Cold-Formed Steel Contributes to a Resilient Municipal Landmark in Texas Hill Country
After nearly 70 years of operating out of a historic elementary school, the City of Boerne, Texas, is about to move into its first-ever City Hall. Designed by Randall Scott Architects, the $22 million facility represents a major milestone for the rapidly growing community 45 miles northwest of San Antonio.
The 45,300-square-foot city hall will house up to 70 employees and serve as a one-stop service center for Boerne residents. Also, the building expands a district known as the Hill Country Mile—a stretch of locally-owned businesses that plays host to many festivals and events each year—enabling the community to grow its profile as a tourist destination.
Because of its significance to the community, the design team needed to ensure the new city hall fit naturally within the city’s architectural heritage and was built using materials and techniques that would ensure the building remains a part of the city’s cultural identity for decades to come.
While designing the Boerne City Hall, Randall Scott, AIA, founding principal and CEO, and Preston Scott, principal of Randall Scott Architects, spent three days immersing themselves in the area’s architectural fabric.
“We looked at the significant pieces of architecture in the city, studied and analyzed them and then reflected those elements in the design of the city hall building,” Randall said. “Contextualism is at the heart of our design philosophy. One couldn’t take the Boerne City Hall and place it anywhere else—it only makes sense on that specific site in Boerne based on the architectural vernacular of the city.”
The region’s heavy Germanic influences can be seen in the city hall’s rough-hewn stone exterior, standing seam metal roofs and arched stone colonnades. Like the European buildings that inspired its design, the Boerne City Hall was designed to serve the city for centuries.
To help achieve the project’s resiliency goals, the architect consulted closely with general contractor Lee Lewis Construction and drywall contractor Millard Drywall & Acoustical Construction to specify a number of steel framing solutions for the building’s interior and exterior framing. In total, the project team installed roughly 250,000 pounds of ClarkDietrich cold-formed steel on the project.
Because they are easy to install and provide streamlined solutions to many design challenges, the steel framing products helped the project team keep the build on schedule and on budget. Additionally, the use of cold-formed steel on a project of this magnitude made it easier to coordinate with other trades, such as the electrician, mechanical contractor and plumber, giving them access to the building earlier than if the walls were constructed of another material.
“When my name and reputation is on the line, I want to make sure that we are working with the best products on the market,” said Jonathan Lamb, project manager for Millard Drywall. “With this job being the size that it is, we wanted to make sure that we had the best out there for our guys to work with.”
The city hall project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2019 and will no doubt raise the profile of this community of just over 16,000. It will be a landmark the city can be proud of for a very long time.