About O’Connell Architecture

Our mission is to breathe new life into old buildings through restoration of character defining features and thoughtful adaptation to modern life. Based in Austin, Texas, we are an architectural firm specializing in historic preservation. O’Connell Architecture, LLC was founded by Tere O’Connell in 2015, and we endeavor to celebrate the history of our city.

Where do we start?

Historical buildings all have a story to tell. Most of our projects begin with a fact-finding mission through city zoning and permitting records, historical research at the Austin History Center and other sources, and sometimes even genealogy. By having a frame of reference, and understanding the significance of the building and its owners throughout time, we can build upon the history of our community. This foundation of research allows us to incorporate modern amenities in a thoughtful and deliberate way while rejuvenating the historic features of a building.

We enjoy designing for our clients, while celebrating the character of the building and restoring its original beauty.

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Our Team

Tere O’Connell

Tere O’Connell started O’Connell Architecture, LLC in 2015, bringing with her an extensive portfolio of experience including projects at the Governor’s Mansion, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and numerous historic courthouse restorations around Central Texas.  She is proficient with local, state, and federal historic preservation programs and policies including the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and maintains a strong rapport with the Texas Historical Commission and the Historic Landmark Commission of Austin. Tere identifies how to increase the longevity of a property in a way that best meets the needs and expectations of the present owner, with mindful consideration of the contribution the building makes to the community in which it stands. In her role with clients and project teams she focuses on design, building-system performance, life-cycle costs, and functionality. She occasionally functions as Preservation Architect for larger design teams with projects in the Austin area. Tere is skillful at helping clients articulate vision and define priorities, and finding design solutions that respect the building’s integrity and beauty.

Tere has spent her entire 33-year architectural career focused on the preservation of historic Texas properties. Having grown up in Austin, she is engrained in the history of the city, and is a passionate supporter in preserving its heritage. Through active involvement in Preservation Austin, local museum and arts organizations, participation in community events, and mentorship to young preservationists, she plays in important role in the future of preservation.

Tere is grounded in the spirit of loving where you live, and a belief in doing good work for your community.

Read Tere’s interview with Texas Society of Architects >

Erin

Erin Dowell

Erin’s background in interior design, partnered with her construction experience, give her a broad range of skills for her role as Project Manager with O’Connell Architecture.  She has been in the construction industry for over 11 years, working in commercial and residential design, as well as architectural restoration. Her strong organizational skills, resiliency in problem solving, and pursuit to learn from craftsmen allow her to seamlessly transition from construction sites to office work.

A native Oregonian, Erin moved to Texas in 2007 and thought Austin was the perfect place for sun, music, and adventure. Her passions range from hosting dinner parties and creating spreadsheets, to rummaging for architectural salvage and gardening.  Her love for old buildings is founded in the spirit of celebrating and honoring the past.

Lori

Lori Martin

Lori earned a Bachelor of Journalism from UT Austin and her Masters in Historic Preservation from UT Austin’s School of Architecture, which paved the way for her role as Architectural Historian at O’Connell Architecture. Her skill in researching historic properties was developed throughout her studies, and her thesis explored an experimental housing project in Austin that studies the comfort and livability of post-war houses in warm climates, testing the performance of the buildings’ primary materials, brick, and structural clay tile. Lori presented her thesis at the 2018 Association for Preservation Technology conference in Buffalo, NY as a Student Scholar. Lori is incoming President of Preservation Austin and Regional Co-Director of the Texas Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology.

A native of Amarillo, Lori’s previous career focused on fundraising and developments for non-profits, specifically for organizations with a historic preservation focus. Most recently, she was Director of Development for the Paramount Theater in Austin, and was part of a development team that raised over $3 million annually to support the theatre’s preservation and education programs. Lori’s favorite pastime is puttering around her mid-century modern home in central Austin. Shopping is a close second, and she’s always on the hunt for the next mid-century treasure to add to her collection.  

Awards & Recognition

Tucker Winfield Apartment

Tucker-Winfield Apartment House, Austin

Exterior and interior restoration

  • Honor Award from Preservation Texas, 2019
  • Merit Award for Restoration from Preservation Austin, 2018
O. Henry Hall Austin Texas

O. Henry Hall, Austin

Masonry and window restoration

  • Honor Award from Preservation Texas, 2019
  • Merit Award for Restoration from Preservation Austin, 2018
Comal County Courthouse

Comal County Courthouse, New Braunfels

Master plan followed by full restoration

  • Historic Restoration Award from Preservation Texas, 2013
  • First Place in Restoration from the San Antonio Masonry Contractor’s Association, 2013
Dedrick Hamilton House

Dedrick Hamilton House

Part of the African American Cultural and Heritage Facility, Austin – Exterior restoration and interior adaptive use

  • Merit Award for Restoration from Preservation Austin, 2013
  • Merit Award for Historic Rehabilitation from Preservation Texas, 2013
  • Merit Award from AIA Austin, 2013
Governors Mansion

Texas Governor’s Mansion, Austin

18 years of professional guidance, including several construction projects and Historic Structure Report

  • Governor’s commendation, 2010
  • National Award of Excellence, Associated Builders and Contractors of America, 1999
Gerhard Schoch House

Gerhard-Schoch House, Austin

Front porch reconstruction from photographs

  • Merit Award for Restoration from Preservation Austin, 2013
Fayette County Courthouse

Fayette County Courthouse, La Grange

Master plan followed by full restoration

  • Citation of Honor from AIA Austin, 2007
  • Treasures of Texas Award for Best Restoration from Preservation Texas, 2006
  • Outstanding Construction Award, Austin Chapter of the Associated General Contractor’s Association, 2006
Eddleman McFarland

Eddleman-McFarland House, Fort Worth

Reconstruction of the original garden terrace

  • Preservation Honor Award from Historic Fort Worth, 2004
Llano County Courthouse

Llano County Courthouse, Llano

Master plan followed by full restoration

  • Award of Excellence in Construction from the Associated Builders and Contractors of America, 2002
Gonzales County Courthouse

Gonzales County Courthouse, Gonzales

Interior restoration

  • Award of Excellence in Historic Architecture from the Texas Historical Commission, 1999

Recognized by