LCRA Dalchau Service Center
Project type: Commercial
Project size: 98520
Cost/sq ft: $0
Completion date: May 01, 2004

Project Goals

The design team's challenge: Take an existing industrial site used mainly by the LCRA and transform the three buildings closest to the street into professional office space and a public conference center. Specifically:

  • Create a more professional, appealing building
  • Establish street appeal on Montopolis Drive
  • Improve public access to the conference center, while keeping employee areas secure
  • Improve vehicular traffic around site
  • Improve office space layout to meet current LCRA standards
  • Design open office areas to promote flexibility in moving people and departments
  • Maximize glass
  • Obtain a 2-star rating from  Austin Energy Green Building™—at the time, a 3-star rating was the highest available

Project Description

Combine three existing buildings and a new addition into Building A of the LCRA Dalchau Service Center.The total area of improvements is 98,520 square feet. New construction— including the addition, the mezzanine, and usable covered areas—represents only 25% of the project area. Most of the shell—slab, columns, roof joists, and some of the roof deck—was re-used, and the three buildings were combined into a large self-contained whole. Prior to this work, the Dalchau Service Center added two new buildings and renovated four existing buildings

Two renovated portions of Building A are strictly office space for employees. The third renovated portion is the electrical panel shop, where electrical panels and meters are assembled and tested. The addition is a more public space, complete with conference center, indoor and outdoor dining, a warming kitchen, and a large lobby for displaying educational information about the LCRA.

The limestone block at the conference center identifies it as an important public space. Large expanses of curtainwall across the front and into the courtyard maximize the daylighting of the main circulation spaces. Low E green-tinted glass and solar shading devices above each office window complement the building and add a distinctive look.

Project Features


  • Provides flexible, open office areas for growth and change
  • Maximizes daylighting in public areas and offices
  • Re-uses existing structure and unifies buildings
  • Project exceeded expectations with a 3-star rating, the highest available at the time
  • Previously developed site
  • Re-uses existing buildings, including foundation, structure, roof joists, and some roof deck—contaminants removed from slab
  • The total area of improvements is 98,520 square feet, of which only 25% is new construction
  • Pervious pavers and decomposed granite used in place of impervious paving
  • Construction staging limited to pre-developed areas
  • Addresses heat-island effect with shading (trees), high-albedo roofing (white single-ply), and light-colored pavers at parking
  • Alternate transportation to encourage pedestrian and bike traffic
  • Showers, lockers, and bike racks provided
  • Close to bus lines


  • Native and adapted plants reduce need for irrigation
  • Irrigation concentrated at public areas and reduced elsewhere
  • Exceeded City of Austin's tree-planting requirements, which increase shade and decrease evapotranspiration
  • Onsite water quality pond
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce potable water consumption
  • No pollutant-leaching materials used in sitework

Energy and Atmosphere:

  • High efficiency central chiller
  • Occupant controls in public areas
  • Elimination of incandescent lighting
  • High albedo (high reflectivity, low emissivity) roofing keeps heat gains through roof to a minimum
  • High performance glass
  • Assigned a commissioning agent and included a commissioning plan in specifications
  • High efficiency motors specified for equipment

Materials and Resources:

  • Dedicated recycling areas throughout
  • Low-VOC paints, adhesive, and sealants
  • Metal siding with high recycled content
  • Limestone exterior cladding locally quarried—low embodied energy
  • Minimized use of plastic laminates with stained MDF on millwork
  • No CFCs or HCFCs in cooling equipment
  • Locally produced flyash specified in concrete
  • Locally produced mechanical system components and grease trap
  • 100% recyclable carpeting and backing contain recycled materials
  • Limestone flooring at concourses

Indoor Environmental Quality:

  • Views to the outdoors via an interior landscaped courtyard
  • High efficiency direct/indirect lighting and task lighting reduce glare
  • Expanses of low-E curtainwall and large windows bring natural light into office spaces and corridors
  • Clerestory brings light into interior corridors
  • Skylights bring natural light into electrical panel fabrication and testing shops
  • Shading devices on windows cut glare, direct sunlight, and heat gain in perimeter spaces
  • Low-VOC paints and coatings reduce off-gassing and increase occupant comfort
  • Sound attenuation batts specified at all noise-producing areas to reduce sound pollution
  • Source pollutants well-ventilated

Innovations and Other:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining areas and an on-site café allow employees to eat without leaving site
  • Reduction of overall floor plate size by using efficient office layout
  • Hotel spaces for employees officing in building part-time
  • Central file locations permit smaller individual offices

Testing/General Results:

  • Unified the buildings as viewed from outside and experienced inside
  • Designed a building for use by both the general public and employees
  • Improved the image of a large building
  • Designed a public-friendly building by moving the security fence, adding landscaping, and creating an identifiable "front door"
  • Collaborated with long-term employees to design and build a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, healthy, and efficient work environment
  • LCRA employees learned about sustainable design first-hand
  • Positive feedback from LCRA Project Manager, Guy Dawes: "I believe we have a quality design that exceeds our initial expectations with respect to material selection, lay-out, user requirements, green building criteria and landscaping"
  • Positive feedback from Austin Energy Green Building representative, Maureen Scanlon· "Excellent job of putting together specs for the DD phase. These are the most complete we have ever reviewed. Keep up the good work. The design intent narratives were well put together."


Last Updated: 12/30/14
Project Team

(512) 477-9417



The design team transformed an existing industrial site into professional office space and a public conference center. Much of the existing shell was re-used: foundation, columns, beams, joists, skylights, and roof deck.

The combination of glass, aluminum, and steel visually connects the industrial nature of the site and the professional use of the building. The exaggerated cantilever above the curtainwall identifies it as the main entry.

Comfortable landscaped areas around the building allow employees to spend time outdoors.