• Austin Central Library porch, a project the San Antonio office continues to work on. - photo courtesy Lake|Flato

Lake|Flato, a fixture of San Antonio for 30 years, has recently opened an Austin outpost. The team, which has been working in the city since March, moved into a new space on the East Side in October. The firm has signed a five-year lease for the space and has plans to grow.

At the moment, the office houses seven employees plus David Lake, FAIA, founding partner of the firm. A native of Austin, Lake has been interested for years in opening an outpost in the city in order to take a more active role in facilitating sustainable growth while maintaining its unique character.

Unlike the San Antonio office, which employs around 90 people and works on a wide variety of projects, the Austin office will focus exclusively on urban redevelopment projects in Austin, mostly in the urban core. This is where they believe they will be able to have the most impact on the city. As a result, those employed in this new office are more focused on city planning and urban development.

One of their goals, according to Lake|Flato Director of Marketing Robert Hoang, is to “make sure that the built environment is in line with the character of Austin, not imported from somewhere else.” Thus, the move to Austin. The kind of work the firm envisions needs to be rooted in the community and focused on what the people who live here need. And what better way to keep an ear to the ground than by establishing an office on East Cesar Chavez, in the heart of the rapidly changing East Austin and walking distance to Austin gems like Veracruz All Natural and La Barbecue.

“We’re not trying to build spaces for tourism,” says Hoang. Instead, the focus is on creating centers of gravity within Austin’s neighborhoods and establishing urban-scale public spaces. Since a connection to the outdoors is central to so many spaces in Austin, landscape design and a connection to the streetscape figure heavily in their projects.

Among items on their upcoming slate of projects is work with Bunkhouse (whose office is located just down the street) on the upcoming Magdalena Hotel and a redevelopment of the Salt Lick into the premier sustainable destination in Hill Country.

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