Michael Hsu - Building Spaces Austinites Want to be a Part of

"We all love the city. We’re committed to it." - Hsu

Michael Hsu is somewhat of a superstar when it comes to Texas architecture. What’s special about his work isn’t just the aesthetic appeal —it’s how people interact with his spaces. From one of the first gourmet restaurants in Austin (Uchi), to modern housing, and repurposed makerspaces (Canopy), Hsu breathes an air of vitality and excitement into the communities he works with. Since Springdale General aims to be an affordable home for Austin’s creative class, it’s no surprise that Hsu’s office was a logical partnership. The Center for Social Innovation, located at Springdale General, will be a place where Austin’s social impact community concentrates its creative energy, so we care about the impact the environment will have on the people who spend their days here. Details matter—from lights to materials and the way that people move from room to room —and Hsu understands this on an intuitive level in addition to his years of learning as a practitioner.

Hsu’s career began with a project with the then highly risky chef Tyson Cole currently known for his five wildly popular sushi restaurants under the name Uchi. All five have been designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Repeat clients are not in low supply for Hsu. He builds and maintains relationships by really tapping into the goals of each project. hile he has done work all over the country, it’s Austin that Hsu keeps coming back to. Hsu says his vision for the firm is to, keep focusing on projects that continue to push the boundaries of what Austin is becoming – diverse, creative and urban. Making spaces that people want to be part of and gather in has always been what we’re about.” This has lead to the success of another project of Hsu’s, Canopy. An anchor of creative innovation in Austin’s East side, Canopy is a repurposed warehouse that really brings people together. Also managed by Central Austin Management Group, the space is home to Sa-Ten, Big Medium, and East Austin Studio Tour.

Hsu thinks about a building as a whole — interior and exterior elements working together in harmony. This eye for holistic design makes his spaces truly usable and immediately welcoming. Hsu says that Austin values this kind of design: “We’re seeing so many innovative and fresh project ideas which have been embraced and understood by the development community as a need to make their projects a part of a larger community.” As a new fixture in East Austin, the Center for Social Innovation is conscious of the community it is surrounded by and is thrilled to be working with an architect who shares this passion.

Lamar Union

In order to make the Center a more productive and attractive space for collaboration, it will be home to a wide range of amenities.  Walkways, covered entries, and a large courtyard connect the buildings on the campus. Tenants will have access to shared conference rooms, deeply discounted event space and monthly on-campus programming. Cafe Medici will open its first roasting location in Austin on the site in addition to a cafe, and there will be several other restaurants, a bar, bike racks, Car 2 Go parking, and ample outdoor gathering space at the property. Other nearby amenities include restaurants, Friends and Allies Brewery, Austin Bouldering Project and quick access to E 6th and Town Lake. For more information about the space or to schedule a hard hat tour email hello@socialinnovationaustin.org.