Visionary, “green,” award-winning land development projects created by Chris Mulder, an Outstanding Alumnus of the Texas A&M College of Architecture, and colleagues at his South Africa-based firm, CMAI Architects, were featured Feb. 9, 2018 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the university’s College Station campus.
Mulder, CMAI’s chairman and CEO, and firm designers and project planners spoke at the Third Annual Aggie Leadership in Community Development Conference, hosted by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.
“The CMAI team presented critical aspects of project achievement and leadership,” said Geoffrey Booth, the conference’s organizer and an associate professor who heads classes in the Texas A&M Master of Land and Property Development program.
Mulder’s firm has won multiple international property development awards for its Thesen Islands project, a residential marina consisting of 19 man-made islands linked by 21 arched bridges that span marina waterways.
“At Thesen Islands, Mulder created new, advanced standards and measurements for development,” said Donald Austin, professor emeritus of the Texas A&M College of Architecture. “Government entities have used his vision as guides for their review of new developments.”
Mulder’s firm also created Crossways Farm Village, a first-of-its-kind project in South Africa, a 1,400-acre residential development located on a dairy farm on the coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
CMAI Architects was also recently chosen to design and manage the construction of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library. Mbeki served as South Africa’s president from 1999-2008.
Mulder’s firm creates “green” designs, master plans, and performs project coordination and management for residential, commercial and educational clients.
“It is important for our firm’s members to blend our creative, technical and management skills with a professional ethic that shapes a sustainable future for both people and the environment,” said Mulder, who earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Design at Texas A&M in 1980 and was honored as a Texas A&M Outstanding International Alumnus by The Association of Former Students in 2011.
“It all boils down to how we, in Africa, can create opportunities for social uplift and nurture economic growth without undermining our land’s natural resource base and environmental integrity,” he said.
Following the CMAI presentations, former Master of Land and Property Development students who interned at CMAI and then became land development professionals discussed what they learned during their internships and how it influenced their careers.
Previous conferences featured presentations by two Houston-based real estate investment, development and management firms: Midway Companies, led by CEO Jonathan Brinsden, who earned a Master of Science in Land Development degree in 1994, and Caldwell Companies.