In Place — Thoughts on a (North) Texas Vernacular

The size of Texas and its ecological, geological, and social diversity are obvious — as is its youth, in any real cultural terms. At not quite 200 years of post-indigenous settlement, it remains to be seen whether one can say that there is a “Texas” architectural vernacular. To the extent that there exists a signature formal or tectonic language, or a material palette tied specifically to the state, one might say that it resides in the white limestone work with standing seam metal roofs and cedar porches which seems to immediately refer to the Hill Country or Spanish-influenced South Texas.…

2016 Prosperity Conference

The word on the street is that our economy is booming and all is well in our industry. But maybe there are still questions to be asked and ways to improve your business. What is the Texas economy looking like now — what is ahead? Are we changing the way our firms operate to take advantage of the highs and protect the company when the inevitable lows return? What best practices can be shared to strategize our growth? How do we “get what we want” for the firm? For our clients? For our staff? Explore these questions and more at…

Where Texas Ends

The Franklin Mountains are the southernmost expression of the Rio Grande rift, an uplift of Precambrian rock that runs from Colorado down through New Mexico. The ridge dissipates long enough to create El Paso del Norte, a gap formed by the Rio Grande that holds the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. A military base and cement factory mar the range’s leeward side, but its windward side, intact and austere, looks out over the cityscape to Juárez beyond. This slope, littered with lechuguilla as well as weathered gray stones and quartz crystals from an abandoned mine, is the site…

Robert E. Velten, AIA: 1929–2016

Robert E. Velten, AIA, dedicated Brownsville architect – photo courtesy AIA LRGV Robert E. Velten, AIA, of Brownsville passed away on May 16. A native Texan, Velten practiced architecture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In a way, he was entering the family business, as his father was a prolific contractor in Brownsville. Velten received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from Texas A&M University. After serving in the Air Force, he worked for Henry D. Mayfield, Fehr & Granger, and A. H. Woolridge before opening his own architectural practice in 1959.  Velten put his stamp on his hometown, notably designing the F.W.…

Logic Tobola, FAIA: 1940–2016

St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, a moveable prototype designed by Tobola – image via Tobola Design Award submission, 2015 Logic Tobola II, FAIA, passed away on May 21. Tobola was born in El Campo, Texas, in 1940 and lived on his grandparents’ farm in a Czech community. He attended The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and proceeded to serve as a practicing architect for more than 50 years. He was an associate and then a partner at the firm of Pierce, Goodwin, and Alexander. Later, he returned to the farm in El Campo and established his own architectural…

UTSA Undergrads Honored by AIA COTE

A rendering shows the transformation of the big box structure and parking lot – rendering courtesy UTSA University of Texas at San Antonio undergrads Isaias Garcia Coronado and Daniel Rodriguez Suarez have been honored by the AIA Committee on the Environment for their project proposal, “Banding for Knowledge.” Selected as one of the winners in the 2015-2016 Top Ten for Students Design Competition, their project re-envisions the use of an abandoned big box store in San Antonio. Their work is on view at the AIA Annual Convention this week in Philadelphia.  Daniel Rodriguez Suarez, left, and Isaias Garcia Coronado, right – photo courtesy…

Jim Williamson Named Dean at Texas Tech College of Architecture

Jim Williamson – photo courtesy Cornell University The Texas Tech School of Architecture has named Jim Williamson its new dean. Himself a graduate of Tech’s undergraduate architecture program, Williamson will assume his new role on August 1.  After receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Tech, Williamson went on to earn his graduate degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and studied at the Architectural Association of London. An associate professor of architecture at Cornell University, Williamson has also taught at Harvard, the Rhode Island School of Design, Rice University, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Columbia…

Q&A with Tere O’Connell, AIA

When the City of Austin decided to use East Austin’s historic Dedrick-Hamilton house as the basis for a new African American Cultural Heritage Facility, the job fell to Austin preservationist Tere O’Connell, AIA, to unearth details of the home’s history and how best to preserve it. O’Connell spoke with Texas Architect about the ever-changing priorities that drive demand for preservation work, and the challenge of preservation in a community where so much history either is lost or was never officially recorded. The interview was conducted by Patrick Michels. Historic preservation architect Tere O'Connell, AIA – photo courtesy Tere O'Connell From a preservation…

Bill Booziotis, FAIA: 1935–2016

Bill Booziotis, FAIA – photo by Cason Hallock Bill Booziotis, FAIA, passed away on May 11. The son of Greek immigrants, Booziotis was born in Dallas in 1935. He studied architecture at The University of Texas at Austin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1965, he became a founding partner of Thomas and Booziotis, which became Booziotis & Company Architects in 1989.  Booziotis was an influential architect who left his stamp on his hometown through work for the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Instruments, and The University of Texas at Dallas. He designed unique residential projects, including the residence affectionately known…

Absence (and Renovation) Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

The TxA office, shiny and new after months of renovation – photo by Alyssa Morris After several eager attempts, the TxA staff have finally begun to move upstairs into our freshly constructed office space. While the communications team will miss the water feature in our temporary basement office (a persistently leaky dishwasher that provided us with an endless stream of water and entertainment), the windows we have gained more than make up for it. Many thanks to Flynn Construction for being excellent partners in the process.  As with any renovation project, there have been growing pains as we learn to navigate our new…