Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and US Courthouse_Kevin Reeves_WestElevation_HERO

Locations: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas (headquarters), Denver, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Tampa, Mexico City
Principals: Fred Perpall, AIA, CEO; Henry C. (Peter) Beck, III, chairman of the board; Rick del Monte, AIA, chief design officer; Paul Higgins, chief operating officer; Mark Collins, chief financial officer; Brad Phillips, chief marketing officer; Joe Flores, chief human resources officer; Kip E. Daniel, FAIA, managing director; Matt Williamson, managing director; Mark House, managing director; Mike Webster, managing director; James Gettman, managing director; Michael Murray, AIA, principal
Founded: 1912
Size: 570 employees
Little-known fact: To weather the Great Depression, Beck founder Henry C. Beck, Sr. opened a chain of retail grocery outlets called Helpy-Selfy Store, as well as the Adkins-Beck Packing Company. His ingenuity and business acumen helped provide jobs for his valued construction employees during the darkest days of the Depression.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your COTE Top Ten winner, the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse?

Michael Murray, AIA: Our one comment would be that both the LEED Platinum and net zero programs utilized on the renovation of the 95-year old Wayne Aspinall Federal Courthouse building demonstrates what can be done with clear vision and leadership.

First Baptist Church, Dallas.

First Baptist Church, Dallas.

Credit: The Beck Group

What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?

We would note that a critical factor in the reuse and restoration of available existing materials historic doors, wood floors, plaster moldings, walls and ceilings), a standard sustainability strategy, is identifying the correct subcontracting partners. For example, the historic preservation aspect to the stair modifications required the stone mason subcontractor to tag and inventory the stone as it was dismantled to ensure the correct stone placement would be achieved in the reconstruction of the stair. The skill and craftsmanship was made evident to the team in the mason’s ability to cut and finish the back side of the granite slabs due to the need to adjust the riser height to comply with the current code requirements, and the experience and ability needed to source additional granite slabs, fabricate, and install the stairs and ramp.

Hipolito F. Garcia Federal Building and US Courthouse Renovation.

Hipolito F. Garcia Federal Building and US Courthouse Renovation.

Credit: Mark Menjivar

What is your firm’s philosophy on sustainable design?

As a company, The Beck Group is deeply committed to sustainable best practices. At Beck, responsible design is a creative and collaborative process that involves all of our disciplines. Using the LEED rating system guidelines as a metric, we're focused on reducing energy and water consumption and other environmental impacts through sustainable best practices.

Hipolito Garcia Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Project.

Hipolito Garcia Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Project.

Credit: Mark Menjivar

What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?

Starting at schematic design and continuing through design development, all projects will target energy and water use reduction and health impact issues. Wherever circumstances permit, projects are designed to LEED Silver standards.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas W.H. and Elaine McCarty South Tower.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas W.H. and Elaine McCarty South Tower.

Credit: Thomas McConnell

What are the top energy-saving features you put into your projects?

Top energy savings features start with fundamental architecture, siting, and orientation. The most sustainable energy is the energy you don’t use. Once we have reduced the need for energy as much as possible, we find that high performance glazing and efficient lighting and lighting controls makes the most impact.

Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

Credit: Kevin G Reeves ©

How do you think these types of solutions and products might become standard?

As codes continue to ramp up and energy prices climb, it will become a necessity for design teams to make these early passive strategies best practice, and as the cost of technological solutions comes down, first costs won’t impact decision making as much as it does today.