New commissions for the firm include a nine-story ambulatory care center (plus basement) and 1,100-car parking garage for Harris County's Ben Taub Hospital; the 400,000 SF Family Life Center, Prayer Institute and new sanctuary for Kingdom Builders; and the third phase of Houston TranStar, one of the nation's first high-tech transportation and emergency management centers.
Ground-breaking is anticipated mid-November for two new hotels designed by Morris Architects: a 270-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 179-room Residence Inn by Marriott, both near the Austin Convention Center.
Work nearing completion includes the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library's 141,000 SF expansion and 120,000 SF renovation into one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the country. Designed in association with Shepley Bullfinch Richardson and Abbott, the project also incorporates 20,000 SF of space devoted to the University of Houston Honors College, one of the largest and most developed honors programs in the U.S.
Other high-profile projects at or nearing completion are the conversion of the Compaq Center to Lakewood Church; Explore HOUSTON at the George R. Brown Convention Center; a series of major assignments for the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System; and the Moody Gardens Convention Center and Hotel expansion and 1,000-space parking garage. Morris Architects has worked extensively with the Moody Foundation, providing master planning and design services for the award-winning, 242-acre Moody Gardens complex for over 15 years.
"For 66 years Morris has delivered exemplary technical and creative architecture and design services to clients all over the United States," said Chris Hudson, president and CEO of Morris Architects. "Our key strength as a seasoned and mature company is adapting to and anticipating evolving client needs. This year is no exception. We consistently maintain the design talent and the management expertise that positions us to serve our clients most effectively."
The company provides services through design-focused studios -- each dedicating design and planning specialists to particular market sectors including corporate, civic, public assembly, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality and education. Two specific areas of growth and emphasis for the firm are the healthcare and church sectors. Morris has recently augmented its healthcare studio with the appointment of a 30-year veteran of healthcare design, John Cooper AIA, ACHA. As principal and director of the firm's healthcare studio, Cooper is fostering new business relationships and leading the firm in healthcare architecture.
Morris Architects is also channeling its depth of experience in performance spaces and church sanctuaries to focus on master planning and design for worship and congregational life. Internal developments include the promotion of Mark V. Martof, director of public assembly, to principal.
"Church design and healthcare are two emerging areas of focus and growth. To complement the firm's strong experience in these areas, we've dedicated high-level industry experts to lead this focus and collaborate with our clients," added Hudson.
In addition, the company has promoted Doug Childers, AIA, and Robine Hendricks, AIA, to associate principal. Recent marketing changes include hiring Christine Braunger as regional marketing director for the firm's marketing and public relations.
The Vein Center Houston, a Morris Architects project, received the American Institute of Architects' prestigious 2004 Merit Award, as well as First Place, Renovation/Restoration, from the ASID/Houston Chronicle Interior Design Awards. Other projects designed by Morris Architects recently received commendations including Best Retail Development, Landmark Award, for Memorial City Mall; Gold Medal 2004 from the Texas Council of Engineering Companies for the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; and the Associated General Contractors APEX Award for the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital Tower. Explore HOUSTON at the George R. Brown Convention Center was cited for honorable mention by both the Texas/Oklahoma chapter of the International Interior Design Association as well as the ASID/Houston Chronicle Interior Design Awards.
"At Morris Architects, we feel strongly that the contributions of the entire firm and dedicated teams are what enable us to help our clients achieve their goals," said Hudson.
In May, Morris Architects released an open Request for Proposals to develop mixed-use office, residential and retail space in Houston's Midtown District on the LRT rail line. The RFP was issued to the local and national development community. Morris Architects has since selected Albuquerque-based Paradigm & Company for preparation of development options for consideration by the firm.
Established in 1938, Morris Architects is a 135-person architectural practice based in Houston, with branch offices in Orlando, Fla., and Los Angeles. There are approximately 90 employees in the Houston headquarters office. The firm provides architecture, design and planning services to a diverse international client base. Morris' project list spans most major building types. The firm is currently headquartered in office lease space in the Greenway Plaza/Upper Kirby area of Houston.