There is one developer based in New Braunfels whom I would bet most other developers envy and admire. Michael Flume undertook a huge venture when he took over what was turning out to be a failed residential development outside the historic district of Gruene, TX. He saw the potential of this area and took a risk. In this development you don’t see metal buildings and cheap materials, but rather you see high quality construction and design to fit the culture of the area. When you walk into Mr. Flume’s office, you see pictures of turn of the century design of which he mimics to make an amazing mixed use development called Gruene Lake Village. The picture below is just one of the beautiful designs in Gruene Lake Village.
My thought for the day is that cities don’t need more architects that care about design. We have lots of those. Cities need more developers that care about design and can figure out a way to implement great design into our growing cities. We don’t have to make everything urban and industrial, but put some thought into the design of your development so that we don’t have ugly and poorly planned cities to leave to the generations to follow.
My goal as a developer is to be able to influence my city in beautiful yet economically viable buildings and to have pride in what I’ve been able to create so that one day I’ll be able to show my grandchildren and great grandchildren what I was able to build and they will be proud of my work for many years to come.