San Antonio has a storied and still-evident past tied with a dynamic and bright future—two lucky realities that the city’s many innovative and active architects and designers always keep in mind. The seat of Bexar County and the seventh most populous metro area in the country, San Antonio is a fast-growing military town with a romantic Spanish Mission past that is still celebrated today. San Antonio is also a national leader in urban revitalization and creative historical preservation. This reputation brings the best architects in the city to explore the relationships between the old and the new using cutting-edge techniques, materials, and technologies while working hard to preserve the city’s unique cultural touchstones and built memories.
Top Architects and Designers
Texas Society of Architects Architecture Firm Award,
AIA San Antonio Mayor’s Choice Award
1512 S. Flores, San Antonio, TX 78204
About Alamo Architects
A multi-disciplinary firm established in 1984, Alamo Architects provides architectural design, planning, and interior design services mostly for institutional, educational, multifamily, and retail projects. Over the years, it has also done master planning and project management services for complex integrated urban projects for clients in San Antonio and throughout Texas. With years of experience, it has crafted projects that have garnered awards such as the ABC’s 2014 Excellence in Construction Award and the AIA’s 2014 Award for Excellence in Design. The firm’s founding principal Irby Hightower graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and spent time in New York before dedicating himself to San Antonio. A local leader in urban design, Hightower helped realize the popular San Antonio Riverwalk as a longtime member of the River Oversight Committee. The firm’s other founding principals—Billy Lawrence, Mike McGlone, and Mike Lanford—also graduated from UT Austin and spent time in New York.
On the 7th floor of the historic Rand building is the new Geekdom Headquarters which boasts a shower room, lockers, and a napping area. To give the area a wide, open feel, transparent glass sliding doors were installed to open up to 20 offices available for tech startups. The community work area is also larger than the current location and snakes throughout the floor, including open corner lounges and a centralized gathering space. As the companies grow, removable wall panels allow for building management to combine smaller offices into larger ones.
Chesney Morales Partners
Associated Builders & Contractors Excellence in Construction Award
4901 Broadway, Suite 250, San Antonio, TX 78209
About Chesney Morales Partners
Founded in 1977 by Principals Mac Chesney and Richard Morales, Chesney Morales Partners is one of the leading architectural and interior design firms in San Antonio. Since its establishment, it has worked on numerous hospitals, clinics, and other medical buildings throughout Texas and around the country. The company is also known for its civic projects, restaurants, schools, and homes. Chesney Morales Partners’ major projects in the San Antonio metro area include buildings for the University of Texas at San Antonio and the San Antonio Medical Center. As a company filled with experienced professionals, Chesney Morales Partners has received Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC)’s Excellence in Construction Award for its renovation of the historic Playhouse San Antonio. It is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The firm worked on the redesign and expansion of a favorite local landmark in San Antonio: The Bakery Building on Broadway. Originally built in 1941, this project required Chesney Morales Partners’ coordination with the Historic Design and Review Commission to remodel, expand, and repurpose the building. The project completely retrofitted and modernized the facilities to be more energy efficient for its mixed-use tenants, adding a three-story, 34,000 square foot expansion, as well as a two-story, 33,000 square foot expansion onto the historic structure. Upon completion, the project was given a Silver LEED Certification. Another project that showed the firm’s skill and experience in energy efficiency is the City of San Antonio Fire Station 51, an eco-friendly fire station with solar power, extra-efficient insulation, daylighting, and other sustainable touches. The firm used recycled materials to build the station and installed specially glazed windows to cut down on heat gain. The LEED Silver building has a community room, dorms, offices, and ambulance bays.
Clayton & Little
429 N. St. Mary’s Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205
About Clayton & Little
An interdisciplinary firm, Clayton & Little has a portfolio of projects that exhibit not only diverse styles, types, and geographies, but also designs that summon the structure’s richness and context. Established by Emily Little in 1983, this firm is known for specializing in the adaptive reuse of historic structures.
Among these structures, its most notable one is its work on Savor in San Antonio. Though it has a limited storefront and a compact footprint, Savor has a 50-foot canopy that unifies an inviting patio, dining room, and a gleaming instructional kitchen. A blackened steel frame meanwhile references industrial surroundings while delicate brass connections and backlit textures glass pull the bright interior outward. After years of crafting high-profile projects like this for Austin, the firm has expanded its reach to San Antonio. Recently, Clayton & Little has also done projects for clients in California, Hawaii, Mayland, and beyond.
Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects
William G. Rupe
AIA San Antonio Mayor’s Choice Awards
14603 Huebner Road, Building 18, San Antonio, TX 78230
About Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects
Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects has been working in San Antonio for about 30 years and has put its distinctive stamp on the city with both new designs and historic remodeling. Over the years, it has completed projects in the office, mixed-use, public, educational, and retail markets. As a firm with years of experience and a team of highly skilled professionals, Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects has been honored with AIA San Antonio’s 2015 Mayor’s Choice Award. Currently, it is managed by President and Principal Gabriel Durand-Hollis, an AIA fellow who graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. His experience ranges from the renovation of the San Antonio International Airport to warehouse space planning, governmental and high-rise office buildings.
Among its many notable projects, Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects’ most notable commercial work is The Phipps. Completed in 2014, this project received the 2015 NU Heights Design Award and Engineering News-Record (ENR) Texas and Louisiana’s 2014 Merit Award. Another one of Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects’ more interesting designs was for the Scobee Education Center at Alamo College, a $12 million, 22,000 square foot space-education center named after Dick Scobee, an astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster. With blue towers and silver domes for its telescopes, the playful building recalls something out of Star Trek and is the perfect style for inspiring imaginative trips to the cosmos. The firm also worked with local fellow architects Lake|Flato on the remodeling and reuse of the Full Goods Warehouse, part of the Pearl Brewery Redevelopment Master Plan to revitalize an inner-city neighborhood with green and sustainable design practices. The 67,000 square-foot, $9 million mixed-use development is a gathering place for the local community and a model for revitalization, keeping the history of the neighborhood alive while updating it with sustainability and a modern style.
Fisher Heck Architects
AIA San Antonio Mayor’s Choirce Award
915 South Saint Marys Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
About Fisher Heck Architects
Opened in 1982, Fisher Heck Architects is a leading local firm known for providing sustainable design, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation services mainly for church projects. Though it has worked on more than 150 church and church-related projects, Fisher Heck Architects has also worked on hotels, retail spaces, and infill projects among other endeavors. Over time, these projects have earned it associations with several local, regional, and national organizations including the AIA, the TSA, and Preservation Texas among many others. Lewis Fisher leads the firm as president and principal. A passionate urbanist, he received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. Jim Heck meanwhile serves the firm as senior vice-president and principal. A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Architecture, Heck has been designing buildings in Texas since 1976 and is a past president of AIA San Antonio.
One of the most beautiful of Fisher Heck Architects’ many church projects is the Saint Anthony Claret Catholic Church, which is also known as the “Church in the Clouds” because it sits on the highest point around San Antonio. Clearly designed to evoke the sacred in nature, the nave faces large windows with clear and pure views of the natural setting, and the elegant wood ceilings and warm interiors create an atmosphere both safe and inspiring. Fisher Heck Architects also won several historic preservation awards for its restoration of an old Knights of Pythias building in the quaint 19th-century small town of Cuero, Texas. This 13.1 square-foot preservation and expansion project for the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum is seen as an important step in the resurgence of the town’s downtown.
Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners
Texas Historical Commission Award for Preservation of Historic Architecture,
San Antonio Conservation Society Building Awards
711 Navarro, Suite #400, San Antonio, TX, 78205
About Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners
Ford, Powell & Carson Architects has contributed significantly to San Antonio since its establishment in the 1930s, designing and restoring such legendary local structures as the Tower of the Americas and Trinity University. These projects have helped the firm receive numerous honors, including from the San Antonio Conservation Society and the Texas Society of Architects (TSA). The firm has seven principals, including two AIA fellows. One of them, Chairman Chris Carson, has a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington and is dedicated to green design. Alongside Carson is Carolyn Peterson—a renowned expert in historic restoration and has worked on the Alamo Mission. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and received the Texas Historical Commission Award for Preservation of Historic Architecture.
The South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum is an intricate combination of historic restoration and a new, modern design. With lots of windows and light, the center melds perfectly as an addition to a Beaux-Arts building and with the natural setting of Brackenridge Park on the San Antonio River. The building has fantastic views of the river, an overhanging roof for shade, and UV filtering windows. One of the firm’s recent historic preservation projects is the renovation of the Plaza de Armas Renovation, a complex of four historic buildings built in the late 19th century that the firm is completely remodeling and revitalizing to house government offices, television studios, and retailers.
Global Award for Sustainable Architecture,
AIA Firm of the Year,
AIA San Antonio Design Award
311 Third Street #200, San Antonio, TX 78205
Considered a pioneer in sustainable design and urban renewal, Lake|Flato has made a deep and unshakable mark on San Antonio since its establishment in 1984. Architect Magazine has placed the firm in the Top 10 of its annual Top 50 list, and Fast Company has called it one of the Top 10 most innovative architecture firms in the world. Dedicated to creating healthy spaces while saving energy and resources, Lake|Flato has played a large role in the ongoing urban revitalization in San Antonio and nearby Austin, where the firm has a second office. Over the years, it has collected over 300 awards. Most recently, it won two of the TSA’s 2020 Design Award and two of the AIA Committee on the Environment’s Top Ten Award. Currently, the firm is managed by co-founders and renowned architects, Ted Flato and David Lake. While Flato has a reputation for straight-forward regional designs that leverage each unique site and connect to the natural environment, Lake is known for being an advocate of urban development.
Lake|Flato designed a new brewery and tasting room complex for Alamo Beer near San Antonio’s Historic Hays Street Bridge. The rust-colored, prefab, corrugated metal buildings reference the old bridge and the industrial past of the neighborhood. A building that faces a spacious outdoor patio for beer-tasting and live music, it features large front windows and glass doors that open into this patio. This 18,000 square foot facility won the AIA San Antonio Design Award. The firm also worked on the 174,000 square foot, $100 million remodel of the Witte Museum, an important local museum built in the 1920s along the San Antonio River. Lake|Flato did the master plan and designed a welcoming and open glass-walled entryway, lobby, and retail space with a nod to regional history.
Marmon Mok Architecture
Stephen R. Souter
Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence,
AIA San Antonio Honor Award
1020 NE Loop 410, Suite #201, San Antonio, TX 78209
About Marmon Mok Architecture
A firm focused on urban development and historic preservation, Marmon Mok Architecture is a known major contributor to San Antonio’s city-defining Riverwalk. Over the years, its projects for the civic, corporate, healthcare, higher education, educational, non-profit, recreational, and public sectors have been given various awards. These include San Antonio Business Journal’s 2019 Impact of the Year Award, the TSA’s 2018 Design Award, and the 2017 AIA San Antonio Design Awards’ Merit and Mayor’s Choice Awards. Alongside these local and national honors, it has also won the Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence and the AIA San Antonio Honor Award. This award-winning firm is currently managed by managing partner Stephen R. Souter. An AIA Fellow with more than 40 years of directing many of San Antonio’s significant and most complex building programs, Souter is the past president of the Texas Society of Architects, Souter has a Master of Architecture from Texas A&M University.
One of the more high-profile projects the firm has worked on in recent years is the historical rehabilitation and renovation of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts along the Riverwalk. Working with other firms, Marmon Mok Architecture helped to add a new 183,000 square foot facility onto the locally cherished Spanish Colonial building while covering the whole structure in an arresting “metal veil.” The $150 million new center includes a 1,768-seat performance hall and adds a new light to the San Antonio skyline. Also in the Riverwalk area is the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Expansion, which had Marmon Mok Architecture teaming up with other firms for a $325 million remodel of the convention center into a state-of-the-art LEED Silver economic development attraction, with large open courtyards connecting the center with the Riverwalk.
Munoz & Co.
Henry R. Muñoz
Geoffrey S. Edwards
ENR Best of the Best Regional Award,
AIA San Antonio Mayor’s Choice Award,
AIA San Antonio Honor Award
1017 N. Main, San Antonio, TX 78212
About Munoz & Co.
With an interest in promoting community awareness and cultural identity through its design work, Muñoz and Company is one of San Antonio’s oldest and most innovative architecture firms. Since its establishment in 1927, it has built up a portfolio of award-winning projects for the governmental, institutional, higher education, public education, and corporate work sectors. Among its many awards, the firm has AIA San Antonio and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Honor Awards. Principal and CEO Henry R. Muñoz joined the firm in 1983 and has since become a leader in historic and cultural preservation. Muñoz has won many local and national awards, and sits on the Smithsonian Institute’s National Board. Principal and COO Geoffrey S. Edwards joined in 1984. He graduated from the Graduate Architecture Program at the University of Texas, Austin. He has lectured at Trinity University and his work has been featured in Architectural Record, Architecture, and other publications.
Muñoz and Company worked on the $51.2 million, 155,000 square foot expansion of the Academic Learning and Teaching Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, keeping costs for the school down while creating a distinctive and efficient structure that serves as a clinical-education center for the large medical school. The firm also took an old drive-in in San Antonio’s south side and built the inspiring District 3 Mission Branch Library. Located near the historic Mission San Jose, the building recognizes the area’s“cultural precedent,” incorporating ideas suggested by the historic and storied complex. The building’s sloping roof provides shade and cuts down on heat gain, and helps collect rainwater for landscaping. The stylish and welcoming library, with its big windows and courtyards, has become a favorite community gathering place. It won the Honor Award from AIA San Antonio was honored by the national AIA and the American Library Association.
Timothy B. Blonkvist
Robert L. Shemwell
Richard M. Archer
Texas Society of Architects Firm of the Year,
AIA Design Citation of Honor
203 E. Jones Ave. Suite #104, San Antonio, TX 78215
About Overland Partners
Opened in 1987, Overland Partners has built unique and important structures all over Texas and the world, including museums, university buildings, visitor centers, corporate headquarters, and private homes. These projects have gained the firm over 200 local, national, and international design awards such as the TSA’s Firm of the Year Honors. Alongside such awards, Overland Partners has also been named one of Architect magazine’s Top 50 firms and was one of 2016’s Top 50 sustainable design firms. Focused on combining technology, high aesthetics, and cutting-edge sustainability techniques, Overland Partners has expanded its reach to serve clients throughout the United States, China, Latin America, and the Middle East. The firm was founded by Timothy B. Blonkvist, an AIA fellow and architect known for working on award-winning, sustainable projects, from single-family homes to city designs from all over the world. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Architecture, Blonkvist also held a fellowship in urban planning at the Royal Danish Academy.
Overland has done a lot of work for the San Antonio Museum of Art over the years, and the most memorable is the Asian Art Wing, a 13,000 square-foot modern glass module attached to the stately old museum which added a new look to the local institution while referencing the styles of the art collection the building was designed to hold. The addition won an AIA Design Citation of Honor and has been featured in various publications including Texas Architect, Austin American Statesman, San Antonio Express-News, and Texas Monthly. In nearby Austin, the firm also designed a new Liberal Arts Building for the University of Texas—a 212,000 square foot, LEED Gold Certified structure meant to connect the campus’ other liberal arts departments and create a sense of community. Interestingly, the architects thought ahead 100 years down the road, designing the building to not only last beyond that, but also making the faculty offices easy to retrofit and change as the college and the world at large change. An inviting community space with glass walls to encourage interaction between professors and students, the building won an AIA San Antonio Design Merit Award and a Design Award from the American Society of Landscape architects.
AIA San Antonio Design Award,
AIA San Antonio Mayor’s Choice Award,
National AIA Citation Award
314 E. Commerce Street, Suite 103, San Antonio, TX 78205
About Robey Architects
Robey Architects has designed singular education, civic, library, recreation, health care, and residential spaces, and is dedicated to using low-impact and recycled materials, energy-efficient and sustainable techniques, as well as historic conservation and renovation. A 13-year old firm capable of providing architectural, planning, interior design, and renovation services for several project types, Robey Architects has won several awards including the 2010 Golden Trowel Award from the San Antonio Masonry Contractors Association and has been featured in industry magazines such as Dwell, Architectural Record Magazine, and Residential Architect Magazine among many other publications. This firm is managed by principal architect, Thom Robey. A professional with experience in architectural design, planning, management, master planning, adaptive re-use, and new construction, Robey is recognized as one of the Top 50 Graduates in the History of the College of Architecture.
Robey Architects designed the renovated building for Jump Start Performance Company. A 1,956 square foot building, it includes a 150-seat performance theater, gallery, classroom, and offices. To recreate its industrial character, it has stained concrete floors, steel stairs and exposed walls and ceilings. Another notable project is the firm’s work on the Holy Spirit Convent for the Sisters of the Holy Spirit Mary Immaculate, a 46,000 square foot replacement for a 90-year-old building. The new building features green design techniques like air conditioning condensate collection and reuse, natural light and ventilation, and energy-efficient building technologies. The firm created a stylish, comfortable, and modern facility for the 60 sisters, which includes exercise areas, offices, and a chapel. The firm also worked on the Cyprus Student Campus Center for Northwest Vista College in San Antonio—a 56,814 square foot, three-story building with a dining area, bookstore, computer labs, a community room, and a fantastic gathering place under a shade structure that looks out on a lake. The whole structure is open and airy, and conducive to learning and sharing.
745 E. Mulberry Ave, Suite 601, San Antonio, TX 78212
About RVK Architects
Creating a plethora of positive and enduring structures is this architecture firm’s main goal. Established in 1971, RVK Architects provides sustainable architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture solutions for private and public organizations. Thanks to its years of service that has honed its skill and experience within various markets, the firm has been honored with features in publications such as the San Antonio Business Journal and the San Antonio Express-News and numerous awards.
Most recently, the Associated General Contractor of America (AGCA) named it 2018’s Architect of the Year. RVK Architects has won this award nine times since 1993. In 2018, the firm also won the ABC’s Excellence in Construction award. Such awards have been successfully won thanks to the firm’s participation in crafting complex projects like The Vistana. A 551,335 square foot commercial development, The Vistana is an Art Deco-inspired high-rise apartment building that serves as downtown San Antonio’s landmark. To give texture and a vertical movement to the facade, its exterior is designed with both brick pilasters and horizontal bricks.