NFPA 285 Code Requirements: The Elephant in the Room

Fast Burn –via Flikr; Derek Gavey Did you know that any cavity wall assembly with rigid foam insulation is required by the International Building Code (IBC) to have passed the National Fire Protect Agency (NFPA) code 285 assembly test? If you’re like most architects, contractors, and code officials — the answer is no. Incredibly, NFPA 285 has been in the code books since 1988 (although under different names). There are two reasons that our industry is becoming increasingly aware of this significant code requirement: Rigid foam insulations are now more common in our exterior building assemblies as an effective strategy to…

2014 TxA Gift Guide

With the holiday season in full swing, the Texas Society of Architects has a list of must-see gifts, including Formwork Desk Accessories, Portland Growler Co., Sempli Bottle Openers, Wanderlust City Map Playmats, and Spanish ABC Blocks. Formwork Desk Accessories www.hermanmiller.com/products/accessories/work-tools/formwork.html Designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin for Herman Miller‘s Objects program, Formwork is a modular system of plastic containers to help organize the gadgets and desk accessories that you need closest at hand. The collection includes a pencil cup, large and small trays with cantilevered ledges for easy access, large and small boxes with built-in cup holders, a tissue box, and a media stand. $19.00 to $55.00…

Architects Talking to Architects: Vincent Snyder, AIA

Vincent Snyder, AIA, started his firm, Vincent Snyder Architects, in Austin in 1995. The firm’s work ranges in scale from residential to institutional and is internationally published, exhibited, and recognized. Most recently, Snyder was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. Vincent Snyder, AIA, at the Gardens at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy – courtesy Vincent Snyder Where did you grow up? I grew up in a rural area near the small town of Wahoo, Nebraska, which is situated in the open landscape of the Great Plains. Both the name of the town…

Architects Talking to Architects: Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA

Texas Architects catches up with University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Professor Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA, who talks to us about growing up with deep family roots in a small town, sourcing inspiration from nature, and immersing himself in the sonic worlds of Radiohead. Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA  –  photo by Jesse Knish Where did you grow up? I grew up in the very small town of Baird, Texas, near Abilene. You might say it’s not the type of place where big ideas in architecture and design are generated; however, what it lacked in cosmopolitan terms it made up for with the…

Tiny Victories Competition Winners

AIA Austin and Community First! announced the winners of the Tiny Victories design competition today. The contest sought innovative solutions for affordable, efficient housing and challenged architects to design safe, sustainable, quality microhouses for the homeless. The winning projects will be built at Community First! Village, a 27-acre master-planned community that will provide housing and a wide range of community resources for the disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas. The initiative is a program of Mobile Loaves & Fishes of Austin. Construction of the homes is expected to begin in March of 2015.  MICROPOD Stephi Motal, AIA, Black + Vernooy Architects …

Project ArchiTX: House 124

Candid Rogers Architect's House 124 launches Texas Society of Architects' newest blog series Project ArchiTX. The series highlights the outstanding architectural projects in Texas, as well as projects designed by Texas architects and designers. House 124 seemlessly fuses old world and contemporary urban style in a Victorian cottage in San Antonio.  Project House 124, San Antonio Client Jack and Liza Lewis Architect Candid Rogers Architect Photographer Dror Baldinger The residence at 124 Devine Street is a wood-framed Victorian cottage estimated to be built in the early 1900s. The original size of the three-room shiplap wood house was a little more than 600 sf. At unknown dates (est. 1940–1970’s), multiple…

Maximizing Space

With sweeping views of the downtown skyline, an inviting coffee lounge, and acoustically private yet visually transparent offices for all of the attorneys, the Seyfarth Shaw Houston location is an elegant alternative to the ubiquitous open plan. Rottet Studio makes designing an efficiently laid-out space in the trapezoidal towers of the iconic Pennzoil Place look easy. “The Pennzoil floor plate certainly helped us justify our final design layout,” said Ashleigh Rogers, project designer. Seyfarth Shaw leased half of the 14th floor and the entire 15th floor, and the disjointed plans, argued Rogers, worked to the design team’s advantage. Rottet Studio was…

Portfolio: MaRS Attacks

The distinction between “architecture” and “interiors” is often a fuzzy one. Though architects and interior designers both produce space as a com- modity, they regularly disagree on what qualities make it appealing. Specializations are useful to clarify areas of expertise, but they can interfere with creating a fully considered interior. One workable solution to this problem is a design office that can nimbly shift scales and scopes to best address the project at hand. This is precisely the way Kelie Mayfield and Erick Ragni, AIA, work together as MaRS (Mayfield and Ragni Studio). Based in Houston, MaRS has designed everything…

The Roses Underneath

C.F. Yetmen showcases her architectural knowledge in "The Rose Underneath," a post-World War II thriller with an architect hero at the heart of the story. “The Roses Underneath” C.F. Yetmen Ypsilon & Co. Press (2014) Review by Helen Thompson One of the heroes in C.F. Yetmen’s enthralling debut novel, “The Roses Underneath,” is an architect, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to Texas professionals who recognize the author’s name. When she's not writing novels, Yetmen devotes her professional life to preparing nomination packages for AIA fellowship candidates. Clear writing and good research are tools of her trade. These habits fortify the…

Vanishing Rest Stops

Architectural photographer Ryann Ford is looking to document the architectural and cultural significance of America's vanishing rest stops by transforming her photo series of these landmarks into a book. "The Last Stop" Kickstarter campaign, which ends on December 16, aims to make this happen. Near Post, Texas – U.S. 84 – by Ryann Ford For the past five years, Ryann Ford has traveled the country to document America's rest stops. Some of her film photographs were featured in the September/October 2013 issue of Texas Architect magazine. Last month, Ford launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds to publish a book based on the photo series. "The Last Stop:…