The ethos at San Antonio–based Overland Partners favors interactive teamwork, and the firm’s new headquarters—in a 1918 plumbing warehouse—presented an opportunity to test its design process. “We’re very collaborative in nature,” says partner James Shelton, AIA, who sought design input, in the form of a written essay, from every member of the 60-person firm.
The building is located in the city’s River North arts district and reflects the area’s industrial history. Shelton and project manager Patrick Winn filled the three loading-dock openings on the street façade with steel gates that are perforated in patterns that recall the warehouse’s old graffiti-covered doors. Behind the façade, they removed 1,800 square feet of roof to create a curtainwall-lined entry courtyard. “Wherever we made an addition to the building, we used steel and glass,” Shelton says.
Inside, a steel stair, mezzanine, and “conference pods” contrast with the brick and wood of the existing shell. “The most critical thing was to get into one big room,” Shelton says. Thus, workstations were contracted and common spaces, which were placed under glazed rooftop monitors, were expanded. “The whole layout is areas where we can have collaborative meetings,” Shelton says, noting that the level of interaction has “exploded” since they moved in.