Fifth and Tillery, an adaptive reuse project, has revitalized a post-industrial site in East Austin, Texas. Limited to the footprint of an existing warehouse, the site has been reimagined as a vibrant indoor-outdoor creative office building.
The design inverts the typical office environment by bringing pedestrian circulation outdoors, which reduces energy demand and promotes tenant wellbeing. An inviting entry plaza serves as an outdoor lobby. Oriented to the south, the plaza invites predominant breezes into a landscaped courtyard that doubles as a multitenant corridor and source of daylight.
The site features a central green corridor and rain garden inspired by the native ravine microhabitats of Central Texas. An onsite reclaimed water system captures roof runoff, directing it to the raingarden and water feature that runs through the campus.
Integration of nature throughout the property draws users into common spaces, creating a dynamic social environment that encourages chance connections and spontaneous collaboration. A large social stairway promotes active design and can also function as an auditorium for community events. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the shaded courtyard, and a north-facing elevation maximizes views of the landscape.
Punched openings balance daylight and heat gain along the east and west facing facades. Bolstering the building’s sustainability, an overhead photovoltaic array and covered walkways provide shade. To improve air quality, integrated louvers with fresh air fans were placed around the courtyard where landscape and breezes provide natural filtration. The expansive photovoltaic array helps reduce the building’s embodied and operational carbon footprint.
The architectural theme is utilitarian and natural, with a simple palette of industrial materials layered onto a hybrid timber structure that blends seamlessly into neighboring districts. Complimentary materials—left-over glulam segments—were used as benches that mirror the beams of the primary structure. Prominently placed cisterns at the building’s entry reflects the site’s industrial history and emphasis on sustainable design.
On the building team:
Owner and/or developer: CIM Group
Design architect: Gensler
Architect of record: Gensler
MEP engineer: Arete
Structural engineer: MJ Structures
General contractor/construction manager: RM Chiapas