2019—San Gabriel Campus

Austin Community College—San Gabriel Campus
Architect: Pfluger Architects

The College has a history of starting new campuses in unique places. Its first campus, opened in 1973, was made from an abandoned all-black high school. The latest campus before this one was created in an empty shopping mall. This campus, on former ranch land at a new light rail stop, will begin a new community that includes, not only a college campus, but also a High School, a YMCA, a Civic Center, a Civic Plaza, and direct connections to surrounding planned urban growth and natural assets.

Design—Star of DistinctionDesign

“Settler: As the first step towards a new campus and a new community, Phase 1 had to establish a sense of place where there was none, set the guidelines for future growth, and be a complete campus in a single building. It was designed to be the fulcrum between the new community’s first claim and its future.”


“Affordable Education: To bring affordable higher education and workforce training to the growing community, Phase 1, a complete campus in a single building, was designed to stake a claim, set a benchmark, and link all existing and potential community assets – both natural and man-made.”

Sustainability—Star of DistinctionSustainability

“Leading by Example: While achieving LEED Gold, the design implemented and showcased sustainable methods and technologies, setting the pace for all future campus growth. In addition to rooftop solar collection and energy efficient systems, the design features a certified Monarch Butterfly Waystation and the largest Rain Garden approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).”


“Nucleus: For the past 200 years, communities throughout Texas have cropped up along rail lines. With the pioneering spirit of our forefathers, a light rail stop became the impetus for a master-planned urban center. The heart of this community will be a 12,000-student community college, and the foundation of the campus is this 110,000 SF building. This facility houses an entire campus and will serve as the nucleus of the community and the blueprint for future construction.”

Planning—Star of DistinctionPlanning

“Coalition: As the first flag planted in an urban development, the new campus leads the transformation of ranch land into a new community. The College formed a coalition with the city, the commuter rail authority, the local K-12 school district, land owners and developers, and the YMCA to master plan, not only the new campus, but also the community’s future direction and commitment to education.”

School Transformation

“The Accelerator: Phase 1, not only transformed the landscape from ranch land to an urban campus, but also transformed higher education with the inclusion of The Accelerator. The second of its kind, The Accelerator provides student support and 100% individualized self-paced instruction. With 140 workstations and surrounded by staffed support programs, the space is an active learning hub located at the heart of the campus.”

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner