Recent years have seen a significant investment in revitalizing downtown San Antonio, Texas, proving that there is much more to the city than the Alamo and the Riverwalk. One of the more recent examples of this reinvestment is the Full Goods Warehouse, a 1974 brewery storehouse that has been sustainably reused as a mixed-use development with residential, commercial, and retail establishments. Lake|Flato Architects transformed the nearly 64,000-square-foot building through a series of large breezeways that passively ventilate the structure and create lively, interactive spaces. The project has earned LEED-Gold certification.

The site is part of the Pearl Brewery redevelopment project, a 26-acre industrial brownfield, also master-planned by Lake|Flato, which serves as the anchor for the city’s River North plan, a mixed-use revitalization effort north of downtown. The Full Goods building footprint was twice as large as it needed to be and extremely tall for a single-story building. The firm’s solution was to reduce the existing footprint by half and to add a second story. Driving natural light to the center of the building was another challenge, which led to the development of the large pedestrian breezeways and light monitors.

Full Goods relies on a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array that provides nearly 27 percent of the building’s power. The array was funded through a public–private joint venture with CPS Energy, the city’s utility provider. Third-party commissioning engineers reviewed the plans, tested the systems, and rechecked them 10 months later. They then developed a manual for operating staff to keep systems performing optimally. The project has a net energy use intensity (EUI) of 42 kBtus per square foot per year. Local residents and the general public are invited to learn about the solar array and see how it’s performing at an on-site dashboard kiosk or online at The site converts the technical information into easy-to-understand terms, such as comparing the amount of CO2 emissions avoided to the number of miles driven by one truck.

Dealing with stormwater was a major challenge for the site. The existing site was 99 percent impervious, so the design team converted it to mainly pervious cover. Now 100 percent of stormwater is managed on site, with all of the rainwater captured from the roofs being used for landscape irrigation. This resulted in a 74-percent reduction in potable water usage.

Materials and IAQ
Since conserving existing resources was of primary importance, the design team preserved nearly 65 percent of the original warehouse’s shell and structure. The team chose galvanized corrugated metal panels for the interior breezeways, which are unscrewable and replaceable for future tenants if desired. The existing concrete floor was retained because of its durability and replicated on the second floor, eliminating dependence on extraneous finishes. High-efficiency ductless mini-split systems were also installed, allowing for individual control over the conditioning of interior spaces. Twelve percent of the building can be ventilated through operable windows.

"We are passionate about adaptive reuse projects—it is the spirit of our firm. We feel breathing new life into existing structures and repurposing old buildings is the most sustainable thing you can do. In many ways, adaptive reuse frees you of the constraints of new construction and allows you to be more imaginative. The Full Goods Warehouse was a perfect example of how we were able to creatively solve a challenging design problem—how to repurpose an unused warehouse into the central building of this new mixed-use development.” —David Lake, FAIA, principal and Full Goods project designer, Lake|Flato Architects

“It made a derelict part of town into a space that attracts people and socializing, all of which is part of sustainability. … The architecture has interesting moments and it works in a really harsh climate. It’s a clever example of adaptive reuse. It also seems like it does a lot with a few small moves. It seems like a lovely insertion into the neighborhood.”

For an extended view into Lake|Flato's philsophies on sustainable design as well as a showcase of the firm's other green projects, click here.

Architect: Lake|Flato Architects,
Project architect: DHR Architects,
Commissioning agent: DBR Engineering Consultants,
Client, owner: Rio Perla,
Mechanical engineer: Beyer Mechanical,
Structural engineer: Danysh and Associates
Electrical engineer: MEP Engineering; Triple R-Electric Co.
Civil engineer: Pape-Dawson Engineers,
General contractor: Artistic Builders,
Landscape architect: Rialto Studio,
Lighting designer: Lang Lighting,; Brown Design Consultants,
LEED consultant: Contects Consultants & Architects,

Appliances: Big Ass Fans,
Curtainwalls: OldCastle Building Envelope,; Kawneer,
Exterior wall systems: MBCI,
Flooring: Interceramic,; Mapei,; H&C,
Glass: Main Glass & Mirror Co.
HVAC: Daikin,
Insulation: Icynene,
Lighting: Lang Lighting,; Brown Design Consultants,
Masonry, concrete, and stone: Curtis Hunt Masonry Co.
Metal: MBCI; Epic Metals,
Architectural metal work: Capco Steel,
Paints and finishes: Kwal Paint,; Teifs Wall System Products,
Pavers: Alamo Concrete Products; Pine Hall Brick,
Photovoltaics: Schott,; Sanyo,
Plumbing and water systems: Beyer Mechanical,
Roofing: Carlisle,
Signage: Flux Metal Studio; Giles Design,
Site, street and mall furnishings: Landscape Forms,
Windows and doors: Jeld Wen,; OldCastle BuildingEnvelope; Kawneer; Dean Steel,; Capco Steel Co.