the pursuit of happiness

We believe well designed public spaces are a catalyst for successful societies

At Able City, our goal is to advance society through architecture, urban planning, and civic engagement that educates, inspires, and empowers citizens into becoming city makers.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Our Story

Able City is a combination of two South-Texas based firms with over 68 years of combined experience. We have come together around the mission to make a greater impact on society and on future generations. After transforming the South Texas region for over forty years and collaborating for over 10 years, Frank Architects and Hickey Peña joined forces to maximize talent, expertise, and resources. Together, our goal is to help develop equitable, sustainable, walkable, remarkable places.


From the heart of downtown in both San Antonio and Laredo, TX we seek out program and design solutions that promote sustainability, community, and long-term value. From building walkable neighborhoods to engaging with local governments, we are committed to doing everything it takes to improve the quality of life for citizens through architecture, urban planning, and civic engagement.

Our Mission

The success of cities can be attributed to the power of proximity and collaboration. Civilizations thrive when people work closely together and know how to steer their collective destinies toward common goals.

The most pressing concerns humanity faces today are central to Able City’s mission:

  1. Designing buildings that enrich the urban fabric, are sensitive to the human scale, and create a sense of place, pride, and safety in our communities.
  2. Retrofitting and reshaping auto-centric development patterns that have led to sprawl which threaten our environment and fracture community.
  3. Beyond architecture and planning, we organize community efforts, lead data collection and research efforts, write public policies, and assist the engagement with local governments.

Our Services

community reuse/retrofit

mobility connectivity

historic preservation


urban master planning

feasibility studies

community charrettes

legal policy writing



Reuse / Retrofit

Reuse / Retrofit

Mobility Studies & Strategies

Mobility Studies & Strategies

Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation

Urban Planning

Urban Planning

Feasibility Studies

Feasibility Studies

Community Engagements

Community Engagements

Policy Writing

Policy Writing

Our Team

Become a City Maker

The goal of City Makery is to make city makers.


City Makery is Able City’s non-profit affiliate. The core expertise of City Makery is to help communities develop quality of life through their citizens, from their interests and desires for a more diverse, equitable, accessible, livable, and sustainable city. Through the process of implementation, they learn how to transmute a desire for a better city, through the powers of local government, and become city makers.  


City Makery is the solution builder and facilitator in the development and implementation of quality of life issues that citizens bring to fruition in an expedient and inclusive way. It helps citizens define the Quality of Life issues most important to them. Through a methodical path of discovery, we help them discover a community of like-minded individuals and to coalesce in the desire to see what they want and need in their city for a better quality of life. The organization works with city governments, and other public entities to help define and implement the goals their citizen advocates have defined for their city. By working directly with advocates, we help them to both determine solutions and define and implement policy and programs within the inherent powers of the city.

Our Awards

Lower Rio Grande Valley American Institute of Architects

LISD Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts
Outstanding Architecture Design and Achievement

Lower Rio Grande Valley American Institute of Architects

Viviana Frank, AIA
LRGV-AIA Zebby Citation of Honor Award

ABC-San Antonio Chapter

TAMIU Student Center Expansion Building, Laredo, TX
Excellence in Construction and Design Award

Imaginarium of South Texas

Frank Architects Inc.
The Imagine Award

American Institute of Architects LRGV

Children’s Advocacy Center, Laredo, TX
Outstanding Architecture Design and Achievement

Green Dot International Design Competition

James & Maria Haynes Health & Wellness Center, Laredo, TX
Excellence in Green Building Design Award

Texas Historical Commission

Dimmit County Courthouse, Carrizo Springs, TX
THC Annual Award of Excellence in Historic Architecture

Austin Business Journal

Grove Place Apartment Complex, Austin, TX
Community Impact Award

Texas Construction Magazine

Entertainment Center, Laredo, TX
Best of 2003 Award
(FAI was the associate/ design architect to LAN, Inc.)

Texas Association of School Boards TASB/TASA Awards

United ISD Borchers Elementary School, Laredo, TX
Awards(s): Value, Design, Educational Appropriateness

National Trust for Historic Preservation Award

Hamilton Hotel, Laredo, TX
Excellence in Historical Preservation, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award.

Webb County Heritage Foundation Award

Federal Probation Offices, Laredo, TX
Historical Preservation Award

Webb County Heritage Foundation Award

WBCA (Washington Birthday’s Celebration Association) Museum, Laredo, TX
Design Excellence in Contemporary Architecture

See Our Work

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