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Texas Capitol Complex

When the Texas Capitol Complex renovation is completed it will be a mixed-use visitor destination in addition to serving as the central workplace for Texas state employees.


Austin, Texas, United States

Designing a grand civic gesture

The State of Texas is creating a model of government efficiency by re-envisioning the 40-block area encompassing the State Capitol Complex in Austin. The 2016 Capitol Complex Master Plan provides for the creation of office spaces, allowing centralization of all state agencies, and establishes the complex as a destination that celebrates the Texas State Capitol with civic spaces, shaded pedestrian-friendly streets and connections to the surrounding community.

The 40-block area encompassing the complex is the most prominent element of the State’s real estate portfolio. It is home to 10,000 state employees as well as several historic buildings and is visited by over a million people each year. Soon, the completion of Phase I will realize the vision of the master plan through modern, resilient buildings that support of the wellness of State employees, overlooking a grand civic six-acre park—the new Capitol Mall and its pedestrian promenade.

As the master planner for the Capitol Complex, master architect and master engineer for Phase I, our designs will completely transform the Capitol Complex, resulting in more than 1,000,000 square feet of new office space. This consolidation brings state agencies together at the heart of the state’s government, enhancing collaboration and leveraging shared amenities. The new state-owned office buildings will eliminate lease expenses, which cost the state on average four times more than non-leased properties. The project will also create a huge public space in downtown Austin intended for tourism, events and festivals.


  • Architecture
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Building Sciences
  • Civic / Government
  • Engineering
  • Planning / Urban Design
  • Strategies / Analytics

Starting with master planning

The Page project team began with a deep analysis of the site’s history as well as thorough assessment of a range of legislative constraints. A strategy was outlined to relocate 1.2 million square feet of state offices from lease spaces around Austin to the Capitol Complex. Six new office structures are proposed in three near-term phases for sites that are currently open parking lots or deteriorated deteriorating parking structures.

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Three guiding design concepts emerged from this analysis: (1) a vision for a new Cultural Gateway and Texas Capitol Mall; (2) proposed well defined urban connectors via east/west streets with both strong pedestrian and vehicular roles for key roads; (3) the establishment of a Historic Precinct around a cluster of notable structures and significant landscape features to create a garden district within an otherwise compact urban environment.

Phase I

Characterized by shaded pedestrian-friendly streets and connections to the surrounding community, the first phase of the master plan includes two new office buildings and five levels of underground parking, which are the base of the new Capitol Mall. The urban space will be activated through pedestrian-oriented activities, including a cultural venue, cafes, food truck area, playground, amphitheater and a plaza.

Rendering of people enjoying a civic greenspace between office buildings.
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These activity spaces will foster community and accommodate special occasions like the popular Texas Book Festival as well as park-like space for visitors of the adjacent Texas State History Museum and Blanton Museum of Art. The Texas Capitol Mall will help connect the Capitol Complex to its neighbors: The University of Texas campus, the Dell Medical School Health District, Waller Creek Park and downtown Austin.


The entire project is supported by sustainability and resiliency strategies that will reduce the demand on natural resources and sustain healthy ecological systems, while promoting occupant health and community. The architects and engineers used digital models and life cycle cost analysis to evaluate energy conservation options and maximize the efficiency of the buildings.

Rendering of children playing on sculpturally inspired playground equipment on a green pedestrian mall in front of an office building
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The environmental impact and operations costs of the existing Capitol Complex structures have been minimized by reducing energy and water consumption. The designs of the two new Phase I buildings employ high-performance, unitized curtain-wall envelopes, which optimize daylighting, control glare, maximize thermal performance and minimize maintenance and fabrication waste.

Resilience and wellness

The many health- and nature-oriented features of the buildings include easy access to outdoor spaces via the Capitol Mall with views of downtown Austin and the State Capitol; daylighting and nature views for the majority of workspaces; fresh outdoor air monitoring to promote occupant comfort and healthy CO2 levels and regionally sourced indoor finishes with low toxicity and recycled content.

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Branding and graphics

The Page Branding and Graphics studio’s role on the planning team was to create an exterior wayfinding and signage system. Using threshold monuments and directional graphics to establish the boundaries and character of the Capitol Complex also serves to give visitors the information they need to move easily through the space and orient them to destinations.

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From wayfinding to websites

In concert with the civic nature of this important location, the materials palette and information structure are designed to settle into the public environment and embody a sense of place and a timeless confidence. Message hierarchy, materials, and utility allow the hard-working signage to assist visitors while allowing the scope and scale of the Capitol mall feel comfortable, familiar, and welcoming.

Looking ahead

Page continues its engagement in planning for the Capitol Complex with the development of a legislatively-mandated update to the master plan, which will supplement the original document through detailed planning studies that investigate issues such as infrastructure capacity, food service, traffic impact analysis, sustainable initiatives and detailed phasing beyond the near-term development.

© Timothy Wells

And the credit goes to...

The 2016 master plan was completed in conjunction with Sasaki. HR&A Advisors Inc. provided economic analysis and Sunland Group prepared cost estimating. Currently, Page is serving as the Master Architect/Engineer. Other project team members include Balfour Beatty Construction as Construction Manager Agent for the Phase I Development. Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc., is Site Services Engineer.

Making a difference to everyone

  • $581M BUDGET


"This master plan is an incredibly admirable effort"

“It will transform state government’s presence in downtown Austin and provide a place where citizens from across the state can experience and appreciate Texas culture and government. It also creates a much more functional and economical home for many state agencies that are currently scattered all over the city.”

Paul A. Bielamowicz AIA, LEED AP

Principal / Senior Project Manager

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