Texas Architects at 500 Chicon

FD2S Offices

We’ve taken leaps of faith with buildings before. There was the dilapidated former dentist office-turned-“beauty shop” on Nueces Street in Austin that, once stripped of its sinks, toilets, and maze-like infrastructure, became a very functional studio and office setting that exuded a satisfying Modernist sensibility and restraint. There, an all-important single gesture – capturing the former lobby space by sealing off the main (west) entry and reorienting the building toward the north – was the breakthrough concept that led to a successful spatial reconfiguration. Similarly, it was a strong initial impulse of our architect for 500 Chicon that informed the…

Reinvigorated for Design

The Austin offices of the graphic design firm FD2S are a study in juxtaposition—raw against refined, openness versus enclosure, monochromatic tones highlighted by saturated color. The offices, housed in a converted 1920s oil storage warehouse in east Austin, were designed by Stern and Bucek Architects of Houston. Both architect and client (FD2S partner Larry Paul Fuller is a former editor of Texas Architect and partner Herman Dyal is an architect) wanted to respect the integrity of the building while inserting the modern amenities the firm needed. A tight budget meant that every dollar had to count. Fortunately, the building fabric…

Design Conference: Architecture in the Hinterlands

For its first Design Conference, set to take place Feb. 17-18, 2012 in Midland, the Design Committee will explore the theme of “Architecture in the Hinterlands” with a focus on how significant design work is created and nurtured in regions far removed from major urban centers. Attendance is limited. To register, download the PDF below and send the completed form with method of payment to the Texas Architects’ office. The cost is $515 per person (includes meals and all other conference events). Hotel accommodations are not included, however, the form provides contact information for the Hilton Midland Plaza where a…

Brown Residence: 2011 Design Award Winner

The Phoenix area is rich in the tradition of masterful architects weaving eloquent designs into the powerful desert landscape. Wright, Soleri, and others have produced spirited designs, engaging their buildings in a dialogue with their austere settings. More recently, the Brown Residence by Lake/Flato Architects follows that same time-honored tradition. Indeed, when asked about the “story” behind its design, Ted Flato, FAIA, replied, “It was about making the house and the desert work together.” The site for the 3,600-sf residence is a long, narrow lot shoehorned between two existing houses within a large golf course-oriented development in Scottsdale. Although the…

The “New” Arthouse

“Color-coded history” is how architect Paul Lewis of New York-based architecture firm Lewis.Tsurmaki.Lewis describes the red, green, and yellow trusses of the second-floor gallery’s exposed ceiling in the recently renovated Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin). Walking through the gallery, Lewis indicates the that the red steel is from the original 1920s Queen Theater, the yellow from a 1950s Lerner Shops department store, and the green from the 2010 renovation, which sought to reinforce the structure. Layers of history define the project, which is a collaboration between the architects and Arthouse’s Building Committee and staff. In fact, the architects were…

Office Closed as Society Convenes in Dallas for 72nd Convention

Visit the convention page to register for this event. Over 50 Continuing Education sessions, 12 tours, several awards ceremonies, and a two-day Design Products and Ideas Expo are hallmarks of this year’s Texas Architects convention in Dallas, Oct. 27-29. During the second General Session (Fri., Oct. 28; 3:30 p.m.), President Dan Hart will formally announce the Society’s newly redesigned website and refreshed brand, which uphold Texas Architects’ mission to be the voice for Texas architecture, supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, sustainable environments. Online registration for the convention is open through Oct. 19. After that date, you may register onsite.

Interpretive Center Invites Visitors to Learn about Natural World

Eight miles southeast of downtown Dallas is the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban bottomland hardwood forest in North America. Its 6,000 acres support a widely diverse community of plants and animals that thrive in this unique ecosystem where timberland, wetlands, and prairie converge. The Great Trinity Forest is nourished by the Trinity River that for decades was written off as irreversibly spoiled by industrial pollution and runoff made toxic by pesticides and herbicides. However, in 1998, Dallas voters approved the first public funds to create the Trinity River Corridor, a complex urban development that will transform a 20-mile stretch…

Bastrop Park’s CCC Cabins Survive Wildfire

Despite the devastation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have set Dec. 1 as the target date for reopening the park to campers. In October, repairs were already underway on facilities affected by the fires. The historic stone-and-wood structures, mostly cabins and a lodge, were erected by Civilian Conservation Corps teams during the Great Depression. All told, more than 34,000 acres in Bastrop County were engulfed by wildfires that began on Sept. 4. Authorities traced the cause to gusting winds that toppled trees – already severely weakened from the extended drought – onto electrical power lines. Due to extremely dry…

Juror Shares Perspective on Rio 2016 Olympic Park Competition

On August 19, 2011, British firm AECOM, a London-based building design and management company, was announced as the winner of the Rio 2016 Olympic Park Competition. Texas Society of Architects Board member Gabriel Durand-Hollis, FAIA, served as the sole U.S. juror on a panel of seven. In briefly recounting the experience, he highlights the fact that design is more than just a “pretty master plan.” “Beyond the names and titles, the jurors had Olympic planning or venue experience from Barcelona, Athens, Sydney, and Beijing. In addition, there were people working on the Rio World Cup preparations for 2014. There were…