It’s hard to be in Austin and not pass by, eat at or sleep in a Michael Hsu-designed building (hsuoffice.com). The architect—who’s worked on Austin’s South Congress Hotel, The Line, La Condesa, Uchi, Kick Pleat boutique and countless others—has slowly but surely extended his reach to our fair city, with Heights Mercantile, Local Foods, the new Ninfa’s BLVD Place, Tropicales and Zadok’s just-announced mixed-use building. Though he calls Austin home, Houston is where he grew up, and, this summer, he’ll open an office in the Heights—his first outside of Austin. Here, he gives us the details.
What brought you to Austin? I’m originally from Houston and still have family here. I grew up not too far from Gilley’s, and we’re hoping for a chance to rebuild it! I moved to Austin to attend UT School of Architecture.
How much time will you spend here? Houston is my second home, so I will be here often.
Tell me about the new digs. It is a cool, single-story midcentury storefront that allows for a retail-like pedestrian interaction. We’ve embraced the midcentury feel by exposing the wood ceiling and maintaining the storefront awning. We hope to have four to six people in the studio by the end of the year; the interior will include custom furniture created by our team, some vintage pieces that we love, as well as works by local Texas artists, including a custom floral art installation.
What do you love most about your hometown? Houston has a broader and deeper history of design and architecture than Austin, and that’s something we want to be a part of. We’ve been working in Houston for over a decade and look forward to having a brick-and-mortar home to hang our hat and truly engage in the community. We know that our future is in Houston.