United for a CauseThanksgiving is officially over, yet the action of giving thanks is still present for all of us at PRISM. We have been blessed again this year with engaging clients, fulfilling projects, and an enriching work environment. One project that is the culmination of the Thanksgiving spirit is the new campus for The Good Shepherd Residential Treatment Center. PRISM was invited to participate alongside major Houston firms in providing pro-bono services to bring the project to fruition. The all-volunteer team worked in the areas of fundraising, designing and ultimately, building the 19,000 s.f. facility to serve the specialized needs of at-risk boys between 7-17 years old. The team includes:
- Abel Design Group
- Kirksey Architecture
- D.E. Harvey
- E.E. Reed Construction
Attitude of GratitudeIn our non-stop, connected world, it can be hard to pause and recognize the everyday blessings. Like sunshine, music, and good coffee – YOU are a blessing to all of us at PRISM. We could not exist without our clients, and we thank you for your trust and the opportunity to work with each of you. Our team members share these other expressions of gratitude: Sarah Amos, VP of Client Relations - I'm thankful for the relationships with the people in my life--both personally and professionally. Each person plays a part in shaping who I was yesterday, who I am today and will be tomorrow. Valerie Delafosse, VP of Business Development - I am thankful for the relationships with family and industry friends, as well as the personal and professional growth I have received this year. Jing Johnson, President - I'm very grateful for so many wonderful people in my life: our team, clients, consultants, friends and my family. It's a privilege to serve and build relationship with each one of you! Vivian Peng, VP of Project Management - I am thankful for the opportunity to work with an amazing team, and also our clients, who put their trust in us to work alongside them toward their success. Tracy Wang, Process Manager - I’m grateful for our clients, for all the support, understanding and guidance they give us throughout their projects. Especially when they express their satisfaction and appreciation, that positive feedback makes my day. Linda Yang, Project Manager - Linda became a mom to daughter Meredith on November 7th. That is certainly a blessing worthy of the utmost thanks! Congratulations to Linda! Jun Zou, Senior Project Manager - I am thankful for this new opportunity to work with great clients, an unconventional team, and dear friends. I am especially thankful for being exposed to so many well-designed projects, and being part of the effort to bring them to the built world.
Client KudosLast month at the Houston Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Design Awards Gala, several PRISM clients were recognized for their marketing excellence. FKP won awards in three categories, plus the all-around Best in Show award. Kirksey also took home three awards. And Houston First was awarded Client of the Year honors, for their commitment to quality within the built environment. The full list of winners and event photos are available via SMPS Houston. In the architecture world, Architectural Record recently released their list of 2016 Top 300 Architecture Firms. Congratulations to our clients who made the list - Gensler, HKS, SmithGroupJJR, PBK, Kirksey, and Kendall/Heaton.
Project Proceeds for Pediatric Cancer PatientsAs some of our early clients know, PRISM not only supports our clients in their fundraising efforts, we also directly support the MD Anderson Children’s Art Project. Every year, we donate 10% of our fees earned on all new rendering and animation projects commissioned in December to this local charity. The MD Anderson Children’s Art Project has funded more than $30 million in programs for pediatric patients and their families, giving hope and normalcy to the young lives interrupted by cancer. Please contact me at 281-799-4800 or email
Texas Society of Architects ExpoThanks to the many friends old and new who visited the PRISM booth at the recent TxA Expo in San Antonio. We enjoy showcasing our work in this setting, because it opens the door to great conversations about what is possible in the rendering process. Just as the conference theme “Convergence” inferred, our process merges input from many sources to create a rendered reality. We would like to congratulate Miguel Saldana with B&A Architects in San Antonio, who won a free rendering in our drawing!
Retail detail at ICSCIt may not even be the end of October, but a National Retail Federation survey found that 40% of consumers say they start their holiday shopping before Halloween. Tracking retail patterns and trends is a constant focus for our friends at ICSC and Bisnow, two groups where PRISM maintains involvement. We attended ICSC RECon in June, and earlier this month Jing and Sarah Amos, our VP of Client Relations, attended ICSC's Texas Conference & Deal Making event in Dallas. We debuted the complete new PRISM interactive display, where we had multi-media capability to showcase our recent renderings, animations and virtual reality portfolio. As always, we love seeing our clients and friends at industry events like this. In Dallas, clients Transwestern, NewQuest Properties, Weingarten Realty, The Signorelli Company, American Realty, J. Beard Real Estate Company, and Levinson Alcoser Associates were all in attendance. We also worked under tight deadlines to complete renderings in time for ICSC. One client shared their appreciation and importance of having these high quality visuals at the show. They were pleased with the turnout they received. Thanks to all who entered our drawing for a free rendering. The winner was Ryan Gathmann, AIA, an architectural technology specialist at O’Brien Architects in Dallas.
Bisnow Houston retail recapHere at home, PRISM was a sponsor for the recent Bisnow Houston – Retail Wave event. According to the excellent panel, the good news is that retail continues to have sustained demand. The less good news is that newly developed retail requires more detail in planning, and demand for space and construction labor is driving up costs. Valerie Delafosse, PRISM VP of Business Development, shares these speaker highlights:
- Lilly Golden, Evergreen Commercial Realty founder, said tenants, especially entertainment concepts like Top Golf and iFly, are more concerned about the structural bones and resulting impact on the interior space – high ceilings and wide column spacing, for example. She is also monitoring the transition of e-commerce retailers into bricks-and-mortar, in both permanent spaces and pop-up shops.
- Transwestern SVP Crystal Allen said a “cookie cutter” approach in retail doesn’t work anymore. This is causing planning and design of the retail component of mixed-use developments to happen earlier and in more depth.
- With perspective from the construction side, Marc MacConnell, SVP of retail for Arch-Con, echoed Golden’s comments about having retail spaces for a variety of needs. He shared that developers are incorporating more “sexy” elements into new centers. The challenge then comes from the low availability of skilled labor, which has been driving construction costs higher.
- David Luther, First VP at Marcus & Millichap, said that investment sales are up; markets outside of Houston are impressed with how retail is maintaining here. Investors are now looking for stabilized rents. But developers are growing frustrated with the competition, and want a call for an offers process.
- According to Lance Gilliam, a partner at Waterman Steele, Houston is still an oil town in investors’ eyes. A concerted educational effort about Houston’s diversity would be beneficial across the board.
Texas Society of Architects expo time is nearArchitects and designers from across Texas will converge in San Antonio November 3-5 for the TxA Annual Convention and Design Expo. For the seventh consecutive year, PRISM will be exhibiting at the Design Expo; look for us in Booth 453. We will be giving away a free rendering to the winner of our drawing, so make sure to drop in your business card! This conference is a great opportunity to hear about emerging design trends and see new product innovations. For our project managers, all former practicing architects, this helps us know how our renderings must evolve to effectively communicate both design intent and development goals. As we learned from our retail friends, there are more “sexy” elements in design now, and strong renderings must clearly show such details!
SMPS Houston honors best in A/E/C marketingAs all our clients know, the business development cycle for new project development, design and delivery can take years or even longer for major projects. The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) is dedicated to helping all those involved in cultivating clients and generating new project revenue. The annual SMPS Houston Design Awards Gala recognizes marketing excellence across several categories, the focused efforts of BD, marketing and communications teams at Houston A/E/C firms and related service partners. For the first time ever, PRISM entered several pieces, in recognition of all the work that went into our rebranding. We are so excited to report that jurors awarded us second place in the Corporate Identity category and third place for Special Event marketing. Going through the rebranding process reminded us of why PRISM exists, and the service and value we must deliver to clients. We are extremely proud of the recognition from industry marketing experts; we are more proud of how we play a small part in helping our clients make a positive impact on our community.
SMPS Houston voting starting now for favorite award entries!As we always say, PRISM's growth in the past 10 years is all thanks to our clients and friends. And with your input, we made the transition from PCG to PRISM Renderings, and introduced a bright new brand, developed by the experts at Marketing Refresh. We are so excited about our new name and look that we entered the annual SMPS Houston Design Awards, and are honored to share that our entries placed in the top three in the Corporate Identity and Special Event Materials/Holiday Pieces categories. SMPS Houston is having a Facebook contest to showcase all the amazing entries. Please visit Facebook to 'LIKE' your favorite entries; the entry with the most likes will receive a special award during the Gala. You can check out all the PRISM entries on Facebook at the links below. October 14th. SMPS is the only marketing organization dedicated to the A/E/C industry. SMPS Houston is one of the largest chapters in the U.S., representing a diverse array of firms. The PRISM team will be attending the SMPS Houston Design Awards Gala on October 21st, where the winners will be announced. We will have a full report in our October newsletter.
Not your average sandcastleForget the plastic buckets and shovels. Houston’s A/E/C industry is known for amazing design, engineering and craftsmanship. Teams in the annual AIA Houston Sandcastle Competition unleash their creativity, producing sand sculptures ranging from the fanciful to the frightful. PRISM sponsored two clients who brought home awards this year. Kirksey, along with Metzger Construction, won the coveted first place Golden Bucket award for their re-interpretation of a Disney film, Finding Gory. Ziegler Cooper Architects won the Best Costume award and a fourth place Honorable Mention design award for Game of Bones. Congratulations to all!!! The Sandcastle Competition is a major fundraiser for AIA Houston and Architecture Center Houston Foundation. Their shared mission is to promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the ways architecture and urban design influence and enhance the quality of life in our community. PRISM was proud to be a part of this event and support this work.
Experience now, live laterHow is it possible to sell what can’t be seen? The scale and location of Market Square Tower in downtown Houston make it hard to miss. But developers are promoting something more, what they call “the gold standard for extraordinary living.” The PRISM team worked closely with developer Greystar and interior designer M. Ford & Associates to develop more than 35 interior and exterior renderings. The details in the renderings evoke the opulence and luxury in every facet of the facility, from the 40th floor glass-bottom infinity pool, to the virtual golf range and the poker suite. We recently visited the Market Square Tower leasing office to learn about the effectiveness of the renderings. Not only are the renderings a critical component for pre-leasing on the project website, they are also used as physical displays in the leasing office. Oversized door clings and posters hint at the grand scale of the tower. A touch screen monitor features thumbnails of building amenities that prospective residents can quickly scan and click for larger images and more details. Leasing agents told us they are on target for pre-leasing goals! Construction is ahead of schedule, with some units available as soon as November 1.
New Generation for HoustonYou know the story – new development in Houston has slowed to a crawl since the oil pricing free fall. There are some bright spots however, as we found out when we were a sponsor at the Bisnow New Construction and Development Summit earlier this month. Considerable focus was on McCord Development’s massive new masterplanned community, Generation Park. With no substantial supply of any particular building type, McCord commissioned a utilization study and now has plans for the 2+ million square-foot mixed used Redemption Square project. Other panelists offered this advice:
- Archcon’s Michael Scheurich said this is the largest retail boom he’s ever seen, with more big box developments that are not grocery anchored.
- Jim Carmen of Howard Hughes warned that developers should be careful in thinking that every project is unique and different, and instead, take a hard look at the numbers.
- DC Partners’ Acho Azuike continues to court foreign inventors and is leveraging EB-5 capital to develop a new hotel in San Antonio.
- Bruce Thompson of Thompson Knight shared that he’s seeing many developers holding on to their land. He speculates 2020 will be the right time to develop some areas.
ICSC deal-makers uniteCalling all our retail industry friends! For everyone planning to attend the ICSC Texas Conference & Deal Making event in Dallas next month, please stop by our booth and say hello. PRISM will be unveiling our complete new, interactive display in booth #1330. We will also have a drawing for a free rendering, so be sure to drop off your business card!
LENDING - Houston's multifamily saviorSo what is the outlook for this sector? PRISM was a sponsor at Bisnow’s recent Houston Multifamily event. Valerie Delafosse, PRISM VP of Business Development, shares these highlights:
- Despite the high supply, lenders aren’t expecting to take back any properties. The market needs this time to catch up, and it will.
- Lenders are more willing now to provide for gap financing and refinancing. Market equilibrium is expected to return in about 18 months.
- Brokers are seeing large institutional players scouting Houston because they see an upside on the exit. Equity is easier to get right now than debt.
- Class B and C properties are holding steady, resulting in more bulk transactions right now.
- Developers are holding their land, waiting for possible opportunities to refinance. Their bigger challenge is keeping current tenants full.
- Despite opportunities in the Texas Medical Center and Pearland, the Energy Corridor and Woodlands remain soft. Now is not a value-add market for developers.
Developers share insight with SMPS HoustonSociety for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Houston recently hosted some of Houston’s largest developers, to discuss their current and upcoming projects. Our own Valerie (shown here with fellow committee member Marlene Hay of Terracon) was part of the SMPS Houston programming committee responsible for organizing the Developers Night event. The event took place in Knoll’s sleek new Houston showroom, a working example of the latest in workplace design and finishes. More than 130 marketing and business development pros from local A/E/C firms attended. Some of the highlights:
- Sean Murphy of Skanska discussed their new Capitol Tower, West Memorial Place and Spring Crossing office developments
- Midway’s Eric Mayfield shared details about the new Kirby Grove ‘urban activity center, and their redevelopment of GreenStreet, anchored by Hotel Alessandra
- Devon Tiner of HAS discussed their renovations to all three area airports - IAH’s smart facility design/build project and terminal D renovation, Hobby’s anchor development and Houston’s Spaceport at Ellington Field
The Briar Club New Reality Matches Rendered VisionWhen management from the prestigious Briar Club, a private Houston social and recreational club, requested approval for a $30 million renovation, they made sure to give their members plenty of incentive. The Briar Club engaged PRISM to showcase the extensive design enhancements provided by Jackson Ryan Architects. PRISM completed several renderings to clearly depict the improved amenities throughout the club and luxury detailing. After two years of design and construction, members celebrated substantial completion of the project over the 4th of July weekend. Before construction started, I went to the site several times to meet with The Briar Club’s general manager. Hearing his vision for the finished project and how it would enhance the member experience allowed me to vividly convey the rendering needs to our team. Such involvement with our clients is incredibly rewarding.
Sign of the Possible TimesErnest Hemingway said, “Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.” He spoke to the power of using rich details to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. PRISM works with a client that produces stunning graphics to illustrate their clients’ stories in this very way. Foxmark Corporation is a Houston signage company that enhances corporate branding through unique visuals. PRISM and Foxmark have worked together on multiple occasions to develop renderings that would show the impact of large-scale imagery in a variety of built settings. Foxmark bought and converted a 45,000 s.f. warehouse in west Houston to be a showroom of their full capabilities. Both Sarah and I had the pleasure of attending their recent open house. The space was absolutely spectacular, a must-see! Congratulations to Foxmark Corporation on your new location!
Mobility Igniting Development Throughout the MetroWhile rock-bottom crude prices have curtailed commercial development, completion of the US-290 corridor and the Dallas/Houston bullet train are expected to bring another wave of major new projects. PRISM VP of Business Development Valerie Delafosse regularly attends industry events to keep a pulse on issues impacting our clients. “290 already has a great template for change following current and future construction. As historical trends have shown, it’s only a matter of time before office and retail renovations to the many existing buildings follow, further shifting Houston’s desired areas.” Here are her takeaways from the recent Bisnow event:
- TxDOT’s 38-mile completion of US-290 will add overpasses and connector ramps that will help unravel some of the worst snarls on the highway.
- Fidelis Realty Partners, in partnership with Williamsburg Enterprises, recently purchased the Exxon Mobil Brookhollow Campus at 290/Dacoma St. The transformation to a shopping center will be the first of many changes as 290 construction concludes.
- The proposed Houston/Dallas bullet train is projected to create 10,000 jobs during each year of construction and another 1,000 permanent jobs once the train is operational.
- Of the three stations to be built for the train, a station near 610 between 290 and I-10 will be key to driving updates on the surrounding aging facilities.
- Proximity and affordability are attracting millennials and tenants to the 610/290 area as a best bang for their buck. Due to this, many developers are recognizing opportunities in the area.
Riding for a reasonMost people know of the MS150, the 2-day cycling event from Houston to Austin that raises funds for multiple sclerosis research. But did you know the route is actually between 160-180 miles? Even more reason to congratulate these riders, whom PRISM has supported for several years. Many riders share their passion with a family member – what a great way to spend quality time together! Architecture duo and husband/wife team Elkin Aguilar, of Johnston LLC, and Whitney Fuessel, of Gensler, enjoy riding together. PRISM was delighted to help Whitney in her fundraising efforts. “Thank you so much for supporting me again this year raising funds to help those with MS and supporting my ride in the BP MS150. It was amazing fun, especially with the tail wind that had us at 17 miles per hour at our slowest; you can just imagine how fast we were taking the down hills! Our second day was canceled due to the weather, but that allowed us not only a great ride, but enough time to get home and sleep in our own bed! Again I greatly appreciate your support!” Another pair of married architects - Janis Brackett and Scott Cutlip, both of Kirksey - rode together then joined family for the post-ride celebration. "Stormy forecasts caused organizers to cancel day two, so we had a one-day ride again this year. Family met us in Fayetteville along the route to La Grange. Riding for those who cannot is a privilege. Your support means a lot, so thank you. Your donation helps the national MS Society fund research, helping people with MS lead powerful lives and advocate for change." Ziegler Cooper Principal Steve Lucchesi accompanied his daughter this year for her first MS150. Steve met his fundraising goal and asked us to help his daughter meet hers. It was our honor! “We had a fabulous ride and I loved seeing my 15 year old daughter Emily complete a 100-mile ride in one day! She’s definitely hooked and can’t wait to ride again next year. Thanks for your support this year.”
Can do for Team CanCarePRISM again supported one of our partners in the Houston Marathon Run for A Reason program. Carrie Stallwitz of Witz!PR is our copywriter and a fundraiser for Team CanCare. CanCare provides emotional support for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. “This is my fifth year running for CanCare. A friend of mine started the running team 20 years ago after her battle with lung cancer. She is a great inspiration and at almost 80 years old, she has more energy than most people I know! This year was extra special. It was my first ½ marathon with my husband. We stuck together for about a mile before I couldn’t keep up with him anymore. But chasing him led to my second best time ever! Thanks so much for your support!” Congratulations to all on your achievements - you inspire us!
PRISM receives BBB Houston awardThe Better Business Bureau of Houston recently recognized PRISM with a 2016 Winner of Distinction Award; the award is based on overall company excellence and quality in the workplace. The judges for this award reviewed company business practices, client relationships, and reputation in the community, among other criteria. This award highlights our commitment to customer service. As we often say, understanding our clients' business is part of the value we provide. I hope this gives our clients greater confidence in choosing PRISM for their 3D rendering and animation projects. An award like this from such a respected organization is icing on the cake.
PRISM is here.Six months ago we started a journey. Today, we are delighted to share with each of you the culmination of what has transpired through tireless brainstorming, creativity and inspiration. PRISM has officially launched and it’s all thanks to YOU. The name PRISM parallels the work we do for our clients. Just as a prism disperses light, we take our client's vision and translate it into a medium that communicates the project’s depth and vibrancy that otherwise would not be achieved using traditional architectural and CAD documents. Over the last 10 years, we have had the opportunity to serve numerous clients on projects across the United States. We’ve grown because of our clients’ success. We invite you to visit our new website, www.PRISMRenderings.com, to see examples of our clients’ amazing work. Please feel free to share your feedback with us about our new name and branding, by emailing me directly at
Another new faceWith an increasing client base and project needs, we are happy to welcome senior project manager Jun Zou, AIA, LEED AP to the PRISM team. Jun is an architect and designer who has been a long-time friend; she was working for PAGE in Houston then relocated back to China and worked for major firms like Callison. Family brought Jun back to Houston and now we will benefit from her skills. She brings strong design capabilities to the project management process and will provide additional quality assurance for artistic excellence. Jun received her Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tsinghua University and earned a second Master of Architecture from the University of Texas – Austin. Ask her sometime and she may cook one of her favorite Sichuan hometown recipes for you.
Houston healthcare sector remains healthyFor those who missed the recent Bisnow Healthcare Real Estate event, be sure to read the recap for reporting on the trends keeping healthcare construction strong in Houston. PRISM was an event sponsor and enjoyed seeing many current clients and former colleagues. Here are our take-aways:
- Renderings and multimedia clips are important for hospitals expanding into the suburbs. PRISM worked with PhiloWilke Partnership to produce an animation for the new Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital MOB. The hospital wanted to evaluate the new building height within the existing campus context. Hospital administrators ultimately opted to build a six-story office rather than the planned five stories. The animation generated considerable interest among owners and developers alike at the event. Watch the videohere.
- As the TMC3 life science campus develops cluster research centers it will bring great opportunities for entrepreneurs to partner with their initiatives further strengthening and developing the Texas Medical Center. TMC SVP speaker Shawn Cloonan shared a desire to partner with CRE firms for developments to attract companies like AT&T and Apple, with whom they have already begun discussions.
Though we’re already in the second quarter of 2016, we feel like it’s a brand new start – to a new year and another decade of working with some of the best firms across the United States. Thank you. Your calls and emails are always appreciated. Please reach me at 281-799-4800 or