McKinney York Architects

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African American Cultural & Heritage Facility

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“The African American Cultural and Heritage Facility really stood out as a good example of how a museum can be part of a neighborhood and how it could be integrated into a neighborhood.

-Teresa Rosano, AIA

The focal point of this project is the modest 1890’s Dedrick-Hamilton House built by the son of a freed slave. Relying entirely on its vertical board sheathing for support, the fragile structure survived in the same family until acquired by the City. Located at the gateway to the African American Cultural and Heritage District, this project restores and repurposes the home as the District’s Visitors Center. Offices, meeting rooms, parking, and a performance space for community organizations are housed in a new structure that respects the scale, proportions, and material palette of the historic shops and houses of 11th Street while filling in a long-missing segment of the street-wall. A shade screen throws deep shadow on the rear wing providing a recessive backdrop to the historic house while defining a sheltered courtyard for outside performances and gatherings.

Recognition: Merit Award, AIA Austin, 2013; Historic Rehabilitation Award, Preservation Texas, 2013; Preservation Merit Award, Preservation Austin, 2013

Publication: Shack Becomes History Center: African American Center Coming to East Austin, KXAN, Jan 2011

Sustainability: LEED NC Gold certified, reduction of urban heat-island effect, bicycle storage and shower facilities, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures (30% reduction), drought-tolerant native vegetation, high efficiency irrigation (30% reduction), high-efficiency mechanical system and lighting (45% energy reduction), photovoltaic panels, occupancy sensing controls, day-lit occupied areas, salvaged and reused materials, locally manufactured and extracted materials, FSC certified woods, construction waste diverted from landfill, low-emitting materials, views to exterior, high-efficiency ventilation, construction air quality control plan

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