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Master Planning

Our Approach to Better Master Plans.

A master plan is a vision for a better future. A good master plan establishes a framework that guides future investments and serves as an action plan for change. We begin our planning process by engaging a diverse group of stakeholders. We listen to ideas, goals, and issues; research, plan context, analyze, and then synthesize the information into a cohesive set of possible goals or intentions. Working with stakeholders, we then test these goals, adjust, synthesize, until we have consensus on both the ideas and physical plan. What sets us apart at this stage is our combined expertise in urban design, planning, architecture, and placemaking leverages a richer, more informed set of possibilities and outcomes. In observing the success of many planning projects as they have matured, our core belief in the community good that can be achieved through sound planning grows each year.

Decades of Experience, Broad Perspective.

Our multidisciplinary team has supported clients in a wide range of endeavors. Civic, academic, commercial, and institutional clients have partnered with Alamo to develop park spaces, transportation strategy, economic development, and long-range campus growth planning. We have led master planning teams and provided urban design or architectural services as key members of significant economic and landscape architectural teams, gaining a wealth of experience. We have also been the client, leading community efforts at planning and policy making. Our well-earned planning credentials give our clients confidence in the shared outcomes of our collaborative process: a reliable development roadmap.

From Bold Visions to Reality.

The best master plans are aspirational, but also implementable. What do we mean by this? A sound master plan is compelling enough to inspire people to continue building toward their ultimate goals, even when setbacks occur. Put simply, if a master plan cannot survive the likelihood of economic change and shifting priorities, it wastes client and community resources. To build a better roadmap for our clients, we engage architects, engineers, and landscape architects in a multifaceted approach.

Alazan Courts Master Plan

Alazan Courts is San Antonio’s oldest and most culturally significant public housing development. Prior to the start of the planning process, the conditions of its historic buildings along with the dissolution of community trust in its rehabilitation and redevelopment presented numerous and complex challenges. Working with local firm Able City, our team developed a new master plan for Alazan Courts that focuses on making better and more-accessible housing for residents, respecting its historical significance of the site, and preserving the character of the neighborhood. The Alazan Courts Master plan is result of an extensive community engagement process that placed an importance on genuinely listening to people, building trust, and letting the final design creatively evolve out of the conversations held between the design team and the community.

Community Bible Church (CBC) Master Plan

The Master Plan for San Antonio’s Community Bible Church is a framework to help guide future development on the church’s property. Drawing inspiration from hip hop culture – a challenge posed to the design team by the client – the team explored articulating a concept that would represent the church’s desire to create a space that would serve as an open invitation to the community. The pattern of development for the expansion of CBC is designed to celebrate the unique qualities of the site’s natural features and work with existing built elements to provide a variety of experiences within the public realm. Through iterations exploring how to integrate landscape and surrounding developments, two themes emerged; “Common Ground” and “The Rough and Refined.” This notion of a physical common ground resonates with the vision of the church to develop a gathering place for all and offer opportunities or services to people in need.

Texas A&M University – San Antonio Master Plan

While only a few years old, Texas A&M University at San Antonio decided to do a new master plan to better address issues they were already seeing in their original “Town and Gown” plan. We proposed a bold new suggestion: rotate the plan ninety degrees, create a campus mall that aligned with the town boulevard, and site the administration building at the end of the new campus mall. We also proposed a transit center at the center of the site and a strategy of building temporary parking lots for the near term which will be replaced with lots and garages at the edge of the campus as it becomes denser. The development plan included both new and proposed land use and open space plans, and special attention was paid to future sports fields’ development. The plan also included architectural and site design guidelines that refined campus design elements and architectural character.

NW Vista College Master Plan

Northwest Vista College, originally built in 1997 for 3,300 students, has today grown to support an enrollment of more than 16,000. In implementing the Master Plan for this rapidly-growing campus, Alamo Architects brought design experience with community colleges, a historical perspective of this particular campus, and continuity of the planning process required to bring the new Campus Master Plan to life.

Alamo Architects’ Master Plan demonstrates creativity and practical solutions. The primary goal was to make the campus a place of learning, as well as a distinctive community landmark. The new campus design establishes clear concepts for circulation and parking at the Northwest Vista College Campus. The plan prioritized: Preservation and celebration of the native landscape; Natural connection between the buildings and the landscape; Characteristics of a university and the convenience of a community college.

Humane Society Master Plan

In 2008, the San Antonio Humane Society realized that the success of the new campus that opened in 2005 meant that expansion possibilities were likely, and planning for those sooner rather than later made sense. They convened with us to sketch out uses for the remaining two-thirds of open property extending back from Fredericksburg Road. What resulted from those conversations was a campus organized around a linear axis with new uses branching off as funding became available. With the 2023 completion of the new Naylor Building Medical Facility, we are now two-thirds complete and the final phase may soon be on the horizon.

Urban Districts Team

Irby Hightower, FAIA

Senior Principal

Jim Bailey, AIA

Senior Principal

Trent Tunks

Billy Lawrence, AIA

Senior Principal