Almost White Box

In his 1984 Pritzker Prize acceptance speech, Richard Meier, FAIA, recalled discussions on color with his children, who professed to love green and blue. They were confounded by their father’s strange choice of white, prompting Meier to explain how all of the rainbow’s colors could be seen in this single color. “The whiteness of white is never just white,” he said. “It is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing.” How white became synonymous with Modernism and contemporary architecture can be traced back to Le Corbusier’s famous houses. Certainly one does not think of Villa Savoye without…

Blank Canvas

Working with an architect for the first time, Dr. Maggie Hart and Patrick Woodson began their journey with an inspired vision for an irresistible but challenging site in West Austin. Their ideal house was perfectly illustrated in a design publication — a project by Dallas-based Malone Maxwell Borson Architects (MMB). Magazine in hand, the couple began their search for an architect who could bring this family of five closer to their vision.  Nervously, Maggie decided to call Michael Malone, AIA, the founding principal of MMB. Surprised to find Malone fielding his own phone calls, the couple was reassured by his…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

2016 Design Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's Design Award winners! Our distinguished jurors, Thomas Hacker, FAIA, Mauricio Rocha, Dan Wheeler, FAIA, and Clive Wilkinson, FAIA, spent two days in Austin deliberating over nearly 300 projects. They selected 10 that they felt were the best representations of architecture in the state of Texas. The projects are presented below with a selection of juror comments.  In no particular order, the projects are: Gewinner Residence, Energy Architecture -photo by Dror Baldinger Hacker: “I think that one of the really most powerful things about this is that duality between the house as a transparent element and the house…

Overheard at the 2016 Design Awards Jury

The 2016 jurors, down to their final few projects.] – photo by Elizabeth Hackler On May 5 and 6, the 2016 TxA Design Awards jury gathered in Austin to deliberate over 285 projects. Thomas Hacker, FAIA, Mauricio Rocha, Dan Wheeler, FAIA, and Clive Wilkinson, FAIA, had a lively discussion as they narrowed down the projects to the eventual winners. Their conversation spanned the breadth of Texas architecture and beyond. Below, I have provided a selection of their most memorable quotes from the final round of deliberations on Friday morning. Mauricio Rocha, who had finally gotten a full night’s sleep after a…

UTSOA Team Wins HUD Affordable Housing Contest

A rendering from the team's presentation illustrates the project's sustainability. – rendering courtesy UTSOA On April 19, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the winner of its third annual Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition. Sarah Simpson, Brett Clark, Megan Richer, Brianna Garner Frey, and Tatum Lau from The University of Texas at Austin took home top honors. Designed to represent a real-life approach, the contest challenges graduate students from a variety of fields to “address social, economic, and environmental issues in responding to a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing…

2016 Studio Awards Entry Form Now Online

(Clockwise from top left) The winning projects from 2015: Kaihui Exchange by WW Architecture in Houston; J-Camp by Interloop Architecture in Houston; Saints Peter and Paul Chapel by Danze Blood Architects; and Dalian Airport Terminal Competition, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport by Corgan Dallas – renderings courtesy 2015 Studio Awards recipients The Texas Society of Architects Studio Awards recognize unbuilt projects demonstrating innovation and excellence in design. Real or theoretical projects that go beyond the boundaries of architecture to address current critical issues are encouraged. TxA is now accepting entries for our 2016 Studio Awards competition. To be considered, a design must have been completed after January 1, 2011. Individuals or firms whose…