Advocacy Update: Getting “Trump-ed” by Negative Politics? Don’t Let It Get You Down.

​ At the most basic level, being an active citizen is really easy — just register and vote.  This year to vote in the Texas primary election you must be registered to vote by next Monday, February 1. Your Texas Primary Election Day is March 1, and early voting begins February 16th through February 26th. You can vote for a candidate, party, or political philosophy — or you can vote against overblown, nasty rhetoric, and bombastic non-responses by those who seek your support without really doing anything to earn it. But since most candidates are effectively elected in party primaries rather…

Field of Dreams

Architecture was once said to be technologically decades behind other constructive disciplines. Post-World War II mass production yielded the modern airliner for aviation, but Levittown for architecture. Now, thankfully, we’re catching up. Rapid prototyping soft- and hardware allow designers to directly test and manufacture at the human scale, from jewelry to complete building components. Our expanded tool kit arrives just as we’re also tasked with addressing our collective environmental crisis. These advances in fabrication and environmental investigation were key components of Field Constructs, a recent competition in Austin that featured four installations by talented, young designers. Field Constructs Design Competition…

TAC Houston Spotlight: Wendy Heger, AIA

TAC Houston kicks off a monthly spotlight featuring Houston architects sharing what architectural advocacy means to them. The inaugural post features Wendy Heger, AIA, of Page, who shares how she finds it "empowering that architects, even those who compete against each other, can rally toward a common cause to raise the profession." ​ – photos courtesy Wendy Heger, AIA  What is your current/past experience with AIA? Currently, I am the TxA Vice President for Advocacy. My past positions include: TAC Executive Trustee 2014–2015 TAC Advocacy Houston Advisory Committee 2013–2015, Chair 2014 ArCH Foundation Board 2006–2009, President 2009 AIA Houston Board 2002, Public…

Out of the Shadows

"Imagine you don’t have a home. Just think about what it would be like. I don’t think most of us truly understand what that means. For formerly homeless individuals, the simple act of turning the lock on their front door is life-altering,” says Brent A. Brown, AIA. It is that sense of security and empowerment that The Cottages at Hickory Crossing aims to provide for 50 of Dallas’ chronic cases of homelessness. Brown, the founder of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, along with developer John Greenan of Central Dallas CDC, set out six years ago to tackle the problem through a variation on the…

Social Studies

Much of the extraordinary energy of the early Modern Movement in architecture focused on the notion that the built environment could have a profound impact on the everyday lives of ordinary people. Architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Alvar Aalto were not designing museums and prestigious corporate headquarters in the 1920s and ’30s, but were focused instead on schools, healthcare facilities, housing and urban design, and on their potential for creating social benefit. Over the decades that followed, sociologists and psychologists would join architects in studying and projecting environments that could support and promote desirable…

Social Studies

Much of the extraordinary energy of the early Modern Movement in architecture focused on the notion that the built environment could have a profound impact on the everyday lives of ordinary people. Architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Alvar Aalto were not designing museums and prestigious corporate headquarters in the 1920s and ’30s, but were focused instead on schools, healthcare facilities, housing and urban design, and on their potential for creating social benefit. Over the decades that followed, sociologists and psychologists would join architects in studying and projecting environments that could support and promote desirable…

Social Studies

Much of the extraordinary energy of the early Modern Movement in architecture focused on the notion that the built environment could have a profound impact on the everyday lives of ordinary people. Architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Alvar Aalto were not designing museums and prestigious corporate headquarters in the 1920s and ’30s, but were focused instead on schools, healthcare facilities, housing and urban design, and on their potential for creating social benefit. Over the decades that followed, sociologists and psychologists would join architects in studying and projecting environments that could support and promote desirable…

Domestic Wolf

Most custom homes are eccentric in one fashion or another, tailored as they are to one person’s or one family’s specific requirements. Casa Lobo, a new house designed by Content Architecture in Houston’s East End, takes that notion to the extreme.  The owner, Erick Calderon, met the architects — Jesse Hager, AIA, and Heather Rowell, Assoc. AIA — through his tile importing company, La Nova. They became friendly, and when Calderon purchased a vacant lot off of Navigation Boulevard just east of downtown, where he planned to build his ideal abode, he called on Content.  Tile importing is his business,…

At Home on the Border

Participants in the 23rd Annual Building Communities Conference of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects began the two-day conference at South Padre Island with a daylong preconference tour on September 24 that focused on the domestic architecture of the border city of Brownsville. Guided by the City of Brownsville’s Heritage Officer Roman McAllen, Assoc. AIA, and Downtown Manager and Brownsville Film Commissioner Peter L. Goodman, the 40-plus tour participants cut a cross section through the architectural history of this border city of 180,000 people. The tour began at Market Square in the heart of downtown…

A Language of Movement

The environment exists for the purpose of movement. —Lawrence Halprin, in Progressive Architecture 46 (July 1965) On a bluff overlooking the Trinity River, just on the north edge of downtown Fort Worth, Lawrence Halprin’s Heritage Park Plaza sits vacant. Closed to the public since 2007 due to structural and safety concerns, Halprin’s urban park and water garden — the only one of the public spaces he designed for Texas that remains intact — is gradually sliding into ruin after years of neglect. (Aside: Halprin also designed the original landscaping of NorthPark Center in Dallas; however, after several expansions of the…