LifeWorks East Austin



The building is important to the community, and it also serves an important community in its city. The architects met the challenge of making it appealing and significant.
— Ann Beha, FAIA


The design of the new LifeWorks branch highlights the role of the non-profit in transforming the lives of youth and families seeking self-sufficiency and generational advancement. Located in East Austin, a socioeconomically-disadvantaged area, the 33,467 sq ft branch will provide a hub for educational and financial literacy in the Central Texas region.

The building establishes a strong, urban edge that follows the curvature of the adjacent road. A colonnade acts as a communal “front porch,” inviting visitors in and providing shade, refuge, identity and light. Deep overhangs capture prevailing winds and provide shade to a rhythmic arrangement of windows, while outdoor spaces offer flexible meeting areas.

The interior utilizes colors to create an effective visual wayfinding strategy. A tranquil, uplifting palette minimizes the institutional nature of the facility and amplifies the spirit of healing, inspiration and confidence that permeates the organization.

LifeWorks was the fourth commercial project to receive a 5-star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building program. Since the commercial rating program’s inception in 1995, only 2.7% of projects have achieved 5 stars.Despite a tight budget, sustainability was conceived of as a central part of the design. During construction, 82.9% of waste was recycled or salvaged, and 52.5% of the building materials were sourced in-state. When compared to a baseline case study, LifeWorks uses 79.6% less energy, 80% less potable water for irrigation, and 28.3% less indoor potable water. Over 90% of the occupied spaces have exterior views and natural light. The building is sited near several bus routes and a light rail line, while bike racks, showers, lockers and electric car charging stations promote alternative means of transportation.



Austin, Texas


New Construction

5 Stars, Austin Energy Green Building
Design Award, Texas Society of Architects
Citation of Honor, AIA Austin Design Awards

Student Architecture Award, UT School of Architecture
Finalist, Envision Central Texas