Applied Physics Building
Southwest Research Institute

Southwest Research Institute is an internationally renowned research campus with more than 100 major laboratories and test facilities. The impetus for this project was the consolidation of related but physically dispersed research programs into a more efficient facility, and to elevate the architectural character of the largely utilitarian campus buildings. Muñoz and Company provided complete design and construction administration services as PRIME A/E as well as laboratory design.

The building’s organization and massing expresses its four major zones; public, office, conventional research labs, and specialized high bay labs; each with a specific level of physical security and environmental containment. Adaptability was critical for these largely project-driven labs, which was achieved by accommodating building systems above non-lab spaces and corridors. Approximately two-thirds of the building program area consists labs that include:

  • Scanning Electron Microscope Lab
  • Focused Ion Beam Lab
  • Micro Electro Mechanical Systems Lab
  • Clean Rooms
  • X-Ray Lab Anechoic Chamber and RF Chamber
  • multiple Electronics Labs

The use of limestone and CMU relates to the surrounding buff colored stucco and brick buildings and forms a base supporting the metal clad massing above. By employing these materials common in Texas vernacular architecture the architects created a design that the users now refer to as ‘hill country high tech’.

San Antonio, Texas

Length of Relationship with Client:
Since 2003

Preliminary Construction Cost:
$21.9 Million

Final Construction Cost:
$22.7 Million 

Initial Project Size:
125,000 GSF

Final Project Size: 165,879 GSF

Construction Type: New

Design Start – Finish:
July 2003 – October 2004

Notice to Proceed:
December 2004

Substantial Completion:
September 2006

Contract Delivery Method:
Hard Bid

Description of Services:
Full service architectural and interior design services

Project Manager/Architect/Designer
James G. Sterner, AIA 


MEP: Silber & Associates
Structural: R-S-C-R
Civil: Overby Descamps
Landscape: Laffoon Associates
Cost: Busby & Associates

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