Texas Architects Board Responds to AIA Restructuring

As our members may know from a previous blog entry by John Nyfeler, FAIA, the AIA Board is considering a change in its structure. The AIA governance proposal may be found here. While board structure may not be a “hot” topic among AIA members, it is the mechanism that allows member voices to be transmitted to the AIA Board of Directors. How well that works — or doesn’t work — should be of high interest to AIA members and was for the most recent meeting of the Texas Architects Board of Directors.  After considerable discussion, the Texas Architects board unanimously approved the following…

Completing the Circle

When it opened in the fall of 1950, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School looked like a wilderness outpost. The campus lay eight miles west of Austin, on an oak-covered ridge overlooking the unspoiled Hill Country. At that time, only five buildings were complete and the roads were unpaved. In this raw landscape, Rev. William Brewster established a groundbreaking new school — one that would become the first co-ed Episcopal school in the United States and the first racially integrated boarding school in the South. The progressive nature of the school began with its architecture: Brewster and St. Stephen’s co-founder Bishop John…

Talking Shop with Four Under 40

Today, the never-ending advent of technological innovations makes entrepreneurship and leadership more accessible. Cloud computing, total connectivity, and unknowable amounts of information are available at the swipe of a little glass screen, anytime, anywhere. Even as we do more with finite time and resources, the scope and potential of the work continues to broaden. These four young professionals demonstrate that starting your own firm is not always a singular path and that community leadership can go hand in hand with one’s practice.  Brantley Hightower, AIA, spent much of his early career asking the question, How is architecture relevant? The founder…

On the Proposed Reorganization of the AIA Board

Members may have seen John Nyfeler’s post on the Texas Architects blog about “Repositioning the Institute: What It Means to the Texas Society of Architects.”  First, I fully support the concept of repositioning the AIA. However there is an issue that deserves more specific attention, and that is the restructuring of the AIA Board of Directors. I do not support the current proposed redesign of our governance model. I urge all members to look closely and with a critical eye at the proposed governance model. As all architects know, good or bad is contained within the details of a given design. Many…

Streamlining the Path to Licensure

Each year, the leaders of the Texas Society of Architects (president, president-elect, EVP, and AIA board representatives) meet with colleagues from other AIA “large states.” This group includes California, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, and Michigan. At the 2012 meeting, the licensure process for architectural registration was a primary topic. Out of that discussion, Texas leaders agreed to convene a committee to examine the licensure process and bring recommendations back to the Large States Roundtable in 2013.  The Path to Architectural Licensure is the result of that effort. This document reviews changes in the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and Intern Development Program…

Texas Architects’ IgCC Roadmap

According to the EPA, buildings account for 36 percent of total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption. Much of Texas is in drought conditions, with many portions of our state in severe distress. As our society, government, and culture wrestle with the economics, politics, and ethics of these challenges, it becomes increasingly imperative that our buildings be designed and constructed to use fewer resources. As the responsible representative of architects in Texas, the Texas Society of Architects has long been a supporter of sustainable standards for buildings, including ongoing programs of advocacy and education for our own members,…

Giesecke and Vosper at Texas A&M

In the midst of the Great Depression, two architects transformed the campus of Texas A&M University with 10 new buildings in just five years. The resulting architectural legacy has received less attention than it deserves, particularly in comparison to the acclaimed campus of the school’s rival, The University of Texas at Austin. The two universities were in fact founded together. In 1839, plans for a state university were originated by the Republic of Texas, but it was not until 1876 that land grants and an endowment finally facilitated the official opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in…

Repositioning the Institute: What It Means to the Texas Society of Architects

As you know, for about a year, your AIA has been on a course to renew the AIA as a more valued and relevant organization at all levels of the professional society. Working with skilled consultants and listening to over 31,000 individual interviews, with major input from members like you and others with relationships with AIA, your board agreed in September of 2013 to take steps to: Elevate public awareness of the value of architecture and of the AIA, Advocate for the profession in the public and private sectors, and; Enhance the sharing of knowledge and expertise to the benefit of all AIA members.…

Media and Technology in Architecture | Flipboard Aggregator App

I am a recent convert to Flipboard, owing the insight to having been assigned this review. Up to now, I have been solely following Zite, an earlier entry into the field of aggregators, or sites that re-publish articles in a single format from various sources, like magazines, newspapers, websites, and blogs. In this day of exponentially increasing content, it’s useful, even necessary, to have a single place to go to for news on favorite subjects. Flipboard is, hands down, the more visual of the two apps. The photos are bigger and look great on an iPad:  On Zite, photos are smaller, so more…

San Antonio’s Lavaca District: Historic Homes

By Rita Heck In the early 18th century, San Antonio's Lavaca neighborhood was part of Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) farms watered by a Spanish-built irrigation ditch. Lavaca evolved in the middle of that century when Thomas J. Devine and Sam Maverick purchased a large tract, subdivided it, and sold it in lots for housing and retail. Bounded by César E. Chávez Blvd. to the north, South St. Mary's Street on the west, IH-37 to the east, and the Missouri-Kansas Railroad Line on the south, the area attracted mostly German craftsmen and food vendors who built caliche block cottages, Victorian cottages…