Thoughtbarn & Delineate Studio
DCA Construction


901 East Sixth is a 129,444-square-foot mid-rise commercial office building with four levels of below-grade parking. In addition to five floors of open office space, the building provides an airy double-height lobby with retractable overhead doors, bike storage and locker rooms for tenants, and a nestled balcony overlooking Sixth Street.


Don’t let the rust-clad exterior fool you: 901 East Sixth is an office building that will only get better with age. From its inception, the design team prioritized highlighting the urban fabric of the site and the beauty of natural materials.

The project engages with the Plaza Saltillo transit-oriented development (TOD) to encourage the use of this major transportation hub. The generous sidewalks and landscaping along East Sixth Street encourage pedestrians to linger, while the wrap-around balcony on the second floor doubles as a canopy for shade. A double-height, bi-folding glass door opens the lobby space to the adjacent streetscape at the building’s entrance, inviting the community inside and creating a quintessentially Austin indoor-outdoor experience.

At the time of its construction, 901 East Sixth was the first project in Texas to utilize cross-laminated timber (CLT) in a hybrid structural system. CLT is composed of layers of lumber stacked in alternating directions, glued, and pressed together to form large structural panels. The building’s hybrid system implements steel columns and beams as the primary structure, with CLT panels composing the floors and ceilings throughout. In addition, smaller scrap pieces of the CLT were repurposed in a grand feature wall, which serves as a backdrop for the lobby and its stair. The warm tone of the exposed wood panels brightens the space, creating a unique experience for tenants and visitors alike.

The architects chose to clad the exterior of the building in tapered weathering steel panels that were intentionally designed to rust over time. The panels arrived at installation in the solid silvery-gray that one would expect from steel. However, after several years of Austin sun and rain, they have fully weathered to reach their intended finish. The rich red patina, which recalls the history of warehouses and industrial buildings native to East Austin, adds a sense of history to this building.– YsaBella Licciardi

Photo Credits:

Casey Dunn (1-7)