Silver Express Complex | Houston, Texas

Design based upon an analysis of the manufacturer’s technological and programmatic parameters

The new offices and distribution center for Silver Express, a wholesale and retail jewelry manufacturer, and the adjacent retail center are located in a commercial area in southwest Houston. The site is bordered on the southeast by the Regency Square Office Park, a planned and regulated development, and on the northwest by retail strip centers that extend west along Harwin Drive.

The design is based upon an analysis of the manufacturer’s technological and programmatic parameters. The structures relate to their surrounding context by addressing both the office park and strip center environments bounding the site. RHA investigated the architectural relationships between the planned and ordered office park development and the informal nature of the surrounding strip centers. Existing on the periphery of both conditions led to a strategy that allowed for influences from both while yielding a third condition: a distinct entity that mitigates between the two. From the west the retail center functions as a terminus for the development on Harwin Drive. From the east the office/distribution center acts as a frontispiece for the office development. An interstitial garden space between the new retail center and the new office/distribution center acts as a pedestrian anchor within the site.

The split organizational scheme of the office/distribution center places the offices on the Regency Square development side and the distribution center on the retail side. Third-level offices flank the two-story distribution area, and a floating conference room occupies the center. Spaces interconnect visually, strengthening the connection and interface of these two functions.

The retail center stretches along the eastern perimeter of the site forming a broad backdrop for commercial activities. The overhanging fascia, which is turned up at the north end, provides a place for the center’s identifying graphics. It also extends over the first floor of the office building and presents a datum line that defines the retail portion of the project. A large masonry volume anchoring the attenuated third-floor slab contains the employee security programs. The metal, glass and masonry surfaces of the office/distribution building and the plaster surfaces of the retail center are used to codify the programmatic as well as contextual conditions.

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