The new Brazos County Tax Office, located on the eastern edge of the City of Bryan, is a much needed replacement for the former Tax Office in downtown Bryan. It is the first of several government buildings planned to be constructed on a stretch of county-owned property, and sets the tone for future development in the area. Immediately adjacent to the new building, BRW proposed and designed an outdoor plaza with planting beds and a stained concrete map, celebrating the history of Brazos County and identifying some of its defining features.
The exterior design of the new tax office seeks to set a precedent for future county buildings in the area with a contemporary and elegant design utilizing durable and low-maintenance materials. The primary volume is clad in limestone with standing seam metal roofing. The secondary volumes utilize smooth fiber cement siding to contrast with the rough texture of the stone. The steel frame is exposed throughout the building and celebrated with unique structural details and connections that exemplify the simplicity and functionality of the overall design.
In laying out the floor plan, BRW worked closely with the County to correct many of the problems associated with their former building. The inefficient layout of the previous facility resulted in wasted space and challenges for both the staff and public, and the lack of windows and dim lighting created a gloomy and depressing environment. The new 10,500 square foot building is organized around a common lobby and waiting area serving three departments: Motor Vehicle Registration, Property Taxes, and Voter Registration. This double height space with large north-facing windows provides a well lit and visually appealing atmosphere for visitors. The lobby is lined with customer service desks, which maintain an appropriate level of openness without compromising security. A one foot change in floor level allows clerks to sit comfortably while customers stand, keeping the lines moving and deterring customers from reaching or jumping over the desks. Adjacent to the service desks is an open office cubicle area for department staff, who monitor and assist the clerks. Supervisor offices with glass walls line the perimeter of the building, allowing the leadership to oversee the entire operation while also bringing natural light to the interior of the building. A two-lane covered drive through is an added convenience for customers and increases the capabilities of the Tax Office. At the rear of the building are spaces that require more privacy, including the Bookkeeping Department, Conference/Training Room, and Break Room. Overall, the function-driven floor plan is compact and efficient, allowing Tax Office operations to run more smoothly than ever before.