West of West experiments with “beautiful roughness” for Austin offices
West of West has completed a concrete office complex in east Austin, Texas with flexible workspaces, community amenities and green public spaces between buildings that reinterpret the neighborhood’s industrial context.
The 230,000-foot (21,370-square-meter) two-building creative complex was designed by West of West, a studio with offices in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, with American studio Gensler serving as architect of record.
Completed in 2022, Eastbound spans 3.4 hectares and was inspired by the visual language of the neighboring warehouse, such as the punched windows and linear masses.
Eastbound is a concrete office complex in Austin, Texas
“When the project began, our team spent time in the neighborhood to understand the character and opportunity of the site,” said West of West partner Clayton Taylor.
“We were taken by the low concrete and metal warehouses, surrounded by wild landscapes and ancient oaks, and the way those buildings were aging after fifty years and the landscape had grown up around them. There was a kind of beautiful roughness to the buildings. We set out to make a contemporary version of the industrial warehouse, one that can age well over time.”
The buildings are organized around a central paseo that creates a lively, organic relief from the mesh facade and serves as the main circulation space between the restaurant, lounge, gym and office lobbies.
To the West of the West a central path through the terrain was said
The central street is marked by small gathering spaces that descend into the building, creating a “living room” that connects the indoor and outdoor areas.
“A forest-like colonnade of concrete columns emerges from the landscape to create a sheltered outdoor public space,” the studio said.
Leaning structural columns enliven the landscape
Leaning structural columns enliven the landscape and rise to a warm wood-clad layer that transitions into the regimented expression of the primary facade.
According to the client’s mandate for economy, the entire building is made of concrete and not glass like other local office buildings.
“Our goal was to experiment with concrete and challenge ourselves to design something unique,” said the studio.
The entire building is made of concrete and not glass
West of West used custom and colored precast concrete panels fabricated by Redondo Manufacturing.
The panels have a softened “salt and pepper” exposed aggregate finish that contrasts with the smooth concrete columns and a slight angle that creates more detail within the facade.
“These subtle but well-crafted details bring life to the face of the building as it invites more play between light and shadow,” continued the studio.
This contrasts with the locally sourced wood detailing in the public areas
The development of the square module facade balanced glazing percentage, energy efficiency and maximum modular standardization to work within fabrication limits and accelerate the construction timeline.
The concrete is contrasted with locally sourced timber details in the public areas and champagne-coloured lamps for the glazing system which “enhance the ‘gentle brutalist’ aesthetic of the rest of the exterior materials”.
Floor-to-ceiling storefront windows create natural light
Behind the column grille, floor-to-ceiling storefront windows bring natural light deep into the ground level and bounce it off the polished concrete floor.
On the upper levels, large window openings frame expansive views and bring light into high-ceilinged spaces.
The open floor plan can be adapted and reconfigured
The open floor plan can be adapted and reconfigured for the needs of future tenants.
“The interiors are designed to feel like old west meets new industrial contemporary, with an emphasis on creating spaces that are distinctly of where the building is,” noted the studio.
He chose metal and leather materials that patina over time without compromising durability.
West of West combines plywood with white surfaces for San Francisco eyewear store
Interiors include murals by local artist Emily Eisenhart and large-scale custom steel light fixtures in each entry created by local lighting studio Warbach.
Each office level features a covered deck, set back from the main facade, and the buildings are topped with open-air roof terraces.
Extensive custom steel fittings are included in the interior
The capital of Texas is the second fastest growing city in the United States.
Nearby, Gensler completed a massive wooden office building that is covered by a solar panel canopy, and a number of skyscrapers, including a supertall by KPF, are under construction in the city.
Photo taken by Chase Daniel.
Architect: West of the West
West of West Project Team: Clayton Taylor, Acting Chair, Jai Kumaran, Justin Cua, Jen Endozo, Keely O’Brien, Tom Adamson
Data Architect: Gensler – Austin
Civil Engineer: Civilitude
Landscape architect: TBG
Structural Engineer: Associate of Architectural Engineers
Mechanical & Hydraulic Engineer: Integral Group
Electrical Engineer: Integral Group
Outdoor lighting designer/manufacturer: Warbach Lighting
Muralist: Emily Eisenhart
Art consultant: Met /Gal
Interior designer: West of West
Owner: KOR Group / Lincoln Property Company
General Contractor: Harvey Cleary
Under concrete: Redondo
Structural system: Concrete
Exterior cladding: Precast concrete panels / Acoya Wood
Polishing: Solar Acuity
Soffits / wood accents: Delta Millworks, Accoya