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1221 Broadway

Lake|Flato Architects

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Project Description


Since 2004, a vacant and heavily vandalized building shell occupied a high-profile site at the convergence of Interstates 35 and 37. Often referred to as “Ghost Town,” and described by locals as “the biggest homeless shelter run by the homeless,” the complex had become a site of criminal activity, ranging from theft and vandalism to burglary and assault.

The neglected property was eventually auctioned on the courthouse steps, and the new owners saw the potential for these three city blocks between the urban corridor of Broadway Street and the San Antonio River to become a revitalized hub for River North. The challenge for the design team was to creatively adapt the existing superstructure into the new owner’s vision and program.

The project has served as a catalyst for nearby urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. Located on the edge of downtown along the San Antonio River, with an underserved residential and commercial district to the north, 1221 Broadway is uniquely positioned to reconnect these disparate parts of the city and bring residential life to the downtown area. Along with the complete makeover of an abandoned superstructure, a B-Cycle station, River Walk access, and a frequent taco truck further enhance this project as a vibrant urban living area.

Passive solutions, including open breezeways carefully oriented to cool the circulation corridors, came with understanding San Antonio’s local climate—hot summers and mild winters. The project design reflects a common sense and regional response to climatic conditions. The project achieved a HERS index of 68, performing 32% better than a new multi-family project built to code. Its energy use intensity (EUI) is 34.8 kBtu/s.f./yr, which is 30% better than the national average for large multi-family project types.

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