People often ask us, "What kind of architecture do you do? Houses? Schools? Office buildings? Retail?" To that question we always answer, "Yes."
Airport infrastructure? Yeah, we do that, too.
Earlier this week we learned that our proposal for a new air traffic control tower had been been declared the winner in a completion sponsored by the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio AIA. For this effort we collaborated with Work5hop and together developed a proposal that will create a functional landmark that pays homage to the unique history of the site.
Stinson Municipal Airport played an important role in the early days of flight. In addition to being a training site for World War I pilots, “Stinson Field” was also the home of the first woman-operated flying school in the nation. This rich heritage is what is referenced in the proposed "design enhancements" - an engineering firm had already designed the main portion of the tower and the competition was held to devise ways to improve it.
Our proposal calls for a steel armature to be attached to the precast concrete panels of the original tower design. The form and articulation of this secondary structure references the construction of early aircraft and their fabric-clad skin. As the site of the tower is 2,000 feet from the terminal, the enhancements are intended to be legible from a great distance. During the day the fabric-clad airfoil shapes, steel cables and struts read as abstracted interpretations of biplane wings. At night, these wings glow with internal LED illumination. All this occurs below the level of the control tower cab so as to not interfere with its FAA-mandated function.