The Legacy Lives On: Gignac Architects - The Bend Magazine

The Legacy Lives On: Gignac Architects

The Gignac family is shaping the Coastal Bend and beyond through architecture and design

Photography by Lillian Reitz

Gignac Architects is an architectural, interior and landscape design organization that has been proudly serving South Texas since Raymond Gignac opened it in 1988. Over the three decades, the firm has built more than 500 projects, including  educational, institutional, municipal and commercial buildings. It has offices in Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley and Dallas.

Raymond, who is the organization’s Principal-in-Charge, has decades of experience from across the nation in all aspects of architectural practice. He was born in Honduras and throughout his life has lived in Cuba, New York, Washington and the Rio Grande Valley. After graduation, he had the opportunity to move to Austin or Dallas, but his love of the coast took him south. “I wanted to be near the water, so I moved to Corpus Christi,” he said. Even when his job at the time required him to move, he decided to come back. “I really wanted to come back to Texas and more importantly, back to Corpus Christi.”

Gignac choosing to be in Corpus Christi was a decision that influenced the development of the city, such as how they went on to create multiple city schools. “We’ve been fortunate over the years to have done some pretty large projects in Corpus Christi and South Texas. We’ve also done work nationwide, such as federal government projects in San Diego, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.”

Raymond’s son, Nick Gignac, grew up around the company — some of his early memories are of playing and spending time at the office. It’s also where his love for architecture began. “I grew up with an interest in buildings,” recalls Nick, Architectural Associate of Gignac Associates. He went on to study construction science at Texas A&M and after graduation, joined Gignac Architecture. 

The Gignacs are passionate about each of the projects they work on, from complex additions and renovations to building structures from the ground up. “We work on multiple projects every day,” said Raymond. “But in some cases, we have clients that may only do one or two projects in their lifetime, and the fact that they trusted us to handle it makes us feel honored.” 

Working in Corpus Christi gives Nick the opportunity to be on both sides of the action. “The economic development is rapid in Corpus Christi,” he said. “One of the benefits of working here is that you get to be involved with all sides of the work. In a different city, I would probably be primarily working at a drafting table and watching other architects do some work that I also enjoy doing. But here, I get to be part of all of the action.”

No matter how many years they have been in the business, both father and son are still struck with emotion when they pass a building their organization created. 

“When I see a Gignac building, I feel proud. And I also think back on the evolution of that building’s design. Maybe it was an idea that was sketched on a business card, or maybe it was the second or third concept,” said Raymond. 

Something else that Raymond often reflects on is how much he values being able to work with his family. “It’s really special to be able to work with my son. And now my daughter-in-law, Sophia, who helps with projects administratively, as well as with presentations and design.”

Looking ahead, the Gignacs want to continue to do what they love doing in Corpus Christi. As Nick said, “With the growth and the big things happening in Corpus Christi, I think our future looks like continuing to produce more work in and around Corpus Christi and continuing to serve our clients.”