Alamo releases renderings for sleek 2-story Exhibit Hall and Collections Building

Groundbreaking for the new building is set for this summer

A rendering of what the Exhibit Hall & Collections Building will look like from the outside. Rendering by Gensler | GRG. (Courtesy)

SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo has released renderings of a new, two-story, 24,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall & Collections Building that will be built on the plaza grounds.

The sleek addition will house interactive exhibits, gallery space, and the entire Alamo and Phil Collins collections when it opens in the summer of 2022, the Alamo said in a news release Wednesday.

The 10,000 square feet of exhibit space will be five times the size of the Alamo’s current exhibit footprint.

A rendering of what the inside of the Exhibit Hall will look like. Rendering by Gensler | GRG. (Courtesy)

The Exhibit Hall & Collections Building will be erected in the Alamo gardens east of the gift shop. It was “prudently designed” so the Church can still be viewed from Alamo Plaza during constriction, officials said.

A separate Alamo Visitor Center and Museum are expected to launch in 2025. At that time, the Phil Collins Collection, filled with artifacts donated by the musician and Alamo enthusiast, will be moved the museum.

The exhibit center will then “become home to additional traveling exhibits in order to further educate and engage visitors.”

“The gallery and learning opportunities this building provides will greatly enhance the visitor experience,” Kate Rogers, the executive director of The Alamo Trust, said in a news release. “This new space, along with the 18-Pounder Losoya House exhibit in Alamo Plaza and the 1836 Cannon Replica Project, will give the public a much deeper understanding of the site’s full history.”

Kristi Miller Nichols, the director of archaeology, collections, and historical research for the Alamo, said the Exhibit Hall & Collections Building is not part of the historic mission site and is not where the battle took place.

Its groundbreaking is set for this summer.

Rendering of the second floor of the Exhibit Hall. Rendering by Gensler | GRG. (Courtesy)

The modern structures will be added to the new Alamo Plan, which was approved by City Council last month.

Councilmembers approved a revised ground lease and operating agreement in a 10-1 vote, signaling an OK for the broad strokes of a new plan to redesign Alamo Plaza.

District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño was the lone dissenting vote.

Under a new agreement with the Texas General Land Office (GLO), the state agency will take control of the plaza and some surrounding streets from the city for 50 years, with two, 25-year extensions. The GLO already manages the historic Alamo site.

The revised Alamo Plan retains many of the key elements from its predecessor: a museum and visitors center, closing down area streets to vehicular traffic, and restoring historic buildings at the site.

However, the Cenotaph will not be moved, there will be no railings that would block off pedestrian access, pavers will be used to mark off the footprint rather than a lowered surface, and parades like the Battle of Flowers will still be able to pass through the plaza.

It will also close down a portion of Alamo Street between Crockett Street and Houston Street by June 1.

“It’s a much-improved version because I think it addresses some of the major issues that I and many of my colleagues and members of the public had with the original plan,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said after the vote.

The future of the Alamo Plan was thrown into uncertainty after the Texas Historical Commission voted 12-2 in September to block the relocation of the Cenotaph - a controversial but central element to the original redesign plans.

The city has $38 million to spend on the project, and the state has committed $106 million so far.

A top down view of where the Exhibit Hall will be located on the Alamo grounds. Rendering by Gensler | GRG. (Courtesy)
One of the changes in the new Alamo Plan is the lack of any railings that might hinder foot traffic through the plaza. The surface level will not be lowered either, meaning parades will still be able to pass through, too.
The new lease with the GLO is broken into two parcels. Parcel A (blue) has already been leased to the state, but Parcel B (green) will only be ceded once a museum plan is finalized, and its funding secured. There's a Jan. 1, 2026 deadline to get that done.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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