Architecture + Design

The Center uses ecoBalance, life cycle design and open building systems as fundamental protocols to support our design endeavors. Our place-based methodology strives to balance air, water, food, energy, and materials, taking an integrated approach which uses abundantly available resources onsite before extending dependency to a broader scale. Balancing strategies include energy generated by renewable sources, water requirements fulfilled by on-site rain and wastewater harvesting, wastewater processing by on-site treatment systems, materials selected from indigenous and by-product stock, and air intake matched by the landscape’s ability to regenerate air. We provide design services for private and public sector clients whose projects expand the boundaries of progressive environmental design, particularly in the realms of resource balance, environmental and human health, and democratized access to healthy, affordable shelter. In addition, we collaborate with national project teams who share a vision of establishing measurable benchmarks in a demonstration context.

Texas A&M Solar Decathlon

Unlike most solar decathlon efforts, our work with Texas A&M Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Planning proved to have a degree of relevancy on almost all fronts — from material life cycles to our most recent work using life cycle phases as events that lead the user through everyday rituals of completing resource flows into regenerative environments.

UT-Austin Solar Decathlon

The Center teamed with the University of Texas School of Architecture to participate in the first U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon. The event features 10 contests that measure the energy, water, transportation, environmental quality, market appeal, and livability performance of each team's entry. Designed by the student-faculty team to function entirely off-grid for energy and water, the competition spans 10-days following a 6 day period to construct the buildings on the Washington, DC mall.

Carrizo Springs

Located in the Winter Garden region of South Texas, the Center was engaged by the Community Services Agency of Dimmit, LaSalle and Maverick Counties to establish a caliche block production operation, with a passive solar Girl Scouts Headquarters becoming the community demonstration opportunity for these low embodied energy, locally manufactured block offering local employment and energy efficient affordable housing opportunities.

Hill Country Youth Ranch

A home for abused, neglected, abandoned and troubled children located in Ingram, Texas, the Hill Country Youth Ranch engaged the Center to provide ecological land planning services along with design and engineering of one of the first residential lodges for the Ranch’s children.

Crystal City

A small town in South Texas had its gas cut-off in the winter of 1977 due to a contract dispute with the town’s monopoly gas supplier, leaving the 8,100 residents without heat and hot water. Posing an immediate health risk, the Zavala County Community Development Corporation contacted the Center to assist in an emergency response capacity.


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