August 5, 2020 - 12:00pm

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Mass Timber Enables Beauty, Warmth and Function Design in the Soto


At six stories and 140,000 square feet, The Soto is a model of sustainable design. Developed by Hixon Properties, it is the first phase of an 8.5-acre mixed-use area in San Antonio that will include food and beverage, entertainment, office, apartment, and retail. The primary design direction was to provide a unique and beautiful workplace that appeals to tenants, is highly flexible, and incorporates technologies that make the building operationally efficient and sustainable. Mass timber helped achieve many of these objectives. In this presentation, the architects will share valuable insights and lessons learned from the design, permitting and construction phases of the project – currently drawing close to completion.


Learning Objectives:

1. Review Code provisions applicable to a six-story mass timber structure including construction type and fire-resistance ratings

2. Highlight effective means of accommodating M.E.P. in an exposed timber structure office building while minimizing visual distractions and providing functionality

3. Discuss local interpretations from the AHJ relative to a first-of-its-kind mass timber structure in San Antonio

4. Describe lessons learned relative to Code compliance, detailing best practices and material procurement for a dowel laminated timber structure


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Michael W. Smith, AIA

Senior Project Architect

BOKA Powell


A Senior Project Architect, Mike Smith holds a degree in Architecture from the University of Texas and is a registered architect in Texas and Arizona. With more than 40 years of experience in residential and commercial building design, Mike acknowledges that beautifully-designed, well-built architecture is the result of extensive collaboration and works diligently to help guide and facilitate the contributions made by all members of the design team. Over the course of his career, Mike has contributed to a variety of civic landmarks, such as the Austin City hall and the Long Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the highly successful urban infill development, Lamar Union. Mike served as the project architect for The Soto in San Antonio, Texas, the first mid-rise mass timber office building in the region.



Todd Wascher, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Associate Partner at Lake|Flato


An Associate Partner at Lake|Flato, Todd joined Lake|Flato in 2005 and has over a decade of experience with commercial development and master planning projects. Todd is dedicated to projects that positively impact the lives of many in the community. A native San Antonian, Todd worked for over eight years on the renowned Pearl Brewery Redevelopment Master Plan which was recognized with a Global Charter Award for Urban Design by the Congress for New Urbanism. Most recently, Todd has focused on a master plan and new expansion for the Witte Museum in San Antonio, TX, as well as the new Magdelana Boutique Hotel in Austin, TX. Todd is an active member of the AIA San Antonio Urban Design Committee and serves on the Program Committee of the Urban Land Institute.





BEC: Austin is an interdisciplinary organization that promotes the exchange of information on building enclosures and related science specific to the climate of Central Texas.

Interdisciplinary:  architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, consultants, facility managers, code officials, educators, manufacturers, and those with a stake in building enclosure performance

Exchange of information:  discussion, training, education, outreach, and awareness

Building enclosures and related science:  energy-efficiency, moisture control, indoor air quality, longevity, and durability

BEC: Austin typically meets the first Wednesday of each month from 12-1pm.
2020 BEC: Austin Committee
Chair: Kayla Maines, AIA
Chair-Elect: Andrea Hellerman, AIA