DATE:  November 3, 2005
CONTACT: Dr. Robert Furgason, Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, (361) 825-2000; or Jorge A. Ramirez, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications, (361) 825-2427

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute Facility Integrates the Technological and Organic
$18 Million building is new home to leading Gulf of Mexico Researchers

The new home of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies is a state-of-the-art facility that provides a workplace for cutting-edge marine scientists and captures the spirit of its ocean environment.

The $18 million HRI building, which overlooks Corpus Christi Bay at the northwest entrance to the University, was designed by the local firm of Richter Architects in association with Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects. The design of the 55,000-square foot, three-story building is an integration of the technological and the organic that represents art as well as science.

“Like the Harte Research Institute, the building embraces the beauty and the poetry of the Gulf of Mexico,” said lead architect David Richter. “It is literally tuned to its immediate environment, working responsively with nature.”

The HRI building is a passively solar complex of glass, stainless steel and brick. It is positioned to take advantage of nature by admitting the cool, diffused light from the north and south while shielding the interior from direct sunlight from the east and west.  

The facility’s notable features include an open plan that facilitates interaction and collaboration, day-lit workspaces, bay views from almost every workstation, shaded glazing, high efficiency building systems, and run-off and groundwater resource management. The working areas are taut and technical in contrast to the public spaces which flow through the building, giving it an ethereal quality.

 “In addition to being an engaging place for people to work and visit, the building expresses the beauty of environmental harmony and stewardship,” Richter said. “At the same time, it is a flexible, adaptable and efficient workplace for advanced marine science research.”

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies was created in 2000 through a $46 million endowment by Edward H. Harte, former publisher of the Harte-Hanks Newspapers. The $18 million to build the HRI’s home was provided by the State of Texas. Its components include:

• Six wet labs
• Two seawater labs
• Two dry labs
• Teaching classroom/laboratory
• Geographical Information Systems Suite
• Education/Outreach Suite
• Six endowed chair offices
• Eight faculty offices
• Eight research scientist offices
• 12 post-doctoral offices
• 15 graduate research assistant offices
• Four research technician offices
• Administrative suite with conference room
• Conference center
• Information-transfer lobby
•  Photo/video specimen, contract archives
• Dive locker
• Storage and work areas.