Mueller Austin

Architecture Spotlight: H-E-B at Mueller

May 31, 2016

On any given day, you will see customers lining the packed isles of H-E-B and enjoying lunch on the patio at Café Mueller. While H-E-B at Mueller provides a unique shopping concept, what shoppers may not know is the store’s architectural features were carefully crafted by Lake|Flato Architects to provide the ultimate shopping experience.

The store was even recently recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and reported by Huffington Post as one of the top 10 most sustainable architecture projects of 2016. Here’s a look at the architectural features that make H-E-B at Mueller one-of-a-kind:

  • The sweeping canopy over the store’s welcoming entry pays homage to the wing of an airplane, a nod to Mueller having once been site of Austin’s municipal airport. The canopy has the same ceramic coating that is used on space shuttles to reflect the Texas heat.
  • The store’s true north/south orientation was designed to capture as much natural light as possible and produce a stress-reducing effect—a skylight optimization study was even done to identify the best window placement.
  • The wood roof and wood decking provides a natural, warmer appearance for customers along with calming acoustics.
  • Recognizing the importance of community, H-E-B designed enough open public space throughout the store to promote social interaction during the shopping experience.
  • The eye-catching and “Texas-sized” vestibule at the front of the store traps outside air before it enters the store, allowing the cooling and heating systems to work less.
  • 600 rooftop solar panels produce 200,000 kWh/year, providing enough power to light the entire store and chill all the glass cases.
  • The exposed kitchen and seating area at Café Mueller was purposely built to activate an open gathering place for customers and the shaded outdoor area was designed to mix Austin’s warm climate and the city’s love for live music all in one space. A shaded, grassy play area will open later this month to promote a family-friendly atmosphere.
  • The metal and glass moving sculpture located near Café Mueller’s patio has a sister sculpture at the Thinkery.
  • Rain gardens act as a natural filtration system capturing runoff from the parking lot.

See the AIA award details here:

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