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Ferdinand and MLK Office Building

Nestled in a vibrant, walkable area of East Austin on MLK Blvd., steeped in history and local neighborhood amenities, the Ferdinand is not just a building but a unique structure that functions as a testament to sustainability and wellness. Its design, guided by the best practices of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Framework for Design Excellence and the WELL Building Standard, sets it apart.

The Ferdinand’s shell-building design was not just about the present, but also about the future. It anticipates tenants’ needs of security, evolving technology, flexibility, and seamless operation. The onset of the pandemic during the design phase provided unique opportunities to incorporate solutions that promote occupants’ health, safety, and welfare in the context of a post-pandemic workplace, making it a truly adaptable and future-proof building. This reiterated the importance of air quality, access to outdoor spaces, and occupant comfort – which became foundational elements of the design.

The design team utilized energy modeling to optimize long-term building performance while ensuring thermal comfort and access to natural light and views. Native plants, site materials with longer lifespans and that require minimal maintenance, and locally sourced materials were specified and selected to support the local economy, workforce, and ecology. In addition, the visual impact of the ground-level parking garage was specifically addressed to integrate the building into the existing aesthetic of the local neighborhood by incorporating a decorative screen, wrapping the North and West facades with rich color and a custom perforation pattern for practical ventilation of the garage space.

Upon entering the building, the lobby boasts a biophilia-inspired accent wall with sustainably sourced materials and natural elements and a feature stair to encourage tenants to “get their steps in.” The design offers outdoor space at each building level – two balconies and a courtyard with monument stairs to welcome visitors.

The Ferdinand is not just a building in the neighborhood but a part of the neighborhood. It actively encourages alternative transit and engagement with the community through its new bike path, on-site bike lockers, seamless bicycle entry sequence, and showers and seamlessly blends into the local environment by prioritizing sustainability, health, and wellness, offering an elevated sense of place to occupants and the greater community.

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