February 25, 2016

Doug Childers, AIA, has a deep passion for and understanding of the ways that cities influence the quality of public life and the critical role that architecture plays in creating the public stage. 

A native of Houston, he is a strategic leader both professionally and in the community. Childers studied and lived in New York City for nearly two formative decades. Since returning to Houston in 1997, he has become an active champion for Houston’s unique form of urbanism and a leader of high-profile architecture and urban planning projects.  

He is joining HKS as principal and commercial practice leader in the Houston office. After many years working with public and private clients, he brings an astute understanding of the relationship between architecture and urban design and the critical roles that the public and private sectors play in achieving projects of long-term social and economic value. He combines a strong design sensibility and technical expertise, with business and leadership skills honed through many project types and a range of working environments. 

Childers has been a driving force on a broad range of urban planning, master planning, mixed-use and commercial building projects in Houston. His most significant projects include the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis Houston Convention Center Hotel, currently under construction; and Regent Square, a 4 million-square-foot mixed-use project in Houston’s renowned Montrose district. He has also led urban planning efforts for Houston’s downtown Convention District and Houston’s trendy Midtown neighborhood. Both of these strategic planning projects have become catalysts for public and private investment and development.   

He has also contributed his time to numerous civic engagements, causes and organizations. At the request of Mayor Anise Parker in 2010, he led the design effort for the Houston Pavilion and represented the city of Houston at the eighth annual China International Garden Expo in Chongqing, China. He has been a community advocate for smart expansion of Houston’s public transportation system, serving as founding Chair of RichmondRail.org and as a transportation committee member for both Central Houston and the South Main Alliance. 

His community involvement and urban design leadership resulted in appointments to the City of Houston Planning Commission’s mixed-use/transit-oriented development committee, as the AIA-Houston representative. The committee developed standards and ordinance language for neighborhoods adjacent to Houston’s expanding light rail system. He subsequently continued his involvement with the Planning Commission by serving on the off-street parking committee – rewriting the City’s parking ordinance to address the needs of rapidly changing urban areas. He also provided technical and advisory support to the Mayor’s Downtown Retail Task Force — charged with developing recommendations to revitalize Houston’s retail core. 

Childers is the immediate past chair and current board member of the East End Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the South Main Alliance in Houston, organizations focused on stewardship and strategic growth of their respective communities. 

“My passion for architecture operates on several levels — material, aesthetic, historical and cultural. But I began with the notion that architecture is the vessel for civic and public life,” Childers said. “Although I initially envisioned this as a notion about buildings, it has been a natural progression to expand that idea to the scale of the city.  

“Great places, neighborhoods and urban districts function much like well-designed buildings,” he continued. “They engage us and ask us to take ownership, they reflect who we are and who we want to be and connect us to our fellow humans. For years, the line between work and life has been imperceptible for me. My work is about the city — its people and its places; and much of life involves being a user and a co-conspirator in its daily life. It is a great privilege to play a part in the evolution and the life of the city.” 

HKS, Inc. is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top six architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $83 billion in more than 1,742 cities located in 88 countries. The firm operates from 25 offices worldwide. For more information, contact Trish Martineck at tmartineck@hksinc.com.

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