Repairing Decades of Sprawling Development

As cities like Houston continue to attract enormous growth in population, city developers and designers have begun to rethink the old sprawling growth model. Dense and thoughtfully organized urban infill that includes a diverse mix of building types and lively, shared public spaces makes greater economic sense and is more resilient and sustainable.


Today, this paradigm shift is resulting in the emergence of new urban neighborhoods that are more human in scale and relevance. Mixed-use urban infill development that knits together places where we live with places where we work, and where we can thrive, is the necessary trend for the future as we seek to create beautiful, enduring and walkable urban districts were people want to be.

Enduring Design in the Public Realm

When architects design a building or a group of buildings the most important spaces are often those we leave untouched; or, the public realm. Sadly, cities are full of examples where these spaces seemingly received no design consideration at all. The long-term cost of poor placemaking design is not borne by developers or the architects that designed them, but rather, by society who has to live with the depressing effect of poor design. Good placemaking design does add to initial development costs; but good design also adds long-term value to the public realm by creating a dynamic interplay of space with the built environment.

The Quincy | Austin, TX

Authenticity in Design

When designing buildings, there are considerations beyond initial cost-benefit analysis and even taste in design or style. Attention should be given, rather, to whole-life cost and human benefit. In this way, what remains after a developer has completed a well-designed project is the added element of lasting value derived within the public realm. Done well, public places become a part of us and endure for generations. They inspire and connect people.

Aris Market Square

Designs for the Human Scale

We are currently engaged in designing urban village projects across the country to fulfill our mission of creating a better world through architectural design. With over 42 million square feet of high-rise apartments, condominiums, hotels, lofts, corporate, commercial, and mixed-use projects already constructed, we have the experience and expertise to match any challenge.


As we work with our clients, they find that we design buildings that are not only beautiful, but also buildings that perform well. Our collaborative studio structure allows us to bring together our expertise with multiple building types as a single team for the master planning of mixed-use urban development. We would enjoy bringing our experience to your team.

About the Author

Scott Ziegler, AIA

As Founding Principal of the firm and leader of the Urban Architecture Studio, Scott’s design experience reflects his belief that inspirational architecture enriches people’s lives, uplifts the human spirit, and provides a constant vision of excellence. As Residential Senior Practice Area Leader, Scott plays an active role in shaping the urban landscape through the firm’s built works and his published writing in professional journals on the subjects of sustainable urban growth strategies and high-density mixed-use developments.

Scott Ziegler, AIA

Senior Principal

Senior Principal

Scott Ziegler