Creating 21st Century Learning Spaces


ERO Architects, the award-winning architectural firm for Texas K-12 design services, celebrated with Houston’s Furr High School community for its receipt of $10 million from XQ Institute at a special event in October. The design of the new school building, created by ERO Architects, was featured during the celebration hosted by XQ Institute as part of the “XQ: The Super School Bus Tour” which made a stop at Furr, the only Texas school to receive an award.

More than 800 students, teachers, parents and alumni attended, along with U.S. Representative Gene Green, Houston Independent School District Board President Manuel Rodriguez and the City of Houston’s Director of Education Juliet Stipeche, among others.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-12-31-14-pmThe XQ Super School award rewards those who are rethinking school designs for their service to students and the worlds they enter after high sch ool. Furr High School was one of 700 proposals reviewed by many leading experts in education, youth development, innovation and design. Furr was one of ten schools in the nation to receive the award.

“ERO is proud to work with schools and their school districts in pushing the envelope in innovation for how to better serve students for today’s world,” said Eli R. Ochoa, CEO and president of ERO Architects. He described the alignment of his firm’s design philosophy with XQ values: “Our embrace of our south Texas community roots has taught us how to respect other community’s land, people, and history. This is the prominent component of our design approach and it reflects our sensitivity to taking a holistic view of each project so that our clients and members of the community become partners in planning and development. The values of XQ confirm that our effort to incorporate learnable, teachable, and communal components into our designs is the right pathway forward for schools.”

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-12-29-05-pmFurr High School Principal Bertie Simmons commented on ERO Architects and the effects of the XQ award on programs at the new school: “The architects work well with us. They have included a clinic, community center and a New Comers Center. They have worked diligently with us to implement an ID Scanner so that we are able to enter our building with our flexible schedule. We would not have been able to do this without ERO Architects.”

ERO Architects has several other high school projects around Texas, with each integrating specific design elements unique to school district and community needs. For example, the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy at Harlingen supports project-based learning in the five Achieve Texas Career clusters: education and training; health science; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business management and administration; and liberal arts. The high school was designed to look and feel like a college campus in an effort to enhance college readiness. It features an intimate central courtyard as the ideal place for social and communal interaction, group learning and quiet reflection.

In remarks about Furr’s design, Ochoa noted: “Our sensitivity to local cultures comes from our own experience as proud Hispanics in south Texas. Being a part of hundreds of years of Texas history closely associates us with the vast diversity of indigenous cultures. We want to bring the awareness and respect we have for the land, people and history of communities into the design of public sector facilities across the state and nation.”


Since 2001, ERO Architects has completed more than 200 public-sector projects, winning many awards along the way. Founder and managing partner Eli R. Ochoa, PE, AIA, a native of the Rio Grande Valley, established this multi-disciplinary firm to specialize in the public sector because of his strong belief that architectural design can impact public environments and user experiences. The Hispanic-owned firm built its reputation on its vision to transform architecture by respecting the land, people and history of a community into its designs. ERO Architects’ clients become partners in the planning and development of each design, thus meeting the goals and needs of each community’s unique identity.

For more information about ERO go to and call 956.655.4655.