Big Brother Big Sisters Houston, the local chapter of a national organization which supports positive relationships between the community and its youth, was in need of a new local headquarters and a suitable place to call home.
The project features a three-story steel-framed building with glass atrium, Mentoring Hall of Fame, café, children’s play room and an event space on the third floor, including a full kitchen and open-air balcony with views of downtown. The new headquarters also has plenty of open and closed offices for the anticipated growth of the organization.
The process of making this project a reality was a collaborative effort over the course of several phases between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston and a number of generous local individuals, businesses, agencies, and institutions. Having outgrown their home, a former doctor’s office outside of the 610 loop, the organization was looking for a location to expand their services, increase visibility, and improve the organization’s effectiveness and productivity.
The project design was kick-started by a seed grant for initial research provided by the Rice University School of Architecture. During this phase, each member of the 35-member staff of BBBSGH was interviewed to understand the needs of the different teams (e.g. Events and Programming) to understand workflow, interactions, communications and the relationships between the different parts of the organization. Comparative analysis was undertaken of existing local non-profit buildings, as well as analysis of other BBBS organizations throughout the country to learn from existing models. From this basis, the project team of Agency—Agency (project designer) and Method Architecture worked in collaboration with DMAC Construction, Stantec and TBG Partners to bring the project to life. In the spirit of bringing the community together, The Rice Design Alliance hosted a design charrette for the exterior courtyard design which was won by TBG Partners after a lively one day charrette with a number of talented local designers.
Method Architecture and Stantec provided $250,000 in architectural and engineering services pro-bono for the completion of the building.
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