MEET OUR TEAM
We are a team of dedicated professionals, ready to do what ever it takes to make your business grow.
We are a team of dedicated professionals, ready to do what ever it takes to make your business grow.
From the time he joined Muñoz and Company in 1988, Tillotson has been deeply concerned with the investigation of historical urban processes in San Antonio and South Texas cities. His original and unique research has mapped the geomorphology and historical development that define these unique and complex urban landscapes. He is an architect whose broad experience in architecture, historic preservation and planning has produced a wide variety of successful institutional, commercial and residential projects throughout the state. His depth of expertise informs his design and restoration projects, and has brought professional recognition with numerous awards. In addition to his extensive architectural practice, Tillotson is deeply involved in community design issues. As Chair of the AIASA Urban Affairs Committee, he worked closely with numerous community organizations and public agencies, and organized design assistance on their behalf.
ST: My earliest memory is of me at the age of 2 at my grandmother’s farm in Iowa. There was a big red barn, and I noticed it immediately. I remember that I said, “I want to make that.” This primal fascination persisted over the years, and extended to include the farmhouse, a funky assemblage of detailed elements. These juxtaposed buildings, one basic in form and the other complex, left indelible impressions on my young psyche.
Throughout childhood my visual interests expanded. I grew up in a military family so at an early age I lived in several European countries and was exposed to the built environments of different cultures. What stayed with me most was how people lived in places continuously inhabited for many hundreds of years. It was living documentation of processes of habitation and adaptation.
To my benefit I also had books about architecture and I made lots of drawings.
Q: What about your college years?
ST: Luckily I started at San Antonio College when Emil Golla was chairman of the Architecture Department. He had an optimistic worldview that he communicated with great enthusiasm to prepare us for success at larger universities. From this I developed a broader understanding of design that helped me think in abstract as well as concrete terms.
During this period I also opened up to a different kind of experience, outside what most would consider on a conventional path. Through my church I did volunteer work in Mississippi and this led to an intense personal engagement with extreme poverty. I learned firsthand that all people need a place where they can find fulfillment, and that it is very important to heal what has been damaged.
Clearly, this “sidetrack” provided a laboratory to assay life from an authentic viewpoint. When I completed my university education at the University of Texas at Austin, I looked at human settlements in much more realistic terms. I came to see urbanism as a process of causal events: beautiful, even eccentric, geometries are often the consequences of practical considerations. Discovering these hidden mysteries is a gratifying part of what I do.
Mr. Hohlaus joined Muñoz and Company in 1979. He is the leading Project Managing Principal, with an extensive portfolio of complex and large-scale projects for governmental and stakeholder groups. Additionally, his experience includes educational projects at every level: primary, middle school, high school and university facilities. He is the Director of Technical Resources, Specifications Department Manager and Continuing Education for the firm. Mr. Hohlaus’ special interest in preserving open space is indicated by his work on developing urban greenways. In 1997 he was a key member of San Antonio’s “Living With Water” Design Charrette committee. He is a former president of the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
RH: My father, Larry Hohlaus, was one of the architects at the outset of this company and had a lifelong association with it, so my connection with the firm predates my own professional life here. At a very young age I was introduced to the world of design when my father brought home project drawings from the office. Through his influence I was introduced to America’s postwar love affair with new forms and materials. A large part of my early awareness came directly from that exposure to many scientific innovations for modern living. It seemed inevitable that one day I would end up in architecture, engineering or aerospace. Some of my favorite high school memories are of building tetrahedral kites and hang gliders from commonly found materials. My early experiments with solar energy collection continued to develop during my collegiate studies in architecture.
Q: Just as in your life, throughout the history of architecture there is a recurring integration with science.
RH: Yes, it’s definitely a prominent feature of our modern consciousness. It was on the Texas A&M program when I was a student there, and today, with everyone interested in energy efficiency, it is once more a topical concern. I think that architecture that is technically oriented to work with natural forces is always going to be interesting and relevant. When the building’s aesthetic and engineering are integrated so that structure, function and associated systems are enhanced – that is particularly rewarding for everyone involved. As designers, our special challenge lies in dealing successfully with ever-larger contexts, natural as well as social and cultural. Taking a holistic approach, including the environment in mutually beneficial strategies, is one of the best ways that we can serve the public.
Alice joined Muñoz and Company in 1985 after 15 years of previous experience as bookkeeper/office manager for large architecture and engineering firms in Laredo and San Antonio. During that period Ms. Ramirez acquired valuable organizational and analytical skills, which she developed further in the efficient financial management of our company. She has been chiefly responsible for Human Resource matters, project contract administration, maintenance of corporate records and complete bookkeeping records on joint ventures with other firms.
AR: My father was a Laredo businessman who, from my earliest memories, instilled in me positive attitudes about life and work. He owned and managed a cotton gin, a seasonal operation serving the South Texas region. In the summer, the plant ran continuously, 24 hours a day for weeks, yet my father always stayed on top of everything. Watching him conduct business, I learned the importance of good organization, dedication and fairness when dealing with employees and customers.
My first job outside the house was at Laredo’s KGNS radio station. I kept their books and had other assorted duties. It was a real adventure because, being live on-air, there was little room for error. Each day could be completely different from the one before so we were always on our toes. I started lining up and announcing our music programming, and on weekends I read the news – national and international, as well as local. This was a valuable eye-opener for me at that young age: getting a sense of the bigger world connected to my hometown.
Q: How did you go from this line of work into the world of architecture offices?
AR: It started when my neighbor, Paul Garza, asked me to help out in his office for a short period. He was Laredo’s city planner as well as a partner at Ashley, Garza & Humphries. In that one office they did architecture, planning and engineering. Well, that initial 2-week assignment turned into a 13-year hitch. And it set the precedent for me working in a large office with a highly active practice. By the time I moved to San Antonio and started working at Kell Muñoz, I was well prepared to take on major challenges and I was predisposed to handle a wide variety of tasks. It was my good fortune that Larry Hohlaus was my immediate supervisor in this new environment. He impressed on us by his example the importance of being thorough. Over the course of many projects he consistently produced complete and meticulous sets of drawings.
Geoffrey S. Edwards joined Muñoz and Company in 1994 after gaining experience with residential projects in Austin. He is an alumnus of the Graduate Architecture Program at the University of Texas, Austin. As a company Principal and Chief Operating Officer, he directs the design studio of the firm. His projects include significant public buildings (e.g. libraries and educational institutions) and private facilities (e.g. health administrative offices, testing laboratories). Many of these have been recognized with state and local design awards and have been featured in professional journals (Architecture, Architectural Record and Texas Architect, among other publications). Dedicated to the cultural vitality of the San Antonio community, he has lectured on architectural history at Trinity University and has served on the boards of the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center, the Carver Community Cultural Center and the San Antonio Museum of Art Contemporaries. He is an active member on the Board of the San Antonio Architecture Foundation.
GE: When my interest in design first came to the surface I decided to enter the graduate program of architecture at the University of Texas. All along I knew I had a talent for critical thinking, and at this higher level of scholarship my pragmatic and artistic sides came together naturally. My first professional degree was in Finance and this earlier area of study provided me with a unique and beneficial perspective to bring to my work.
In the Architecture Department I was strongly influenced by Chris Macdonald, whose work at the Architectural Association in London was well known. Through his insightful mentorship I began to think a lot more about the manner in which people use buildings. I suppose I became a “junior sociologist” of sorts who was very intrigued with the rituals and patterns of occupation/habitation.
Q: How has this training been reflected in your current work?
GE: I have a real love for the blending of modern and craft sensibilities and it is evident in my approach to design. In my work I find that I am always interested in ideas but I also want to connect with existent situations in a meaningful way. I’m much more concerned with the experiential over any formal philosophy. Things carry meaning, materials have associations for people and it’s important to respect that. The way that a design works with certain forms and materials so that it expresses a rich cultural context can determine how well people respond to the buildings and spaces which are a part of their lives.
Henry R. Muñoz, III joined Muñoz and Company in 1983. In his role as President and CEO of Muñoz and Company, Henry Muñoz has steered the firm through a series of highly visible projects that demonstrate the place of cultural identity in architecture. For his leadership and pioneering vision he has been recognized with numerous national, state and local honors and professional awards. Outside the office, his contributions to “quality of life” issues and cultural life of the San Antonio community have brought him to the attention of the general public. He serves as Chairman of the VIA Transportation Board in San Antonio. He is the Founding Chairman of the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture. Under his leadership the Alameda expanded its mission to become the first formal affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. In 1999 Muñoz was appointed to the Smithsonian National Board. Other national appointments include the National Committee for the Performing Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center and, more recently, the National Committee for the Latino Museum on the National Mall. He also serves as a Trustee of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art.
HM: I can see that my childhood gave me both perspective and sensitivity to envision the world as a place where you can accomplish great things with total conviction and with imagination. I’m grateful that my parents provided me with the foundation to pursue extraordinary interests successfully. My first awareness of cultural identity and exposure to the world of politics came when I was very young. Most everyone knows that my father was Henry “The Fox” Muñoz, the well-known labor organizer. As one might expect, I was profoundly affected by his activism, especially in championing the rights of minority farm workers. As a child I saw what happens when you help an entire community find its voice in the world. I saw how strength comes from living with a collective sense of value for your traditions and beliefs. That makes a huge difference in how well you handle all kinds of challenges.
Coincident with this political experience I also became aware of art, design and communication media at an early age. These were things for which I had natural talents and dedication. Fortunately, my mother had the wisdom to encourage these nascent interests, which I continued to explore in my TV/radio/film and public relations studies at Tulane University.
Q: What do you say to people who think that your approach to design is provocative?
HM: It’s too easy to see projects and programs that promote cultural identity and community pride merely as polemical swipes at the status quo. I don’t see any of our effort in those terms. It’s not about being a separate group in a polarized country. We are all much more informed and interconnected to see things in such a simplistic way.
We are faced with serious challenges on many levels, and someone has to start somewhere. That’s what leadership is all about. In this office we believe that it’s important to see things that are usually missed or misunderstood for their intrinsic cultural merit, such as the adaptive expressions of architecture and art that we find in certain neighborhoods. I am really proud of our office, that we cultivate this broader appreciation as a prerequisite before we begin any design assignment. We want to act responsibly as professionals who respect people everywhere, regardless of their economic status. We want to engage people in a relationship of trust so that we can help them voice their deepest sentiments and then exceed their project expectations. In the end, our focus is in bringing materiality and form to a joyful experience of life, reinvigorating values that define people not just in one special setting, but everywhere. Ultimately for all of us in this business, we have to answer to how well we bring that transformation into being.
I think that in today’s world most thoughtful and decent people want creative solutions to large and complex problems so that we all can connect meaningfully even if we have different perspectives. That’s not a crazy new idea – actually, it’s the phrase that appears on the Seal of the United States, which was adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. You can find it on every single dollar bill:
E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one.”