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…

A Machine for Healing

When confronted with creating “the hospital of the future,” the design consultant and construction teams looked back to 1954, when the original Parkland Hospital was built, to try and anticipate the next 50–75 years. There was very little technology truly integrated into the architecture back then, as X-ray machines and penicillin were the most advanced tools available to doctors. The planning of a massive, 21st-century healing environment required side-by-side teamwork from start to finish to ensure total coordination. The hospital was to become an all-digital facility, but that meant there would need to be a robust, wire-based backbone. Joseph Longo,…