University of Houston at Katy Academic Building
Continuing to build upon its excellent reputation of providing accessible higher education throughout a sprawling metropolis, the University of Houston System was planning a new campus in Katy, part of a rapidly growing energy corridor west of downtown Houston. Its first building would set the campus aesthetic and become an important community resource.
SmithGroup was commissioned to craft a development plan for the new Katy Academic Building, including Design Aesthetics Guidelines while also programming, planning, and designing the Phase I Academic Building. The new academic building pulls from the visual character of facilities across the University of Houston System campuses, while being true to its location in the city of Katy. The material palette is collegiate, humble, and sustainable.
A prominent metal canopy, UH branding and transparency into the lobby clearly guide visitors to the building’s main entrance.
The building serves multiple departments and UH programs with a modular grid of interior spaces that can change as programming evolves. It currently houses a mix of classrooms and labs for nursing, business, and engineering, along with shared student services and flexible office suites for faculty. The interior design is bright and contemporary, with red collegiate wall accents, ample glass along corridors, and openings to shaded outdoor plazas and gardens. The exit stair, with its illuminated lantern, creates a focal point visible from the campus quad.
One of a series of collaborative projects SmithGroup has completed with the University of Houston, the master plan framework and first academic building set the tone for UH at Katy's student environment, architecture, and sustainable design strategies.