Recollection: Frank Welch, FAIA

By the time I graduated from high school, I had begun to think about becoming an architect. I was visual, very influenced by movies and Life magazine. I liked to draw, but I was afraid of the technical courses that were required, the math and physics. There was no question but that I would go to Texas A&M, which was known as “the poor boys’ school.” I enrolled in the summer of 1944 as a liberal arts major and roomed with Paul Ellis, a good friend from Sherman who wanted to be a doctor. I managed to flunk algebra, and,…

Raven Lake Ranch

Eileen Bennett was leaning toward Arts and Crafts but her architect encouraged her to “come to the dark side.” Modern was a better choice, he insisted, for the splendid acreage she and her husband, local attorney Martin Bennett, had purchased just south of Athens in northeast Texas. Warming to the idea, she asked Michael Malone, AIA, to design a sprawling 2,700-sf house she describes as “modern ranch,” the centerpiece of the couple’s 100-acre Raven Lake Ranch. Both architect and client realized that the house would be very different from anything else around town, a place permeated with a suburbanesque cookie-cutter…

Blake Alexander (1924 – 2011)

Alexander’s vast personal collection of materials produced by the offices of important Texas architects, along with his many photographic slides of significant works of architecture from around the world, became the basis of the university’s architectural archives, which was named in his honor. His collection expanded over the years, eventually outgrowing his office. The materials were then moved to a small storage room, otherwise known as “Alexander’s closet.” Today, the Alexander Architectural Archive is the largest such resource in Texas – containing over 250,000 drawings and over 900 linear feet of papers, photographic material, models, and ephemera – representing thousands…

Jeff Potter, FAIA, Inaugurated 2012 AIA President

AIArchitect Dec. 16, 2011 The Library of Congress was the inspirational backdrop for this year’s inaugural ceremonies. Here are excerpts from Jeff Potter’s speech: The Library of Congress is a testament not only to the science and the arts, but to the acceptance that inquiry and aesthetics are the foundation of culture; of a free and advancing society. Architecture is unique because it lies at the intersection of science and art. And, the spirit of Washington, DC, as conceived by the architect/statesman, Thomas Jefferson, whose books formed the nucleus of this library and after whom this building is named, is…

Projects Needed: Weather Channel Docu-series “Built to Last”

The shoots themselves would last about a day, or a day and a half during which a small film crew would film all aspects of the home, as well as speaking with the homeowners and/or architects, contractors, engineers, and anyone else involved in the project. This series will showcase the ingenuity and importance of protecting one’s home from natural disasters, and the crucial role of the architect in that pursuit. If you have completed examples, please send a brief description to Scott Frank in AIA Media Relations at sfrank@aia.org.

Texas Architects Partners with aecKnowledge

aecKnowledge has developed its curriculum in partnership with the American Institute of Architects and USGBC chapters across the country and offers courses that are AIA CES or GBCI approved, with many offering valuable SD/HSW learning units. In addition to continuing education courses, aecKnowledge features over 50 free “kTalks”—6 – 10 minute distilled videos to inspire design professionals and provide knowledge critical to their practices. Texas Architects will update its Continuing Education webpage as new content is added but encourages you to register with aecKnowledge today.

Design Waller Creek: A Competition

Waller Creek is a thin, urban riparian ecosystem that meanders for seven miles from the northern part of the city southward through The University of Texas at Austin campus and along the eastern edge of the downtown area before it meets Lady Bird Lake, which is, itself, part of the Colorado River. The Conservancy cares deeply about the entire creek and its 3,700 acre watershed but is focusing its efforts on the lower 1.5 miles. Over the years, this 15 block stretch has suffered from erosion, invasive species, and pollution. Today it is largely hidden by partial channelization and disengaged…

Videos Highlight Diversity of State’s Award-Winning Architecture

On May 20, Texas Architects Design Awards jurors — David Salmela, FAIA, of Duluth, Minn.; Steve Dumez, FAIA, of New Orleans; and James Russell, FAIA, of New York — met at the Society’s headquarters in Austin. They spent nine hours reviewing 257 entries before selecting 12 projects for Design Awards. Several times the jury expressed difficulty in choosing the winners—a confirmation of the elevated level at which architecture is practiced in Texas. The videos in the gallery above premiered at an awards ceremony on October 28 during the Texas Society of Architects 72nd Annual Convention in Dallas. Each project also…

What Makes a Building an Icon?

What makes a building an icon? One characteristic is distinct contrast with its context, in form and/or exterior material, that draws attention to the building and away from its surroundings. Iu + Bibliowicz Architects’ Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City is iconic by virtue of its the six-story articulated glass-clad rehearsal spaces that turn the corner of 55th Street and Eighth Avenue. It stands in stark contrast to the red brick buildings that comprise that Midtown Manhattan neighborhood. Another way a building can be considered an icon is through an exceptional reconsideration of program and internal organization.…

Brochstein Pavilion and Asia Society, Highlights of Houston Visit

by Tyler Rudick CultureMap Houston Nov.16, 2011 For more than 30 years, architecture critic Paul Goldberger has made a successful run of casting public judgment on some of society’s most complicated and expensive building ventures from his desk at both The New York Times and The New Yorker, even earning a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. In a recent talk at the University of Houston’s College of Architecture, Goldberger lectured on the social and cultural value of architectural criticism, an interesting topic in light of the downed economy and slumbering construction industry. Although taken almost verbatim from a 2003 speech posted…