Subtle Layers

Once Rick and Cynthia Torcasso found this property and made the commitment to move from Dallas to Santa Fe, they went scouting for an architect who shared their interest in fitting a house into the dominant landscape. Conversations with Lawrence Speck, FAIA, principal at Page (formerly PageSoutherlandPage), convinced them that they had found a kindred soul. The ensuing design and construction process is a saga of high collaboration between owner, designers, craftsmen, and artist driven by the goal of producing a refined dwelling that both blends with its setting and allows its inhabitants to fully experience the ever-changing panorama of sky, mountain,…

Invisible Aquatics

The Cascading Creek House sits at the end of a cul-de-sac with its eponymous waterway beyond. Standing at the top of the sloped site, Thomas Bercy of Bercy Chen Studio explained that because of its steep topography, the triangular property receives a great deal of runoff. This water is channeled through large drains in the curvy driveway and along a rocky passage on the north side of the house. Even in its site strategy, the project uses water management to explore the relationship between tech-nology and architecture.  The house, opening to the south, consists of two bars set at an angle to each other…

The Boatmakers’ Craft

Port Townsend, Wash., is about as far from Dallas as you can get in the U.S., both literally and figuratively. With a population of around 9,000, the city is located at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, about 40 miles northwest of Seattle. It’s surrounded by water on three sides and is known for its Victorian buildings, boat-building industry, and vibrant arts scene. It seems an unlikely place for a Texas couple and their Texan architect-of-choice to end up building a house, but that’s exactly what happened when Dallas-based Sally Warren and Jeff Jackson fell in love with Port…

Methods to TBAE Success: Part II

By Matthew C. Ryan The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) is tasked with a broad mandate to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. Almost all architects have their first encounter with the board in its role as a gatekeeper, governing the examination and registration process, and thwarting unlicensed practice. But the TBAE’s other main role is the investigation of alleged professional misconduct — this is the type of scrutiny that no architect wants to face. Whether a case involves claims of dishonesty, negligence, criminal convictions, or otherwise, the careful handling of your projects and clients can help serve as the…

TxA Emerging Design + Technology: Call for Papers Deadline Extended to July 15

UPDATE: Authors of selected papers for the 2014 TxA Emerging Design and Technology will be notified on the week of August 18.   The TxA Emerging Design + Technology conference brings experimental research and exploration among academics and practitioners to a broad audience of designers, practicing architects, construction industry executives, building products manufacturers, students, and other researchers. It takes advantage of the collection of over 3,500 representatives of these fields at the Texas Society of Architects Convention and Design Expo to create a forum for sharing new ideas being formulated in schools of architecture and elsewhere. Selected academics and researchers will have…

Renovating for Play

In 1985, Houston’s Collier Library opened its doors for the first time to its Oak Forest patrons. When the building at 6200 Pinemont Drive once again opened its doors in 2011, the library had undergone a full interior renovation by the local firm Brave Architecture. The Collier Library is the third in a series of joint-venture renovations by Brave and the Houston Public Library that are creating a standard for future rehabilitations of libraries throughout the city. The 12,000-sf renovation was prompted by an outdated aesthetic and lack of overall functionality. Working within the existing footprint, Brave executed minimal, judicious interventions…

After the Rain

As one travels south on Business 83, the old Texas highway bends toward the east and parallels the Rio Grande River. In the 1930s, this section of 83 ran through the downtown areas of the major cities from Laredo to Brownsville and was known as “America’s longest Main Street.” During the postwar period, however, commerce in the Lower Rio Grande Valley shifted away from its agrarian roots, and Expressway 83 was built to the north, circumventing the towns. Highway 83 became Business 83, leaving the downtowns and their connecting corridor to fend for themselves as economic activity slowed, with traffic…

2014 Keynote Speaker: Alex Steffen, IDEO

Steffen is the thinking person's optimist. He has been named to numerous lists of leading innovators and has served as an adviser to more than 100 NGOs and businesses, exploring "bright green" strategies to help them thrive in a complex and turbulent future. "The really shocking truth for most of us isn't how bad things are," says Steffen, "it's how good things can get."

Architects Talking to Architects: Jamie Crawley, AIA

Jamie Crawley, AIA, leads the emerging studio HA Architecture in Austin. Crawley has been recently appointed as the Young Architect Regional Director for Texas. Crawley is pictured here with his dog, Zaha, and his Barkitecture dog house submission, Rib House. –photo courtesy Jamie Crawley Where did you grow up? I was born in Montreal, Quebec, but having lived here longer than anywhere else, I consider myself a naturalized Texan. When I was growing up, my dad worked for an International Telecommunications Company. We lived in Ontario, Georgia, California, and Tennessee prior to settling in Plano — just north of Dallas. Every summer was spent in Montreal, which instilled in me…

500 Chicon: Mentorship Match-Up

Career Building Committee members worked tirelessly to match mentors and EPs during their visit to 500 Chicon. – photo by Elizabeth Hackler  The Career Building Committee has announced the much-anticipated Texas Architects Mentorship Program Class of 2014. This announcement comes after an extensive, algorithm-based process focused on matching Emerging Professionals (EPs) with like-minded members of the College of Fellows to form mentorship families. The mentorship family members will meet throughout the year to learn from one another; they will also share their experiences during a special session at our 75th Annual Convention and Design Expo in Houston this November. The Brains The creator…