Advocacy Update: The New World of Texas Politics — What It Means for You

About a week after the March 4th primary election, I addressed AIA Dallas’ Emerging Professionals leadership class where I asked them how many had voted. Of the 30 people in the room, only two hands went up — and one of those was mine! That’s about a 6.6% participation rate — abysmal, though unfortunately not that far off the statewide percentage. To make matters worse, three Dallas-area legislators — all genuine supporters of the profession with numerous architect friends and truly qualified, intelligent solons — lost their races by a margin of less than 1%. As if it isn’t obvious already, the…

Beyond the Boardroom: Three Days in D.C. at AIA Grassroots

I always enjoy going to Washington, D.C., and attending AIA Grassroots last week was no exception. Spending days in hotel ballrooms is not my favorite part of any conference, but Grassroots is all about reaching out to our elected officials concerning issues that are important to architects — so we headed for the Hill.  2014 Texas Architects President, Val Glitsch, FAIA, and President-elect Michael Malone, AIA, in Washington D.C. for AIA Grassroots. – Photo courtesy Michael Malone, AIA Texas Architects leadership called on the offices of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Members of their staffs listened attentively to us as we…

Architects Talking to Architects: John Gates, AIA, of McAllen

John Gates, AIA, is a principal at Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects in McAllen. In 2008, he was named a Citizen Architect by the American Institute of Architects for his seven years of public service to the City of McAllen’s Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals.  John Gates, AIA – courtesy Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects Where did you grow up? I grew up in Missouri. I lived near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in a town about 30 miles north of St. Louis called Florissant. After high school graduation, I moved to Lawrence, Kansas, to attend the University of Kansas. After college…

500 Chicon: Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, Talks Convention Futures

By Charlotte Friedley Last month, the TxA Convention Futures Committee gathered at 500 Chicon, where I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, a new member of the committee. Danze took some time to talk with me and shared her enthusiasm for the work the team is doing. The Convention Futures Committee is responsible for helping to plan, not the current year’s convention, but ones in the years to come. Currently, Danze and the other committee members are focused on our 2015 Convention, which will take place in Dallas. Danze says that what originally drew her to this particular…

Austin 1964! Preservation Austin Homes Tour

Preservation Austin’s throwback to the mid-1960s looks at a few prominent homes built by the heavy-hitting firms in town including the house Arthur Feher, principal of Fehr & Granger, designed for himself. Harwell Hamilton Harris’ Cranfill-Beacham Apartments on Cliff Street will also be featured. See the gallery above for other properties on the tour. The 22nd annual spring tour will occur on Saturday, April 5, 2014
, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
 That same day, tour participants can also attend "The Principles of Mid-Century Modern Architecture," a short, informal lecture by Steve Sadowsky, who will speak at 3607 Balcones at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and…

Threading a Garden Hose

Texas Architect contributor Rachel Adams’ recent collaboration with artist Justin Cooper redefines a simple green garden hose as a sculpted object woven through a home and yard. The installation at Austin’s testsite gallery is on view through March 30. Cooper is known for transforming mundane, everyday objects into art installations, utilizing PVC piping, wheelbarrows, plastic hula leis, and the ever-present, green garden hose in his artistic practice. At testsite, Cooper’s immersive sculpture snakes through the domestic setting of the ground floor. Cooper explains, “There is a wobbling between the objects being what they are — hoses, in this case —…

Beyond the Boardroom: Looking Ahead in 2014

Texas Architects board members and leadership are staying up-to-date on developments with AIA, especially those related to changes in board restructuring. While it’s not a hot topic for most AIA members, how and by whom the Institute is to be governed into the future is an issue that will determine how effective the Institute becomes, and how effectively it represents its membership. TxA leaders have strong concerns about how local, state, and regional chapters will interact with the reorganized AIA board being proposed.  Change continues to be order of the day on many levels. The task of the Society is to…

Capturing the Alamo: A Database of Architectural History

Memorable first as the 18th century Mission San Antonio de Valero and later as the military compound that witnessed the historic Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the Alamo has changed form and use throughout its history. Created as an eminent specimen of New World Spanish ecclesiastic architecture, the mission's expanding complex of stone, mud, and wooden structures evolved greatly over time, serving as a military garrison and barracks, a hospital, a general store, and intermittent abandoned ruin.  Each successive shift in the Alamo’s use has been accompanied by various modifications to its buildings, ranging from whole additions to the eventual integration of HVAC…

Louis Kahn Plays the Organ

On January 12, 1970, Louis Kahn was the guest of honor at the First Annual Le Corbusier Lecture Series at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. The lecture committee, Professor Dick Oliver and I, hatched up the idea of calling it a “Le Corbusier” series, thinking it might make it easier to get big names to come to Austin. It worked when we called Louis Kahn’s office in Philadelphia. The person on the other end of the phone said that Kahn loved Le Corbusier — he had in fact visited him in Paris in 1928 — and…

Material Dance

In the scrubby, rolling landscape of the Texas Hill Country, along Highway 41 in Kerr and Real counties, lies a small strip of land known as The Divide. Here, on the Edwards Plateau, the watershed drains north to the Llano River, east to the Frio River, and west to the Nueces River. In the 1880s, settlers staked their claims on this land, and once windmills and barbed wire arrived, the region became home to cattle ranches and other agricultural enterprises long the lore of Texas history. The Dietert Ranch is among the handful of large, successful family ranches that were…