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Coming soon! In the meantime, have a look at some of our articles.
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Tesla! Solar! Roof!
Turn your roof into a powerplant, harnessing the energy of the sun!  Install it for less than traditional clay tile roofing!  Warranty lasts for infinity years!  It's the best thing since sliced bread, and better as a roofing material! Take a deep breath.  Tesla's very good at this superlative marketing thing.  And -- spoiler alert -- the solar roof is pretty cool.  But there are some things to consider before you climb up on your roof with a hammer and nails.  Er, wiring harness.  Er, batteries?  Hang on.  Let's talk it through.
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Flasher, the Pearl, and Tobin Hill
Flasher Equipment Company is one of the largest landholders in Tobin Hill, and their property is the linchpin to the next phase of changes coming to one of the city's rockstar urban redevelopment precincts.  As their property changes hands -- and character -- what should happen to make the most of it from an urban planning perspective?
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State of Work5hop: Year 2
2016 was a great year.  We built on the successes we had last year, had a few (great) surprises along the way, and ended on a high note.  Read on for more about what 2016 held and what we're looking forward to in 2017.
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What You Need to Know About Reclaimed Wood
Good news: we're not in the 80s any more.  You can stop dreaming in beige and looking enviously at your neighbor's fake tumbled marble ceramic tile.  There's a new-re-found interest in authenticity.  What does that mean?  Lots of things like using natural materials (with some careful use of synthetics and composites that don't pretend they're natural), doing away with materials mimicry, and burgeoning interest in reclaimed materials.  Let's talk a little about why and how to use reclaimed wood, with a few bonus thoughts about what NOT to do.
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History, Theory, and Additions
A fair bit of the work we do involves working with historic buildings.  This is becoming a more salient reality for many architects.  Our cities are aging, downtowns are being revitalized, and there's more focus on keeping and building on what we have rather than wiping the slate clean and starting over.  This article looks at a specific issue to illuminate two discrete positions: new additions to historic buildings.  This is a project type we grapple with on a regular basis, so read on for some thoughts.
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UTMB's East Plant: MORE POWER
We've developed a bit of a sub-specialization in thermal energy plants with the completion of UTMB's East Plant.  This is number three for Work5hop's personnel (UTSA's North Thermal Energy Plant and Northeast Lakeview College's Physical Plant are the others, both done while with another firm).  A fourth plant -- a substantial expansion of UTMB's West Plant -- is under construction now.  Read on for more about the East Plant, its design parameters, and its capabilities.
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Housing Economics
We're a very design-centric firm, but part of design is a deeper understanding of concepts at work.  That sometimes leads us a bit further afield than "look at this pretty picture" into the realm of numbers and analysis.  The intersection of design, home ownership, and economics is an interesting one.  First, let's talk about economics and owning a house, then we'll look at ties between design and the latter two concepts in a future post.  Homeownership has declined nation-wide in the past several decades.  As owning a home remains a dream of many and the level of homeownership is viewed as an indication of economic conditions, this is an important metric.  We're going to evaluate that situation from the construction and real estate side.
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The Process, Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions
We'll wrap up our four-part series on the process of getting projects done with answers to some questions that we get frequently.  Don't forget to go back and read our previous articles in this series, and if you have a question we didn't cover, send it in.
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The Process, Part 3: Things You Should Know About Construction
We hope you've been reading along with our series about the process of getting a project done.  If not, you may want to go back and read Part 1 (hiring a designer) and Part 2 (the design process).  Now, we're on to Part 3: construction.   Things get tougher during construction.  While hiring a designer and working through the design process might have been alternately a bit confusing (hiring) and fun (design), construction ups the ante into "playing for keeps" territory.  Keep reading for more.
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The Process, Part 2: What's This Design Thing All About?
This second part in our series about the design and construction process on small projects is all about design itself.  Design is the fun part, both for you and for us.  This is the second-best stage of a project: the skies are clear and blue and we're talking about what can be.  Everything is exciting at the beginning, and it's our goal for the tough parts of the project to be just as rewarding and exciting as the first conversation.  The best part, of course, is when you get to use your new space for the first time, but there's work to do first.  Read on.
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The Process, Part 1: So You've Decided to Hire a Designer
Maybe you've read our articles on right-sizing your house, renovating a historic property, or table design and thought to yourself "these guys sound like they know what they're talking about.  I want them to work on my [fill in the blank]."  Well, great.  We're in.  Please contact us.  But if you have questions about the design and construction process, then this series of articles is for you.  We're going to walk through the process of hiring a designer, designing your project, hiring and working with a contractor, and completion.
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Old Red Medical Museum Concept
As the first medical school west of the Mississippi, established in 1891, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston's (UTMB) history is compelling and unique, and the university has long wanted to establish a museum dedicated to its history and the anatomical samples which were historically used for teaching purposes.  The chosen site for the museum is a building universally called Old Red, formally known as the Ashbel Smith Building.  It is the first dedicated building at UTMB, and it housed the entirety of the university's teaching and adminstrative operations when it was built.  It's also one of the most significant buildings in the state – it was designed by Nicholas Clayton and completed in 1891.  Work5hop worked with a UTMB committee to develop a conceptual design and to perform an analysis of the space for its fitness as a museum.  Read on for more.
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Brackenridge by the Numbers
Brackenridge Park is in the news a lot these days -- we're working on its first new master plan in over 30 years, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy is starting to gain steam, and there's a bond election coming up that could fund some transformative projects in the park.  In spite of that, many people don't really know much about the city's most popular park.  So here are some facts and figures that you might find surprising.
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How Big Should My House Be?
A lot of people these days are reconsidering where they live in the city and what the tradeoffs are for choosing center-city living in terms of affordable space.  If you're thinking along those lines, read on for our thoughts about what's important in a smaller home.
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State of Work5hop: Year 1
It's been a year since Work5hop was founded.  It's time to reflect on where we started, where we are, and where we're going.  Most design firms don't assess progress on any kind of regular basis.  Those which do certainly don't share it.  We will.  Why?  We believe that trust is the very core of your relationship with us, whether you're our client, a consultant who works with us, or merely someone who is interested in who we are and what we're up to.  Communicating openly about status and intentions is important in any relationship.  So that's our intention.
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Opinion: The Public Realm
San Antonio has seen significant increases in property values over the past three years.  That affects more than just your property tax: public policy adapts as well to address the changes in actual versus perceived land value.  But dollars are only half of the equation for public entities.  Just as important are how we want our city to develop and the kinds of places we want to create here.  As a city, we should make decisions about public land which take quality of life into consideration, not just money.  Read on for more thoughts.
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Stinson Field Control Tower
If you follow Work5hop on social media, you probably couldn't help but notice that we -- along with our teammate, Brantley Hightower of HiWorks Architecture -- won a recent competition to redesign a proposed new control tower at Stinson Field.  This is a very important win for our firms, and we're honored to have been selected.  We thought that the competition and our design might be worth an article to explain a bit more about both, plus a few words on where we go from here.  Read on for more.
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Foodcraft: Roasted Vegetables
This is an easy one -- everyone knows how to roast vegetables, right?  Well, not everyone knows just how easy it is.  So here's a quick primer on the basics.
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Collateral Design: Principles
We could have started here, I suppose, in this resuscitation of Collateral Design with a series of writings about principles.  But we didn't, mainly to give some context to this exchange, which lies at the heart of this series of back-and-forth about architecture, meaning, and philosophies about what we intend to accomplish with architecture.
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Historic Homes: Advanced Class
What, you thought it was that easy ?  Nope.  Those were just the basics.  What, you've already bought the house?  Well, good for you.  Time to get serious about this.  Unless you want to just hand the project off to someone else (like Work5hop!), historic preservation and renovation are hands-on, in-depth projects.  Once you get deeply into it, you'll run across situations that you never imagined.  I've tried to lay out a few of them here.
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220 West Fair Oaks
220 West Fair Oaks is an Alamo Heights home built in the 1940s.  Work5hop collaborated with with Homes by Estate, a local interior design firm, on a comprehensive renovation and addition.  Click through for photos by CraigMac Visuals.  Plan by Work5hop.
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Collateral Design: Thermal Delight in Texas
The latest entry in the Collateral Design series tackles a timely topic, given that we're in the middle of our annual mid-September heat wave: thermal comfort and its meaningfulness to life, architecture, and everything.  It also includes slant references to Ben Franklin's finest literary work.  Bonus points if you catch those.
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Historic Homes: Basic Do's and Don'ts
Buying a historic home can be a leap of faith; many people are unfamiliar with the particular challenges of an older building.  Do you know what you need to know before jumping in?  Here are a few things you should know as well as some things you should and shouldn't do.  Give it a read before you buy and renovate a historic home.
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Gallery: 618 East Locust
This is a gallery of a first and ongoing project: 618 East Locust.  The home was built around 1920, and most of its original architectural detail was lost in a series of renovations beginning around 1950.
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Collateral Design: Complexity and Contradiction
This second in a series of blog posts rescued from digital dust tackles the question of what "complex" really means for modern architecture.  As technology and aesthetics have changed, we've traded traditional ornamentation for building performance in some interesting ways.
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Collateral Design: Decay and Renewal
Back in 2011, Brantley Hightower (fellow architect, former college roommate, co-best man, and founder of HiWorks Architecture) and I co-wrote a blog called the Collateral Design Blog.  It was largely structured as a dialogue, based off of the emails we'd send back and forth.  From time to time, I'll be mining that work for articles here.  First up is a discussion about design, decay, weathering, and how all of that interrelates.
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Essay: Gentrification
Investment has risen in the near-urban core recently, particularly in that ring of neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown, so gentrification is a popular discussion point lately.     I believe it's important to improve our neighborhoods while keeping -- and increasing -- the diversity of experiences and culture which defines the city.
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Planters
As you may have noticed if you read W5's article on making an Old Fashioned, we define craft as something larger than how you may have perceived it in your high school shop class.  It's not just about making things out of wood: it's about making things, period.  There's lots of stuff in this world that you can make better than anything you can buy, either because you've got specific desires or because modern industry is great at repetition but bad at thoughtful design. These planters are that for me: they solve a specific problem, and they also help enable a larger goal.  Read on for detailed instructions, including a downloadable PDF.
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Wood and Its Relatives
I promise that talking about wood isn't boring.  It's one of those things that seems pretty simple, until you've worked with it.  There are three basic classifications of wood-based materials out there: wood itself, materials which are primarily pieces of wood glued together (plywood and some more esoteric materials that aren't part of this discussion), and materials which are as much adhesive as they are tiny little bits of wood (MDF and particle board, among others).  Keep reading for some thoughts on some strengths and weaknesses.
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Planning Principles
One of Work5hop's specializations is master planning.  Many of the things that designers do are easily comprehensible -- architecture, interior design, and a host of related fields are well understood.  Master planning, however, isn't.  That's unfortunate, because master planning is the step most critical to the success of building projects and how they relate to larger goals.  This is true for a project as small as home renovation and as large as a university campus.  My perspective on master planning relates directly to the belief that what you build should be translated directly from those larger goals.  Read on for details.
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Crafting an Old Fashioned
Anything made can be crafted -- it's about being thoughtful and intentional, not about any product in particular.  A wheel of cheese can be crafted, just like a rocking chair.  Is it a little annoying and hipster-y to expand the definition of "crafted" so far?  Yes, it is.  Deal with it.  Maybe a nice drink would help you feel better.  We're going to craft it, though, so take a shot first and click on through.
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Essay: Appearances Don't Matter
Designers spend a great deal of time on how things look.  But that's only one part of a much bigger picture; the experience of a space, which is what impacts us the most, is much more than appearances.  Read on for more thoughts on what we should value in design.
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Prototyping: Copper Pendant Fixture
The office doesn't have very good lighting at the moment, primarily because the light fixtures are currently dumb exposed-bulb ceramic fittings screwed to the ceiling.  Classy, it isn't; fast and cheap, it was.  Time to fix that situation.  This is the first of a couple of articles documenting the process of prototyping two copper pendant fixtures which will hang in the office, specifically to light a desk and a table.
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A Day In the Life: A Visit to the Precast Plant
Every now and again, we'll be posting articles about what we're up to.  Design and construction may not be as exciting as, say, being a touring musician or pyrotechnics techician, but occasionally we get to do neat stuff that you don't see every day.  This first article is about a visit to the precast concrete plant.  Don't know what that is or how it could be called "neat?"  Then A) please humor me on the whole "neat" thing, and B) read on.
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The History of South Llano River State Park
The South Llano River State Park project is a joint effort between Work5hop and our good friends at Ford, Powell & Carson. The project involves a restoration of a 1910 residence and a new headquarters, and it is currently at the end of the schematic design phase. Rachel Wright with Ford, Powell & Carson is our guest author.  This is the first in a series of articles talking about the history, design process, and eventual construction out at South Llano River State Park.
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SA Historical Context Map: Not Gone, Not Forgotten
If you live in or have visited San Antonio, you've probably heard about the acequias.  Ever wonder where they were?  On a visit to the Alamo, have you ever wanted to know where the historic limits of the mission were?  Did you know that San Antonio had 90 ( ninety! ) miles of streetcar lines in the late 1920s? Context is an important thing, and San Antonio has more of it than any other city in Texas.  Learn more about what was there by exploring this map, which overlays historical features on a modern map.
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Modeling Carlos Cortes's San Antonio Grotto
The grotto on the San Antonio River is a one-of-a-kind blending of Carlos Cortes's faux bois artistry with some very unusual architectural and engineering work.  Other pieces have been written on Carlos's work; this article focuses on the techniques used during design and then to communicate the design to the entire construction team.
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A Building or a Fork?
A few words about the whys and wherefores of the intersection of building and planning, with a side comparison of buildings and eating utensils.  The two (uh, building and planning, not building and forks) should be a lot more similar than they are to many designers.  Here's also what that approach means in the instance of a particular Texas A&M component campus.
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Walking Distance: Brackenridge Park Master Planning
San Antonio's Brackenridge Park reflects the character and history of one of the state's oldest large cities.  The park is embedded in the fabric of the city, but more than that, the park itself has shaped the development of the city around it.  This ongoing project, the first phase of which was completed while the author was at Ford, Powell & Carson, is of critical importance to the city.
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W5 Cabinets: cabinets aren't boring.
Work5hop's office is a custom-built studio that combines an office and workshop.  We'll have a series of articles talking about various parts of the building as it continues to evolve; this first one is about the custom cabinets in the office.  The studio is our chance to play around with ideas and build prototypes of projects that will make it to production later, so read on to find out about what we explored with the cabinetry.  Yes, cabinetry.  It's a lot more interesting with a little thoughfulness.
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About the website...
We're a design firm.  You've probably gathered that.  So the website has been designed (and, incidentally, programmed in house) with some particular goals in mind that are quite a bit different from a typical design firm's website.  Click on through for a brief intro about the website and what you can expect.
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The Table Matters and related considerations
Here's what's most important in designing a kitchen table: enhancing experiences. "What?" you say? Not how it looks, or what it's made of? Nope, not those, even though that's what you probably think about the most. And how does a table enhance an experience, anyway? Read on to find out.
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NOLA Tables
We've recently completed a suite of tables for NOLA Brunch & Beignets, a new San Antonio restaurant run by Pieter and Susan Kaars-Sypestyn of Cookhouse fame.  These tables were designed especially for the restaurant.  The food and atmosphere at the Cookhouse and NOLA draw from deep sources of inspiration: the blend of cultures in New Orleans, the specific and complex climate and local resources, and the distinct foodways of the region.  The architecture, interiors, and furnishings of the new restaurant draw from the same inspiration.  We have blended the historic with the new, and reworked what some would see as discards into centerpieces.
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Bijou
This second in a series of posts about craft cocktails details the process to make a Bijou.  The Bijou is not a well-known drink, although it's older than many of the popular drinks today.  It's unusual in its combination of flavors, so if you're not a fan of the whiskey-driven class of cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and variants thereof, you might want to give this one a try.  The bijou has an interesting vegetal flavor which makes it a bit lighter -- although not lighter in alcohol content -- than some of the usual heavyweights.