Rendering vs. RealityAs our tagline says, our work is Your Vision, Realized. Our clients’ work is conceptual, lines on paper that become a built structure. Renderings play an important role to bridge concept to reality. Indeed, renderings facilitate many vital functions for our clients, like communicating design intent, obtaining authority approval, securing funding, and helping with marketing. This may be why our Rendering vs. Reality posts are the most popular on our PRISM social media channels. These posts are also a great way for us to promote our clients’ work. And for our team, many of whom are architects, visiting completed projects and comparing what was built to our renderings is an exciting and fulfilling culmination of their participation in the project. If you aren’t already a subscriber to our channels, we invite you to follow us! https://www.facebook.com/
Opening in 2018The following projects are scheduled to open later this year. We look forward to seeing them completed and will be sure to highlight each. Lone Star College – University Park’s new Center for Science & Innovation, the featured image above, was slated to open in Fall 2017 but had water damage from Hurricane Harvey. The building will open in Spring 2018, providing more space for the rapidly growing student population. Kirksey designed the 50,000 s.f. facility to be a “STEM billboard” and entice more students into a STEM career. The center features a 3-story atrium and includes labs, outdoor learning environments, and a botany garden. There is an observation deck for astronomy courses, and an “innovation space” with classroom and computer areas, plus an interior wall made of rock where geology students can learn about formations. St. Agnes Academy plans to open Meyer Hall later this year, just in time to host the 30th-anniversary performance of Handel’s Messiah. Studio REDdesigned the multi-functional center. It includes a 9,000 s.f. performance venue with 1,300 seats and a large balcony that doubles as a lecture hall. An integrated student life center has a large commons plus a 120-seat black box theater. There is also a dance studio and a speech/debate space dedicated to the communications curriculum, and additional classrooms. Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe, TX plans to open Phase II of their large expansion this summer. The project is a new 1,500 seat sanctuary, designed by Ziegler Cooper. It also includes a new retreat and evangelization center within the existing music building, relocation of the parish office, and a new youth center housed within the former Lone Star Clinic building. The growing congregation now serves about 20,000 members.
2018 forecast - mostly sunnyRegional economists agree that Houston’s economy is looking bright for 2018. Projections are largely dependent on crude prices and production in Texas oil fields. Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston is expecting 70,000 new jobs. GHP’s senior VP Patrick Jankowski, research and regional economist, is more cautious, predicting 45,500 jobs. In the national AEC sector, the numbers are also positive, though subdued according to ConstructConnect. 2018 commercial construction is forecast to see a 12.4% increase in starts. The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel predicts commercial construction spending to increase 4.0%. The panel separates institutional spending, and expects a 5.8% increase. The 2018 national development outlook isn’t quite as bright. Colliers International Chief Economist Andrew Nelson, as reported by Bisnow, predicts slowing deal volume and declining commercial property prices. Despite robust job gains, the office sector will see slow growth. As a corollary, wage growth has been comparatively slow, with a negative impact on the multifamily sector. One caveat is the new tax law, which may spur multifamily demand due to reduced tax benefits of homeownership. Industrial real estate is expected to be the top performer. The retail sector has a soft 2018 outlook, as major retailers announce further site closures.
Alive through artThanks to our generous clients, PRISM donated $1500 to the MD Anderson Children’s Art Project. These clients commissioned new projects in December 2017:
- Powers Brown Architecture
- STG Design
- The Hanover Company
Judge Jing on the case againFor the third year in a row, ENR Texas & Louisiana magazine invited Jing to participate on the judging panel for their 2018 Top Young Professionals program. The program recognizes up and comers in the regional AEC industry. Congratulations to this year's group of amazingly accomplished professionals.
Klein UMC ExpandingKlein United Methodist Church has been serving the Spring, TX community for 40 years. As the community has grown, so has the church. Construction is underway on a new classroom building situated between the existing sanctuary and Christian Life Center. The two-story building will provide interior connection and circulation with the adjacent buildings. Studio RED designed the building, expected to open in Fall 2018.
'Tis the SeasonThe Second Baptist Church (SBC) Cypress Campus has even more to celebrate this Christmas. The new worship building, open just over a year, won two 2017 Solomon Awards for Church Building Design and Youth and Children’s Spaces. The Worship Facilities Solomon Awards recognize churches and their partners for excellence in facilities design, building expansion, operations excellence, innovative use, and technical production. Kirksey designed the 168,000 s.f. Cypress building and a similar one for the SBC Cinco Ranch campus. Jing and PRISM VP of Client Relations, Sarah Amos, are longtime SBC members, making this project extra special.
2017 in ReviewThanks to our current clients and many generous referrals, PRISM had another strong year. Our team stayed busy working on local, national and international projects. We completed 245 total projects, served 81 clients, and worked with 30 new clients. Our work spanned the U.S., with projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. We are also working on a project in China; more info in an upcoming newsletter! PRISM wrapped up the year with two enjoyable celebrations. Our Process Manager, Tracy Wang, and her family traveled from Boston to join us. Our team and spouses enjoyed a lovely dinner, and we gathered our full families for a festive lunch. The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing, and for our amazing families, we say Amen!
Help us Help MD AndersonThere’s still time! Every December, PRISM donates 10% of our profits earned on all new rendering and animation projects commissioned during the month to the MD Anderson Children’s Art Project. Please give me a call to talk about your project today!
Anchors away for Florida redevelopmentThe Town of Lake Park, Florida, was the first zoned municipality in the state. It was planned by Frederick Law Olmstead’s sons in the 1920s. And now it’s time for some updates. Under the direction of consulting firm Redevelopment Management Associates, PRISM developed the rendering that would communicate the vision for the Town of Lake Park’s future. The redevelopment is concentrated around newly reestablished mixed-use sub-districts and anchored by an expanded and updated marina. The Town of Lake Park will use the rendering to actively market the area to local and national developers. “The rendering was used to paint the picture for the residents and it really shows the heaviest concentration of intensity within the district," says Max Wemyss, Planner with RMA. “The Town of Lake Park expects to get full adoption of the ordinance that would allow that scale of development in that district by the end of March or early April 2018.”
Kirksey ranked a top 10 firmCongratulations to our friends and longtime client Kirksey Architecture! The firm earned a #10 overall ranking from ARCHITECT magazine in their annual Architect 50 list. The ranking is based on weighted scores in the categories of Business, Sustainability and Design, which are then added together. Kirksey ranked #8 in the business category and #13 in sustainability. 149 firms from across the United States submitted data for consideration; the top 50 firms are ranked on the list. Congratulations are also in order for Gensler, ranked #19 overall, and HKS, ranked #27.
Jing Johnson roars onto UH listThe University of Houston annually recognizes the 100 fastest growing companies owned or led by a UH graduate. A special luncheon ceremony, the Cougar 100, is the public announcement of the rankings for the year. Over 4,000 companies across the globe have a UH Cougar at the helm, representing some of the world's finest commercial and industry leaders. PRISM founder and CEO Jing Johnson made her debut at #18 on the 2017 Cougar 100 list! She received the award in front of a packed ballroom and surrounded by the PRISM team. HBJ has the full 2017 Cougar 100 list plus a video of the powerful keynote speech by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.
One can can make a differenceLast year, the Houston Food Bank distributed 83 million meals. Their 2018 goal is 100 million meals served. The design community supports this effort through the annual Canstruction design-build competition. PRISM sponsored the team of MCS Architects and Arch-Con in this major public event. The team’s whimsical structure BMO, a representation of the animated game console of the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, was captioned “B-MO and End Hunger… Hunger Ain’t No Game Boy.” Congratulations to the team for their creative entry, and for contributing 3,448 cans of food (of 78,000 cans raised for the entire event) to the Houston Food Bank. The photo gallery of Canstruction structures proves that every can counts!
Help us help MD AndersonFor the fourth year in a row, PRISM will be donating 10% of our profits on all new rendering and animation projects commissioned in December to the MD Anderson Children’s Art Project. This local charity serves pediatric cancer patients and their families, giving hope and normalcy to the young lives touched by cancer. Please contact me at 281-799-4800 or email jing.johnson@
Religion follows rooftopsMost know the development mantra that retail follows rooftops, but one growing Houston congregation isn’t waiting around for the retailers. Houston’s First Baptist Church opened a 100,000 s.f. church in the Bridgeland master-planned development in June. The campus sits on 32 acres off the Grand Parkway. It features a 1,300-seat worship center, 28 preschool and children’s classrooms, large meeting rooms, a teen hangout area, two playground areas, and several private counseling rooms. Kirksey Architecture designed the new Cypress campus, and recently presented the project as a case study at WFX, the largest church conference and expo in the country. Kirksey Community Team Leader, Janis Brackett, AIA, joined Jason Swiggart, the Cypress Campus Pastor for Houston's First Baptist Church, to educate conference attendees on the design and construction process. “We showed how much fun the process can be when you have a collaborative team,” Brackett said. “PRISM’s renderings helped us demonstrate how we progress from visioning sessions, to sketches, to BIM outlines, to renderings, to the first worship service. PRISM’s renderings were integral to the success of communicating Kirksey’s design to the congregation.” PRISM worked separately with Howard Hughes last year to develop updated aerial renderings of the Bridgeland mixed-use corridor. At a recent event, Howard Hughes Executive Vice-President for Masterplanned Communities Paul Layne reported that Bridgeland currently has 9,000 residents. The developer expects upwards of 65,000 residents in the coming years. This Houston Business Journal article features a great bird’s eye view of the entire 11,400-acre community.
Luxury coming to Lake Conroe boatersMHW Commercial Real Estate acquired Pier 105 Marina earlier this year and is well on the way to a completely revamped facility. MHW came to PRISM with only a survey of the existing property, and a clear vision for a new, boater-centric marina. The site was showing its 40+-year age. MHW relied on PRISM to develop renderings that could be used to court a new restaurant operator and tenants. Planned renovations include the removal of Captain Jacks Restaurant, a reinvigorated showroom for the existing boat dealership, upgrades to boat slips and dry storage, addition of a new Harbor House, and space for additional restaurants. PRISM helped MHW capture their ideas with an aerial view of the 8-acre site at full build-out, including the planned architectural style of the development. Look for the new marina in summer 2018.
PRISM celebrates 12 years of client serviceIn 2005, PRISM (then known as Pacific Consulting Group) was a one-woman show, courting architects to demonstrate quality visualization services. Twelve years later, PRISM is now a core team of six professionals and four production teams, with the support of a group of highly specialized consultants, serving architects, developers and owners around the country as a trusted advisor. Clients have always come to PRISM for our high-quality renderings, animations and exceptional client services. Increasingly, we have been asked to help our clients bridge their vision with life-like images. Some clients come to us with only site plans, hand sketches or reference photos—no architectural drawings. With many on our team having advanced architecture degrees, these project opportunities allow us to not only produce photorealistic renderings, but also employ our right-brain creativity to help shape our client’s vision. It’s the work we truly love to do, and clients tell us often that this service helps their businesses in many ways. What a win-win! To all of our clients, we extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation for your loyalty and support through the years. It’s what allows PRISM to continue to grow and thrive. We invite you to let anyone on the PRISM team know how we can make your job easier. Cheers to the next 12 years!
More luxury leasing in Springwoods VillageCityPlace is the 60-acre mixed-use development bringing upscale retail, Class A office, and luxury multifamily to the larger Springwoods Village master planned development. When complete, Springwoods Village will house as many as 40,000 employees. The Mark at CityPlace is now leasing well-appointed apartments in a building full of high end amenities. Residents will enjoy a gourmet demonstration kitchen; a university-style library with adjoining conference rooms; a club area with billiard tables; a fitness center with separate yoga and spinning studios; a spa with private treatment rooms; and an outdoor sundeck with poolside cabanas and an outdoor kitchen. One unexpected perk? Ground floor retail. Frankel Development Group hired PRISM to showcase the retail locations of The Mark relative to the surrounding commercial development and adjacent CityPlace Park. Developer, Martin Fein Interests, Ltd. is betting big on The Mark, upping the amenities from what is included in its other multifamily project at CityPlace, The Belvedere, where rents are as high as $2,845. The gamble may not be so risky, following the trends in the growing Spring area, “Houston leasing and real estate experts say the stigma of renting apartments and single-family homes has receded as changing demographics and the financial risks of homeownership redefine the market.” The project is also aiming for LEED Silver certification.
Harvey can't keep Houston downOne month after Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi and then unleashed relentless rains on Houston, we are still seeing the aftermath all over our beloved city. It will be a long road to rebuilding for so many. But this is Texas, where everything is bigger, including our hearts. The PRISM team continues to pray for all impacted by the storm. Three from our team joined work crews to clean out flooded homes in the southwest and northwest parts of town. Anyone looking for recovery resources may want to visit the Houston Chronicle’s page of general resources. The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin has this list of resources pertaining to reconstruction.
Commercial project in residential clothesHomes – they’re not just for living anymore! Wile
Architectural Record 2017 top firmsCongratulations to all those firms on the Architectural Record 2017 Top 300 Architecture Firms list. This annual list ranks firms by revenue, and as the Architectural Billings Index has indicated for most of 2017, many firms are seeing the fruits of strengthening monthly billings. PRISMextends a special recognition to the firms we’ve had the honor to serve:
- Gensler (1)
- Jacobs (4)
- HKS (6)
- SmithGroupJJR (21)
- PBK (37)
- Kendall Heaton (53)
- Kirksey (82)
- FKP (132)
- STG (141)
- Fanning/Howey (224)
- PhiloWilke (226)
Signorelli celebrates anniversary, Valley Ranch growthDanny Signorelli, the founder and CEO of The Signorelli Company, began buying land for Valley Ranch in 2000, 11 years before construction started on the ExxonMobil campus. Today, Valley Ranch Town Center is the largest retail project under construction in the greater Houston area. Signorelli just celebrated their 23rd anniversary with over 55 employees; in recognition of this milestone, PRISM is proud to highlight our client and their contributions to Houston’s development.
In the three years since PRISM began working with Signorelli on the Valley Ranch renderings, the 1,400-acre master-planned community has become the epicenter of growth in northeast Houston. Located 16 miles east of ExxonMobil, at I-69 and the Grand Parkway, Valley Ranch is planned to include 2,500 single-family homes, 1,000 multi-family residences, 1.5 million s.f. of office space, a medical district, 135 acres of parkland/greenspace, and the 240-acre Valley Ranch Town Center. The first phase of Valley Ranch Town Center opened in Fall 2016 with major tenants such as Kroger, Academy Sports + Outdoors, and Sam’s Club. Casual dining and fast food options include Chili’s, Urban Bricks Pizza Co., Panda Express, and Schlotzsky's. Congratulations to our friends at Signorelli!
Fort Worth revitalization by the riverAnyone following development news from our neighbors to the north knows Fort Worth is on the cusp of a growth spurt. From major projects like the TEX Rail to zoning changes for urban residential development, Fort Worth’s revitalization is underway. PRISM produced several renderings for Criterion Development Partners on a transformative project that broke ground on July 5th. The River East, designed by Dallas firm Hensley Lamkin Rachel Architects, is a 322,019 s.f. mixed-use development that will include retail, residential and office space. Located in the “trending historic community” of River East, just east of downtown Fort Worth, the multifamily portion will include 181 rental units, a co-working space, a large pool, an outdoor grilling space, a fenced pet park, and a fitness center. Criterion is working in tandem with the city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in an effort to improve the surrounding streetscape to make it more walkable, with plans to widen sidewalks, create reverse-angle parking, and add public art.
Fort Worth District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said the project is a good example of a public-private partnership.
“As a city, we were very forward-thinking having those plans in place to revitalize those corridors. Now that private partners are coming in and partnering with the city ... we are actually seeing some really positive things happening in these communities.”
HBJ's Fast 100 finalists
Half of all businesses don’t last more than five years and only 1/3 make it past their tenth anniversary. HBJ just announced their list of the 2017 Fast 100 Finalists, those local businesses that have not only survived the five-year threshold, but are having serious financial success. Congratulations to these PRISM clients who made the cut. Winners will be announced on September 15.
- Abel Design Group Ltd.
- NewQuest Properties
Taste of TX for Chinese students
Students from Chengdu, the populous capital of Sichuan province (14.4 million people), are in Houston as part of the Chinese American Exposure Program (AEP). Sarah and I have the great privilege to each host two students, ranging in ages from 12-15 years old. The program is sponsored by the Department of Education of Sichuan Province, enabling students to live with U.S. families and learn about the U.S., explore American culture, and enhance their English language skills. And of course, here in Houston they will take in the sites and flavors of our wonderfully diverse city!
My family is hosting students for the fourth time. We've had male students each year, which has been fun for both of my sons. Sarah’s family is hosting for the first time; she has two female students. Her 15-year-old daughter has been enjoying learning more about what it’s like to be a teenage Chinese girl and their culture. Sarah’s 4-year old daughter really likes the girls staying with them, because it’s more girls to play dolls with! Play = Universal language of children!
The students will be with us until July 31st. If you have suggestions of what would be interesting for them to see, please let us know!
The big game's lasting impactEver since the NFL announced in May 2013 that Houston would host Super Bowl LI, the clock began ticking on a long list of capital projects. An estimated $1.5 billion was invested in Houston’s downtown entertainment district alone, plus additional spending around NRG Park and Hobby Airport. Beyond serving as the hub for Super Bowl festivities, the area around the George R. Brown Convention Center is now the new front door to welcome visitors and potential investors to a transformed Space City. Houston First Corporation tasked PRISM with developing detailed renderings to show the vibrant new scene on Avenida Houston, in front of the GRB. We worked with Kirksey to generate multiple views of the new Partnership Tower, home to the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston First Corporation, and the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. CoreNet Houston recently hosted tours of both projects, to showcase their integral role to position Houston as a growing economic and tourism center. Peter McStravick from Houston First Corporation and Lilyanne McClean from GHP discussed each building's role in their respective organizations. The 9th floor outdoor terrace at Partnership Tower provides sweeping views of Discovery Green and the fabulous new dining options at GRB’s “restaurant row.” GHP leaders say this is the best way to present all Houston has to offer when investors visit
What the retail revolution looks likeDespite the recent Forbes headline, retail is not dead. In fact, reports from the ICSC RECon convention last month are generally positive. One common theme? Retail must evolve. “Retail is not struggling. Instead, it is being revolutionized,” is the comment from NAI. “People are spending more money on experiences on all retail fronts,” reports Simon CRE. And “Rather than just shop, malls will soon become a place to eat and be entertained,” according to Cushman & Wakefield. Two Houston developers asked PRISM to showcase their new projects through several renderings to be displayed at ICSC RECon. In Fulshear, TX, the fastest growing city in the U.S. with population less than 100,000, Fulshear Real Estate Partners is developing a new mixed use project that was unveiled at RECon. General partner George Lane said this of the rendering (featured at the top of this newsletter):
“PRISM has a talent beyond compare and unlike any we have ever experienced. Candidly we really don’t know how they do it, but the rendering looks and feels like it’s already been built and it literally takes our breathe away. When presenting PRISM’s work to a prospective tenant, they not only see their building space but are able to experience the entire lifestyle of the overall development. Jing and her team are amazing!”In another growing area, New Caney, Criss Cross Commercial Group is filling the need for a power center with their new Caney Crossing project, also unveiled at RECon.
“Prism’s renderings brought amazing clarity to our development, which finally allowed brokers and tenants to easily understand locations, access and exposure of the properties we are marketing. Of course, Prism’s work is beautiful, and adds a dramatic level of professionalism to our marketing efforts. And Prism was head-spinningly fast in producing the renderings. But most importantly, the business value of their work exceeded our highest expectations. They paid for themselves within days. Our only regret is not hiring PRISM sooner,” according to Executive Director Ryan Dennard.
AIA's supreme sandcastle sculptorsThe weather cleared just in time for the 31st Annual Houston AIA Sandcastle Competition. Smurfs reigned supreme, edging out the Crawfish. Congratulations to our many clients (names italicized below) who took home awards (and bragging rights.) Be sure to check out these amazing sand sculptures!
- Golden Bucket (1st Place): Kirksey + Metzger — Smurf and Turf
- Silver Shovel (2nd Place): Gensler + Harvey — Return of the Crawfish!
- Bronze Shovel (3rd Place): Ziegler Cooper Architects — Quest for the Holy Pail
- Best Team Signage: Browne McGregor Architects — Houston, We Have A Sculpture
- Best Costume: PhiloWilke Partnership — 5th Element
- Tallest Standing Structure: Kirksey + Metzger — Smurf and Turf
- Best Sports: VLK Architects - Pirates of the Super Bowl
- Best Science Fiction: HKS with DPR Construction — Crash Sanding
- Houston-Centric: Gensler + Harvey — Return of the Crawfish!
- Best Traditional Castle: Kirksey + Metzger — Smurf and Turf