Heights Mercantile

This week, Ben Koush shared his thoughts on Heights Mercantile, the eclectic retail development in Houston's Heights that works to rewrite Houston's prescription for a strip center. The creative and progressive approach was led by Radom Capital. Ben notes that Houston is eager for this kind of change:

In this milieu, Radom’s commercial retail projects are noteworthy. Radom and his team commission talented architects on the basis of their design excellence. They insist on rigor and quality in concept and execution. Rather than follow an established set of safe but boring development rules, their projects cleverly reimagine the most banal of building types: the strip mall. The results are exciting. The fact that they have leased immediately in Houston’s unsteady economic climate demonstrates again that good design is a good business practice.

Award-winning Texas firms contributed to the development: Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed the shell-and-core build-out and some of the interiors. Content Architecture and Schaum/Shieh worked on interiors. The Houston branch of the international SWA Group was the landscape architect, while Houston-based graphic design firm Spindletop devised the graphic identity. 

Read the full Architect's Newspaper article here.


The Best Restaurant Architects in Houston

CONTENT was included in Houston Architects' list of the Best Restaurant Architects in Houston. We're honored to be included with such good company! The write-up featured Honeymoon and Goodnight Charlie's: 

The Houston Press hailed The Honeymoon Cafe and Bar, a coffee and snack-breakfast-brunch shop, as “just what downtown needs.” Cofounder Charlotte Mitchell of Boomtown Coffee drew inspiration from sidewalk cafes in Europe and New Orleans. CONTENT was tapped to see the vision through and took full advantage of its location by Congress and Main, near the rail line. Wicker seats and natural light let the Honeymoon Cafe remain flexible enough for a coffee shop vibe during the day and a bar feel at night. CONTENT’s next project is in progress smack in the middle of “the heart of Houston” — that’s Montrose — and looks to be a real character. The bar and night spot Goodnight Charlie’s is billed by CONTENT as a “honky tonk,” with a bar, dance area, and decorative fences that reference rural Texas. CONTENT is partnering with the award-winning Gin Design Group — also on this list — on the interiors. 


RDA Spring Charrette: Nexus – Activate Commerce

CONTENT's Marcel Merwin recently participated in the RDA Spring Charrette: Nexus – Activate Commerce. Marcel joined Kelsey Walker, Grant Paterson, Claire Elestwani to present their vision for the Meat Packing Building site along downtown Houston's Commerce street and Buffalo Bayou: 

Big Steps proposes a new Downtown center that foregrounds Houston's future multi-modal transportation needs. Located at the epicenter of Houston's metro systems, economic corridors, and burgeoning downtown neighborhood, the site has the opportunity to produce the needs of each of these crucial elements. Big Steps is designed around a tripartite system. A winding pathway provides ADA and bike connections from downtown to the Buffalo Bayou Trail, a grand staircase connects and provides 24/7 public space for gathering and connection, and a stacked building produces the commercial and transportation needs for the site. Flood-sympathetic programming fills the below-street level floors while office and transitory commercial infill is located above the floodplain. A bike parking garage is located at bayou level, while showers and lockers are located above next to a bike repair shop providing infrastructure for the continuing growth of multi-modal transport in Houston. Big Steps continues the necessary motion towards a competitive future that provides alternatives to the existing status quo.

 Big Steps took home honorable mention! 


Happy Holidays from all of us at CONTENT! Our office will be closed December 25-January 1st. 


Molly Glentzer, Arts & Culture Writer and Critic for the Houston Chronicle, recently caught up with artist Karin Broker on her curated home - the CONTENT designed Delz Residence.

Read the full article here.


AIA Annual Meeting Awards + Honors

Last week, AIA Houston held it's annual meeting and Affiliate Appreciation Party. AIA Houston President, Catherine Callaway, presented four Presential Citations. CONTENT's Heather Rowell recieved a citation for her "leadership and dedication as 2017 chair of AIA Houston's Women in Architecture." 

Below is a list of all the evening's awards and honors: 

Civic Vision Award
Hon. David W. Robinson, AIA, Houston City Council

Citation of Honor
Emancipation Park Conservancy

Educator of the Year
Sonia Greiner, Guthrie Center, Spring Branch ISD

Associate Member of the Year
Anthony Furino, Assoc. AIA, Kendall Heaton Associates

Presidential Citations: 

Whitney Fuessel - Committee on Architecture for Health

Dan Hassebroek - Interior Architecture Committee

Kristin Schuster - Small Firm Roundtable

Heather Rowell - Women in Architecture




THIS: The Houston Innovation Summit

CONTENT is joining Houston's tech and innovation community on October 27th at 11:30a for "How to Design Disaster-Resilient Communities." The panel discussion, curated by AIA Houston and ArCH, will examine case studies of environmentally sustainable and resilient solutions, and discuss best practices and ideas for flood mitigation and prevention in residential design. Eric Hughes will present one of CONTENT's exciting new projects that addresses housing in Houston's flood plain. 

Throughout the week, Station Houston is hosting THIS, The Houston Innovation Summit, launched as an annual event for Houstonians to connect, ideate, create and celebrate together. #THIS17 will address local challenges that were magnified by Hurricane Harvey, and identify how to turn them into opportunities for insight, innovation, and impact.

The Houston Innovation Summit (THIS) takes place October 23-27. Find the daily themes and programs at and click on the sessions you're interested in to RSVP.

To make THIS accessible to all, attendance is FREE!




AIA Fort Worth Design Awards

The AIA Fort Worth Design Awards will be announced October 24th at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

This year's jurors include Sheila Kennedy, David Richter and C O N T E N T Architecture's Jesse Hager!

For more information visit 


2017 AIA Houston Home Tour


It's October! That means the AIA Houston Home Tour is just around the corner. This year, ten architect designed homes were selected including CONTENT's Waverly Residence!

Open to the public, the AIA Houston Home Tour showcases the finest residential architecture in the Houston area. Houses are chosen to showcase a variety of design styles demonstrating that excellence in design is not limited by size or dollars.

October 21-22, 2017, Sat/Sun, 12-6 p.m. each day.

Advance tickets can be purchased here. The Full-Tour and Single House Tickets can also be purchased at any of the participating houses during tour hours and are good both days of the tour.



Paloma wins 2017 AIA Houston Design Award 


We're excited to announce that Paloma Nail Salon was awarded a 2017 AIA Houston Design Award for Interior Architecture. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston Design Awards recognize works that exemplify excellence in Architectural Design. This year's jury included Betsy Williamson (Williamson Williamson) and Catherine Bird (Deborah Berke Partners)

Paloma was completed in 2016. The inspiration for the non-toxic nail salon was a response to the client's slogan "Escape to Beautiful". We were given the exciting opportunity to engage in developing a brand identity for this flagship store. Natural, non-toxic materials and textures combine with refined accents to create an atmosphere that prioritizes both a healthy escape and a luxurious experience. The details of the project are choreographed to render the hygienic components invisible and re-envision the salon as a retreat. This begins at the storefront, where signage is engineered to conceal the robust venting requirements imposed on nail salons. Instead, focus is directed to a floating bench that pulls from interior to exterior and inlaid entry tile with text clearly staging the intention of the brand.

Once inside, the reception and waiting area is designed to capture light and maintain connection to the vibrant shopping center.  Custom steel shelves with polishes minimally displayed for customer selection are the only indication of activities occurring beyond. A delicate, brass and wood dowel veil stages the physical transition for the retreat, separating the entry and reception from the manicure and pedicure stations. Passing under the veil, the light dims and the colors warm to stage a new scene, revealing only glimpses of the outside world. The traditional salon booths and floor sinks are replaced by beautiful and comfortable chairs on raised wood platforms. The platform provides the ergonomic offset between technician and customer while celebrating the individual. 

Paloma is organized around a central circulatory lane that draws customers in from the front of house back towards the workstations and separates one long communal platform from individually paired stations. Varying platform configurations provides unique orientations to focal points within the room while also offering conversational opportunities at facing chairs. Hidden platform storage, a minimal material palette, and custom, non-toxic furniture enforce escape from the busy urban life beyond.


Thanks to Paloma Founder Maryam Naderi for trusting us to create an architectural solution for her amazing brand, the great team at Dunhill Development and Construction, Gandy² Lighting Design - G2LD, and Pete Molick and Benjamin Hill Photography for making us look good.


CONTENT closed August 28th - September 4th

Due to the historic and catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston, CONTENT will be closed for the remainder of the week. We plan to reopen next Tuesday, September 5th. 

The citizens of Houston and nearby towns have shown amazing resilience in the face of catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey. In the coming days, the floods will end and waters will recede, but Houston faces a long road to recovery. Here are a few ways you can support our great city:  

Mayor Sylvester Turner established this fund through the Greater Houston Community Foundation to provide tax-deductible flood relief donations for those affected by the historic flooding. 
America’s largest food bank is prepared to mobilize resources across Houston, asking for volunteers, donations, and monetary contributions. Their donation page reminds that every $1 donated provides 3 meals.
If you need a place to stay or have extra space or property that you could make available for a temporary housing solution - AirBnB has created a great, simple platform for this. Houston properties are needed as we try to pull folks out of shelters and into better living conditions. 
The Red Cross is managing many of our shelters for immediate relief and support of victims. You can donate online or text REDCROSS to 90999 to contribute $10 to disaster relief.
Our blood banks are in critical need. If you're in Texas, check for local blood drives in your area. 



Jesse Hager Receives Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA

CONTENT is pleased to announce that our own Jesse Hager has been named the 2017 recipient of the Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA. The award is given annually, recognizing a member for professional achievement in leadership development during the early years of practice. It is a great honor and recognition for our team as well as his parallel efforts with the University of Houston and the AIA. Jesse is pleased to be awarded alongside many mentors and friends.

See the full roster of 2017 Texas Society of Architects Honor Award winners here.


CONTENT Hires Seasoned Veteran

Marcel Merwin has joined the CONTENT team! 

Marcel has worked in architecture both in the office and on the job site. He began working in construction when he was 18 months old, then continued on to receive his Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University, where he was nominated for the Margaret Everson-Fossi Travel Fellowship. He has always been surrounded by architects, and is the fifth from his family in the field. He is interested in connecting communities to the development of their neighborhoods through contextually relevant and publicly driven design. Bridging the disconnect between individuals and their greater community development can create public advocacy for good design.

Previously, Marcel worked for Ennead Architects and Gensler. His design experience includes hospital master planning, flood mitigation planning, scientific laboratories, and high-rises. He also works as an archivist and preparator for artists including Sol LeWitt, Ben Butler, Bow Wow Atelier, and Elinor Evans.



2017 Houston PaperCity Design Awards

The annual Houston PaperCity Design Awards were announced last night. There were 291 entries, judged for design 18 categories. Judges included designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard from New York, architect Peter Pennoyer from New York, designer Katie Ridder from New York, and designer Mark D. Sikes from Los Angeles.

CONTENT's design for Paloma Nails, led by Eric Hughes and Gail Chen, was recognized as runner-up in the Retail Interior Design or Architectural Design Category! 

Look for the October 2017 issue of PaperCity magazine for more on the winning projects.


Jesse Hager recieves 2017 AIA Ben Brewer Award for Young Architects

This weekend, at AIA Houston's annual gala, Jesse Hager of CONTENT Architecture was awarded the Ben Brewer Award for Young Architects. Named in honor of Ben Brewer, FAIA, for distinguished service to the profession and his significant influence on young professionals - this award recognizes excellence in ability, exceptional work, and significant contributions in the practice of architecture by architects who are in their first 10 years of practice. 

Since founding the firm in 2009, Jesse and the CONTENT team have completed over 50 architectural projects in three states. He currently serves on the AIA Houston Board of Directors and is Chair of the Small Firm Roundtable. With a passion for critical architectural exploration and thought, Jesse is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston and has taught design studios at UT-Austin and Prairie View A&M. He is a contributor to Texas Architects Magazine and serves on the TxA Publications Committee. All that, while being a fantastic father to two cute munchkins, we couldn't be more proud here at CONTENT. 

The AIA Houston Young Architect's forum will hold a mixer in honor of Jesse's achievements Tuesday, August 22 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at The Honeymoon. The event is open to all young architects and interns. Appetizers and 2 drink tickets will be provided to each RSVP. RSVP to