As architects, teachers, environmental stewards and community advocates, Lake|Flato seeks to foster the education of the next generation of architects through a culture of design excellence, mentorship, professional development and community involvement. We are, at our core, about people—people who are design artists doing life together—in the office, in their community, and beyond the firm. This perspective drives a vibrant energy and lively open studio environment that guides the firm’s culture, drawing on each person’s unique passion and talent, to develop enriching designs. We emphasize an ethos of mutual respect and collaborative leadership in which everyone has something to offer, diverse perspectives are valued, and the design solutions we arrive at through coming together are greater than the sum of our parts.

Sustainable business practices

As a firm that is a leader in the design of innovative sustainable projects throughout the United States, we take our responsibility as a sustainable business very seriously, reducing the environmental impacts of our operations whenever possible. Since 2007 we have offset 100% of our office- and travel-related carbon dioxide emissions. By tracking our recycling and trash quantities we have achieved a recycling rate of 53% of waste that leaves the building, by weight, and therefore choose vendors and caterers that promote minimizing waste. And in 2014 we began a bi-monthly “Bike for Breakfast” (B4B) ritual that encourages bicycle commuting and community engagement by serving up waffles in front of the office for all downtown cyclists. Firm partners and staffers alike volunteer to set up and serve in this community-oriented endeavor which has grown to include other downtown firms and organizations. Because of office initiatives like B4B, approximately 47% of our employees now commute to work via bicycle, foot or public transit. 

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Community involvement

Since our inception, Lake|Flato has always engaged in civic-focused community development.  Our experience designing projects for nonprofits such as Acción, TEDx and Texas Public Radio has provided us with the opportunity to fuse our passions for sustainable design and community engagement.  We often team with other local groups, like the Nature Conservancy or the Green Spaces Alliance, to educate the public about alternative sustainable solutions in design. Lake|Flato actively promotes the health and well-being of the community, uniting with other contingencies that do the same. Through the 1+ Architecture program we also donate a percentage of our annual billable time to nonprofit work, benefiting organizations such as the San Antonio Food Bank and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Designers are encouraged to participate in organizations that strengthen and give back to the local community.  

Beyond the Lake|Flato walls

Just as we don’t consider a building to be a separate entity from its site, we don’t regard the workday hours at Lake|Flato as separate from enjoying life in all its fullness. The life of Lake|Flato easily extends beyond its walls, with members riding together on a cycling team, or participating in weekly kickball or poker leagues. But the spirit of the firm is best exemplified by our annual Flake|Lato Weekend. For more than 30 years members of the firm and their families have gathered at Kickapoo Ranch in West Texas for a weekend of swimming, fishing, camping and mountain biking that celebrates our shared love of the outdoors and our unique community.