Lavaca Eclectic: Two Cases of a Contemporary Vernacular

By Phil Zimmerman, Assoc. AIA Cool alleys and shaded side streets weave through a patchwork of bright, turn-of-the-century revivals and bungalows. Agave and prickly pear push from every weathered crack; oak and palm peek around every peeling fence and caliche stone carriage house. The rich character of the Lavaca neighborhood south of downtown San Antonio has been steeping for well over a century. It quietly boasts some of the city's most historic structures: properties unassuming in scale and composed of a dense massing that often creates tucked-away courtyards and hidden gardens. The roots of the community reach back to its…

Architects Talking to Architects: Helen Pierce, AIA

Helen Pierce, AIA, is an architect at Alamo Architects, a multidisciplinary firm based in San Antonio that specializes in institutional, educational, multifamily, and retail architecture, as well as urban planning.   Helen Pierce, AIA – photo courtsey Helen Pierce Where did you grow up? I grew up in Middletown, Delaware. It's a tiny farm town on the Delmarva Peninsula midway between the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River and surrounded by potato, corn, and bean fields. I was born on a farm but grew up in town. We lived in a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail order home, built in 1910, and we were pretty…

Architects Talking to Architects: Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA

Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA, is an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA – photo by Whit Preston Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Galveston. I loved growing up on an island, especially one with so much history. The historic architecture engrained an appreciation for permanence from things that are well designed and made. At the same time, all the hurricanes and storms I experienced first-hand taught me how unstable anything can be in the face of the natural environment. If you were had not studied architecture, what…

Animal House: Thoughts on Cross-Species Design Collaborations

Dog-houses and bird-houses have always made me somewhat uneasy. They are strange products and additionally strange terms. What does "house" mean to a bird or a dog? Moreover, what business do we have building homes for another species? What determines the correct design parameters for another animal — i.e. if you could interview a canine or avian client, what would they require in their so-called house? More light? A better view? Perhaps, like most humans in America, they mainly want more closet space. Of course, there are some specific design criteria that will determine the success and failure of an animal habitat…

Licensed Architect Fingerprinting to be Available at the 2013 Convention

The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) will require all Active-status registration renewals or new applications for registration to be fingerprinted, beginning with renewals or applications submitted on or after January 1, 2014. TBAE has a FAQ about the new rule here, and the Texas Society of Architect's position on this can be found in this blog article. More information and detailed instructions are coming soon from TBAE, and they will be updated on this page.   As architects prepare to join the many professions that already require fingerprinting as a condition of licensure — medicine, law, and engineering among them — we've worked with TBAE to…

Advocacy News: AIA Announces 2014 Call for Issues Survey

Dear Texas Society of Architects Members: Last January the AIA announced its legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, Let’s Get America Building. Working together, we are making the case in Washington for policies that empower architects to design better buildings and communities. But our agenda doesn’t spring from Washington; it comes from the AIA members like you and me. Your opinion is crucial to formulating this agenda, which is why I am asking you to join me in taking the 2014 Call for Issues survey. Your feedback helps the AIA understand how decisions made by Congress and the White House…

Architizer’s 2nd Annual A+ Awards: Call for Entries

The A+ Awards give Texas architects a unique opportunity to be seen and recognized on a global scale. With more than 1,500 entries from 100+ countries, the A+ Awards represents the world’s biggest architecture awards program. Architizer has teamed up with partners the Wall Street Journal and the Webbys to help break architecture out of the echo chamber, reaching an audience of 80 million, including 200,000 public votes. Last year’s winners were celebrated at a gala event in New York City, with an afterparty at The Standard. Guests included such luminaries as President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, fashion designer Thom…

Media and Technology in Architecture | Media Consumption: How to Get Your Fill

In today’s media driven age, we are bombarded with options for how to consume information. We can access websites on our computers, watch streaming videos on smart phones, and pull up books or magazines on our tablets with a simple touch of a button. For architects, there is an endless supply of expert knowledge and inspiration images available to us across the web. Finding the best way to organize and consume this content can be overwhelming — and it may be a deterrent to having the best information at your fingertips. This overview will outline some of the content types and how…

Media and Technology in Architecture | Sourcing New Materials

As professionals responsible for the health, safety and welfare of our clients and the general public, we must carefully evaluate the materials and products that go into the buildings we design. The task of sourcing and selecting new materials for a project requires a significant investment of time, effort, and ultimately, money.  Associate Professor Donna Kacmar, founder and director of the Materials Research Collaborative at the University of Houston, understands this plight well. “It takes time to actually find new materials," says Kacmar. "And then, once you find something interesting, you need to know about its warranty, how is it installed, etc.…

2013 Design Expo: Exhibitor Information

DESIGN EXPO SCHEDULE Texas Society of Architects 74th Annual Convention and Design Expo November 7-8, 2013 Fort Worth Convention Center – Exhibit Halls A&B Exhibitor Move-In Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Thursday, November 07, 2013, 8:00 am – 2:30 pm Expo Exhibit Hours Thursday, November 07, 2013, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Exhibit Hall Opens and a Texas-sized Happy Hour)   Friday, November 08, 2013, 11:00 am – 5:30 pm (Lunch in Expo Hall, Continuing Education sessions and Ice Cream Breaks on the show floor) Exhibitor Move-Out Friday, November 08, 2013, 5:45 pm – 10:00 pm   EXHIBITOR OPPORTUNITIES…