Robert J. and Helen C. Kelberg South Texas Heritage Center / Ford, Powell & Carson

Robert J. and Helen C. Kelberg South Texas Heritage Center / Ford, Powell & Carson
© Dror Baldinger
© Dror Baldinger
Museum  · 
San Antonio, United States
  • architects Authors of this architecture project Ford, Powell & Carson
  • Area Area of this architecture project
    20570.0 sqm
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project

© Dror Baldinger © Dror Baldinger © Dror Baldinger © Dror Baldinger + 17

© Dror Baldinger
© Dror Baldinger
  • Construction Administration

    Steve Trevino
  • Project Designer

    Nathan Perez
  • MEP

    TTG Goetting
  • Structural

    Danysh & Associates
  • Civil

    Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc.
  • Landscape

    Dixie Watkins, III & Associates
  • Lighting

    Available Lighting
  • Construction

    Guido Brothers Construction Company

The South Texas Heritage Center Museum includes the restoration of the historic Pioneer Hall and the design of an addition, set on the banks of the San Antonio River, intended to breathe new life into the existing building originally constructed for Texas’ Centennial celebration. The new South Texas Heritage Center continues the original founder’s mission of teaching the stories South Texas settlers through the use of historic artifacts, paintings, and photographs from the Witte Museum’s vast collection utilizing the latest interactive displays to engage and educate both children and adults about the history of the region.

© Dror Baldinger
© Dror Baldinger

The challenge was to design a sensitive addition that would enhance the beauty of this important historic Beaux-Arts building. Inspired by the building’s setting within Brackenridge Park along the San Antonio River, the architect developed a design concept for the addition reminiscent of a 1930’s era park pavilion that would be full of light with sweeping views of the river. It was important to design an addition with scale and proportions relating to, and reflecting architectural elements of the existing landmark building, while at the same time avoiding the construction of its mirror image.

© Dror Baldinger
© Dror Baldinger

The steel-framed curtain wall of the addition encloses a grand 30-foot tall atrium space, which serves not only as the grand entrance hall for the new Center, but also as a wonderful place for receptions and fundraising.  The preserved West exterior wall of Pioneer Hall provides a beautiful interior backdrop to the glass covered atrium, and also acts as the physical link between the old and new.

© Dror Baldinger
© Dror Baldinger

Sustainable features were incorporated in the design from the very beginning including deep overhangs, insulated UV-filtered glass, locally sourced materials, and a grey water drip irrigation system.  The foundation of the addition is predominantly suspended slab, which was designed to have as little impact on the undisturbed natural grade as possible, while also allowing river floodwater to flow beneath it during heavy rains.


The highlight of the new landscape surrounding the South Texas Heritage Center is the riverside amphitheater that uses cut stone benches and natural boulders, woven beneath the canopies of existing trees, to minimize the impact on the park setting.

Project gallery

See all Show less

Project location

Address: 3801 Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX 78209, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Robert J. and Helen C. Kelberg South Texas Heritage Center / Ford, Powell & Carson" 16 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Read comments

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.