Situated just north and slightly west of San Antonio, Texas — in the Texas Hill Country — sits the city of Boerne, home to Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort and Golf Course. Originally home to a cattle ranch, the land developed to house a resort, conference center, and 27 holes in the early 1980s. In 2011, the owners filed bankruptcy, opening the opportunity for The King of Country, George Strait, and his business partner to purchase the property.


The country music legend, a life-long resident of Texas and named Texan of the Year in 2018, and his business partner, Tom Cusick, “…fell hard for the property in 2011 because it had so much potential and embodied what the heart of Texas is all about,” said Strait in a release.


The 220-acre property, one of Texas’s most scenic and beautiful areas, went through some much-needed improvements, but that wasn’t an easy proposition. They faced drought conditions in 2012, eliminated the nine-hole course in 2013 to focus on making an 18-hole course viable, and then faced flood damage.


The resort and course underwent a $2 million restoration and debuted in 2015 as an affordable, family-friendly destination. In 2016, the 18-hole golf course was named “Most Improved Public Golf Course” by Golf Inc. Magazine. “What we looked at doing here was trying to bring the bones of a great golf course back into play,” Tripp Davis, golf course architect of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Golf Course.


As luck would have it, the clubhouse suffered a devastating fire in 2017, destroying the building entirely. Because the clubhouse was essential to the guest experience, the entire resort closed. Two years later, the new 47,000-square-foot clubhouse, designed by Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects of Dallas, opened.

The new design brings a modern twist on western décor and doesn’t stray too far from its Hill Country origins. An outdoor dining area added to the clubhouse redesign, and with it, the need for railing to seamlessly define the dining area and the landscape.


Ultra-tec cable and Invisiware fittings were installed for this project and contributed to the newer, more modern hill country design theme using sleek, nearly invisible hardware. A steel 2-inch square end post with ½-inch flat bar inline posts and a 2.5-inch x .5-inch flat bar top rail with a hardwood cap finish the railing project.


“Our company was the specified fabricator for the cable railing by the architectural design team,” said Wayne Uecker, owner of Texas Railing Systems. “We installed one of our in-house design railings.”


Combining steel and hardwood materials makes a modern architectural statement in what would typically be a common usage area, offering unobstructed views. At the same time, guests can dine or stand at the wood cap railing to enjoy the area’s beauty.


Texas Railing Systems prefers Ultra-tec Invisiware cable and fittings and is their first choice for cable products, even incorporating Ultra-tec into their standard fabrications. Other projects by Texas Railing Systems using Ultra-tec products can be seen on their website:

The Strength and Balance of Building Materials

Enter any commercial building and notice that you make direct contact with many different materials —concrete, wood, steel, stone, and brick — all designed and engineered for their strength, durability, and beauty. You may also have an instant reaction to the overall look, acoustics, and even smell (like the smell of wood). We judge the building’s overall aesthetics based on how it makes us feel. 

So, it’s no surprise that when architects are designing a building, they too are thinking about the health and well-being of a buildings’ occupants. But that’s not all. Architects and designers are also choosing materials based on their strength, longevity, and aesthetics.

While concrete is the most widely used material in construction, a balance of materials makes a building shine. Stainless steel in commercial buildings and other structures, typically used when there is a need for corrosion resistance, strength, and low maintenance, for fasteners, gates, security walls, bridges, support framing, street furniture, etc.

Stainless steel, made from the iron-based alloy family, contains about 12 percent chromium — the chemical element that produces an anti-corrosive, invisible thin layer of oxide — and is the protective property. One of the most environmentally friendly metals used in construction, stainless steel is highly durable. With a service life of more than 50-years, it is an attractive lifecycle cost-benefit versus low-cost alternatives.


Mixing Materials and Opening Sightlines

Because of this, stainless steel cables, fittings, and hardware are ideal for commercial applications where strength is essential, including beauty and open sightlines. For example, a boardwalk design at the Houston Audubon Society required the walkway to be unique using a camouflage design to not detract from bird watching. Ultra-tec cable, fittings, and hardware was specified to blend in with the surrounding vegetation.

Strength in materials can create a visual juxtaposition, particularly in all-purpose or common areas. Like stainless steel and glass, mixing materials can turn a visually mundane place into a fresh and modern vibe. The metal offers a solid balance to glass, a more delicate material that brings light, energy, and transparency to a room.

A recently completed office building in a high-rise building in downtown Houston features cable railings for the interconnected stair system used by occupants’ employees. The designer specified suspended vertical cables — 55 on either side of the stairway with full-height structural glass — and it became a focal point to offer employees a sweeping view of the city from virtually all four sides of the office building.

Materials Matter

Next time you enter a building, cross a pedestrian bridge, or sit in your favorite sports stadium, know that material choice matters and is used thoughtfully; balance a structure from aesthetics to strength to the ambiance. Blending materials, colors, and varying textures create an aesthetically pleasing and robust work of art.

Connecting with nature: a transformative solution

SMC3 is a leader in less than truckload (LTL) freight shipping data and solution provider that helps optimize the LTL transportation throughout the supply chain. For more than 80 years, SMC3 has supported this complex transportation niche comprising more than 5,000 North American shippers, carriers, logistics service providers (LSPs), and freight payment companies.


In the last few years, the company has experienced immense growth. Instead of moving their headquarters to an existing space, they created a new headquarters located in Peachtree City, Georgia. The company CEO Andrew Slusher commented in The Citizen at the groundbreaking that the new headquarters “…has been designed to enhance productivity and collaboration among team members and with our customer base.”

Breaking Ground: Three Story Atrium

The company broke ground on the 74,000 square foot, three-story atrium on January 30, 2019, and moved in on August 20, 2020. “From beginning to end — design to move-in — took less than two years,” said Jefferson, Founder and CEO, of Jefferson Browne Gresham Architects, the architect of record for the project.  “Nature, sustainability, wellness and evidence-based design principles guide the process,” he added


“The leadership at SMC3 wanted the building to be a transformative and inspirational settings to enhance creativity, clarity of thought and innovation to deliver SMC3’s mission as the transportation industry standard for intelligent data, technology and education solutions,” said Jefferson. “Designed with connections with nature, movement and momentum, health and wellness, and the concept of “Truth of Materials” that demonstrate the values of honesty and integrity, with structural elements emphasizing nature in the built and the natural environments,” said Jefferson.


Balance was integral to the entire building. “The client wanted something that reflected technology and is inviting to current, long-time employees as well as new, future tech-driven employees,” said Beth Anderson, owner of Blue Fox Designs. “I’ve worked with SMC3 since 2012, and they’ve experienced remarkable growth during that time, from being in a very traditional office building to something that reflects where the company is heading in the future.”


The community and neighborhoods were involved and participated in charettes and the initial design process. “We talked about placement of the building and why; we created a buffer between the community and the commercial areas,” said Jefferson. SMC3 understands the importance of community and blending in.

Balancing Interior and Exterior: Cable Railing Installation

Carefully and thoughtfully chosen exterior and interior kept everything balanced and natural. “The interior space speaks of movement and momentum always pressing forward,” said Jefferson. The use of natural wood — the largest glulam’s they could find — so you’d get a sense of being in the forest, with bolted connects in iron ore.


The use of natural colors, modern furnishings, and fabrics — crushed velvet, faux felt — with a sprinkle of blue throughout related to each other and moves through the building. Skylights throughout the building keep the open feeling. There are no shades or blinds, choosing instead to install automatic tinting glass as the sun moves from east to west — the use of cable railing to expand and open the sightline throughout the interior.


The exposed metal and timber beams throughout, along with the natural materials, were intentional. The cable railing falls nicely into the standards created — very systematic and balanced — to communicate harmony along with acoustical metal decking.


“The transparency of the rail, not being a barrier to the natural elements and daylight, that was incredibly important to them,” said Jefferson. “A conventional railing system would have created a visual barrier and shortened the site lines and wouldn’t have felt as expansive and open.”


Ultra-tec cable railing and hardware were supplied and installed by G&F Southeast Distributors, Inc throughout the SMC3 building. “All the metal posts are custom, and we laser cut all of them working with a steel fabricator,” Said Brian of G&F. “It is a one-of-a-kind project, and there’s nothing like it anywhere. “The Ultra-tec system worked perfectly for Jefferson’s design.”


“When you’re inside the building, you feel like your outside,” said Jefferson.