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Let’s start with a fun one. What is your favorite building in Texas? What makes this building notable or unique for you?

The Rothko Chapel in Houston. From the exterior, there’s a sense of mystery and intrigue, then the interior is quiet, soothing and otherworldly. It feels both universal and personal. For me it was a perfect space in which to experience Rothko’s art; it forces visitors to sit with the work, the moment, and their own thoughts, and take a deep breath.

The Rothko Chapel, Houston.

As someone who has spent a significant period of time in the state, how have you seen Texas real estate, development, and architecture transform throughout the years?

Oh, it’s been wild! Growing up my grandparents and uncles all lived in Texas, and now my sisters and best friend live there too. Texans are pioneers by nature, and new buildings, neighborhoods, and even cities pop up every time I visit.

While Texas development has been known primarily for its embrace of expansion, I look forward to the next phase, which I see as being increasingly design-led and bringing a new standard of excellence to the market.

While Texas development has been known primarily for its embrace of expansion, I look forward to the next phase, which I see as being increasingly design-led and bringing a new standard of excellence to the market.”
Dallas, Texas skyline.

What makes Texas a prime location for multi-residential living and investment? What can Texas uniquely offer compared to other regions across the US?

It starts with the audience. Multifamily residences have typically attracted young professionals on one end of the spectrum and retirees and empty nesters on the other. With an influx of both into Austin, Dallas and Houston, there’s naturally an opportunity there. The trick for new developments that want to differentiate themselves will be to elevate the standard of product to match the expectations of audiences moving to the area from cities where the multifamily product is traditionally more advanced.

Then, as the quality of the residential experience improves, multifamily begins to broaden its appeal across generations – the benefits of convenience, lifestyle and amenities start to make a lot of sense. Particularly as most multifamily projects have a great pool, which is a must have in Texas!

While Texas has continued to serve as a magnet for leading corporations and tech start-ups, how has the unique position of Texas real estate been able to support the development of corporate offices and HQs?

Texas has always been supportive of business and industry, and if you add features like sunshine, affordability and livability (not to mention amazing food), it’s no surprise that companies have chosen to locate there. It’s the opposite of the famous line from “Field of Dreams” – not, “If you build it, they will come,” but instead for Texas it’s, “You’d better build it, because they’re coming!”

Texas has historically held onto a distinct aesthetic in the American imagination, often influenced by television and Hollywood—but also, by its rich architectural and design heritage. How have new developments been supporting the state’s design heritage?

Texans really embrace their state and its heritage, and you can see that in the architecture and interiors. That uniqueness extends to its individual cities as well – Houston feels different from Austin, which feels different from Dallas, which feels different from San Antonio, and so on. Less successful developments may miss that distinction – they’ll aim for “Texan” and deliver a product that feels boring and reductive. Same-old, same-old.

That’s why the research for our experience-centric design approach looks not only at demographics but also personas. It’s not just the simple facts about the audience that matter, but knowing who they are – why do they want to live, work or stay here? What’s in it for them? That approach is what keeps our firm’s work fresh and interesting – not only for the audience, but for us as well.

That’s why the research for our experience-centric design approach looks not only at demographics but also personas. It’s not just the simple facts about the audience that matter, but knowing who they are.”

During her almost 20-year career, Katherine has told the stories of the places where we live, work and play for entities ranging from town councils to some of the world’s largest property companies. At MAWD, she heads up marketing and new business outreach, utilizing her skills in connection and communication to forge new partnerships and initiatives.

"Prada Marfa," Elmgreen and Dragset (2005).

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