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The Cotton Gin at the CO-OP District

Antenora Architects

Project Name

The Cotton Gin at the CO-OP District

Project Status



7,800 sq. feet

Construction Cost


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2017 AIA Institute Honor Award Winner in Architecture

The Cotton Gin at the Co-Op District is a new event venue in Hutto, Texas, about 20 minutes north of Austin. Located on a former agricultural site of 16 grassy acres, the project by Antenora Architects is an exercise in adaptive reuse from an area firm that’s no stranger to bringing life back to historic buildings: Antenora transformed a storied Art Deco movie theater at the University of Texas at Austin into a complex of contemporary shops and cafés and turned an old masonry structure downtown into a mixed-use hub, splicing contemporary materials into the aging façade.

The Hutto project, however, seems like a new step for the office, and its remarkably surgical and subdued approach has earned well-deserved accolades from a host of professional organizations, including AIA Austin and the Texas Society of Architects. Leaving intact most of the original shed-like industrial structure, including the airy and sparsely columned steel interior, the architects have refaced it in a perforated stainless steel that is superficially similar to its former all-metal cladding. The minute, patterned apertures in the skin give the building a ghostly translucency that elevates it above its hardscrabble surroundings, making it a glowing light box by night while acting as a screen against the harsh Texas sun by day. Already a much-loved fixture of the area, the Cotton Gin deftly combines old Texas and new, and its beauty is just off-beat enough for Austin’s famously weird brand of cool.

Project Credits
Project: Cotton Gin at the Co-Op District, Hutto, Texas
Client: City of Hutto, Texas
Architect/Interior Designer: Antenora Architects, Austin, Texas . Michael S. Antenora, AIA (principal-in-charge, lead designer); Gordon B. Bingaman, AIA (project manager); Justin Gesch (project architect)
M/E Engineer: TTG
Structural Engineer: Architectural Engineers Collaborative
Civil Engineer: Stantec
Geotechnical Engineer: Terracon
General Contractor: American Constructors
Landscape Architect: TBG Partners
Lighting Designer: ERT Lighting Size: 6,500 square feet
Cost: $1 million

To see the rest of ARCHITECT's coverage of the 2017 AIA Institute Honor Awards, click here.

Project Description


The Cotton Gin at the CO-OP is the first structure completed from the 2012 master plan for the 16-acre former agricultural co-op site. The (2) original cotton gin buildings were selectively deconstructed and adaptively re-used to make a single open-air public events space that will complement the future Hutto City Hall and Park. The design intent was to accentuate the iconic appearance of the remaining South gin building and further reinforce its place as a focal landmark at the Farley Street Terminus.

Perforated stainless steel was chosen as the exterior siding material for the south façade for it’s ability to reflect the southern sun during the day, and for it’s transparency at night. The perforated steel and broad overhangs serve to fill the space with diffused natural daylight. The challenge was to reinforce the existing riveted steel structure to current codes without losing the delicacy and elegance of the original.

The project has received multiple design and construction awards from AIA Austin, The Texas Society of Architects, Engineering News Record and Association of Builders and Contractors, among others.
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