The inspiration for 2545 Brockton, HWKN’s elegant, new office tower in North Austin emanated from the Texas Hill country: a beautiful, often craggy, landscape stretching west dotted with luscious, inland lakes. “Most of the construction in this tech zone north of downtown is uniformly glass and steel”, says HWKN partner, Dorin Baul. “We wanted our design to stand out by the way it acknowledges the actual landscape.” The 21-story tower for Portman Holdings features staggered, cantilevered terraces on its south and east that allow for lush greenery and socializing. The look references the rock-ledge forms of this part of Texas. Its north and west facades looking away from Austin, however, are conventionally smooth.
HWKN’s material choices are a further homage to the Hill Country: rough-hewn rock lines the columns and a towering rock wall leads from the entrance through the lobby. Individual boulders are placed on the outside terraces. The building’s sophisticated facade features copper mullions and thin columns, or spandrels made from multi-flecked GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), a contemporary ‘terrazzo’. Its textured patina gives the exterior its signature, soft-hued appearance. Surrounded at base by a smaller apartment/office complex designed by Gensler, there’s a grand courtyard at the rear where a rock pool and lush Texas vegetation are showcased.
Typical of HWKN’s emphasis on the importance of a building’s base is the ground-floor terrace that adjoins the street. Covered by an angled wooden screen this ‘breezeway’ houses coffee shops and generates social life much in the same way as the open, greenery-filled terraces above invite workers to congregate outside. HKWN’s 2545 Brockton will be an oasis in North Austin: a community workspace showcasing how innovative design combined with abundant nature enriches the lives of all who work there.