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Competition: Houston Endowment

Contest site in Houston
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An international competition has been launched for a $20 million base for US philanthropic organisation Houston Endowment

The two-stage contest – organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants – will select a team to deliver a 3,700m² headquarters for the charity, which promotes education, civic engagement, culture and environmental issues across the Texan city.

The project will transform a 0.6ha site overlooking Spotts Park and the Buffalo Bayou, close to Memorial Parkway and Waugh Drive. The competition comes shortly after Farshid Moussavi Architecture won an international contest for a new Ismaili Centre nearby.

Houston Endowment president and chief executive Ann Stern said: ‘Through this competition, we are looking for a design team to create a new headquarters for us that reflects the way we work today.

‘We need a visible presence that communicates our work as a thought leader and a committed, vital force within the city and region, and that is welcoming and accessible to our community partners. Equally, we need an outstanding workplace that encourages our own team to work collaboratively and effectively.’

Competition director Malcolm Reading said: ‘We are open-minded about the architectural team we are seeking but committed to high-quality design. We would like to encourage emerging talent as well as listen to established; we welcome diversity and international designers.

’The foundation’s site near downtown Houston, adjoining a local park, needs confident architecture and placemaking that can lift the neighborhood, create a new focus and draw people in.’

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth most populous city of the United Sates with 2.3 million inhabitants. Houston Endowment was founded in 1937 by local entrepreneur, real estate developer and politician Jesse Jones and travel and culture enthusiast Mary Gibbs Jones. It’s endowment is valued at $1.8 billion.

In February, Farshid Moussavi Architecture has won a competition to design a landmark Ismaili Centre on a 4.5ha site overlooking the Buffalo Bayou waterway at the junction of Montrose Boulevard and Allen Parkway in central Houston.

The London-based architect – working with AKT II, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and local practice DLR Group – was chosen from a star-studded shortlist which included David Chipperfield Architects, Studio Gang and OMA.

Planned to complete in 2022, the latest project will create a new ‘public face’ for the charity featuring ‘healthy workspaces, accessible and inspiring meeting spaces, and flexible and innovative engagement facilities.’ The winning scheme will be expected to ‘connect strongly’ with the wider landscape and waterfront park.

Interested parties must first submit details of team, experience, and approach. At least four finalists will then receive $50,000 each to draw up conceptual proposals during the competition’s second round.

A winner will be announced in November. The deadline for applications is 10am local time (CDT) on 15 July.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information


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