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…

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,…

Architects Talking to Architects: Xavier A. Vargas, AIA

Xavier A. Vargas, AIA, works as a project architect for Randall-Porterfield Architects, based out of League City. Vargas is currently involved with a school renovation for HISD. Xavier A. Vargas, AIA – photo courtesy Randall-Porterfield Architects Where did you grow up? I grew up in Seabrook, Tex., or as I would tell people unfamiliar with the area, “near NASA.” Although it is close to the water and I passed by marinas everyday, I never ventured out into the water very often. However, I sure do enjoy the seafood. I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t left this area yet.…

Gardner

East Austin’s dramatic transformation, the result of a decade of rapid gentrification, is especially apparent on a mile-long stretch of East Sixth Street situated just across Interstate 35 from the city’s notorious nightlife hub. The longtime working-class neighborhood has lately become a dining and nightlife destination for the young and chic. Bungalows have been converted into bars, and empty parking lots have given rise to multi-story mixed-use apartment buildings. Gardner, the second restaurant opened by Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton of Contigo fame, is a gratifying addition to the mix. Designed by Austin’s Baldridge Architects and the recipient of much…

Architects Talking to Architects: Erik Murray, AIA

Erik Murray, AIA, is an associate principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates in San Antonio. Erik Murray, AIA, building a chicken coop – photo courtesy of Erik Murray Where did you grow up? I spent most of my childhood in Kerrville, a sweet little city tucked away in the Texas Hill Country. I remember stomping through the woods around my house (undeveloped land) and riding my bike all over the city. As I approached high school, I was chomping at the bit to move to a bigger city where “all the action” was happening. I didn’t really know what I had. I’ve…

Lake|Flato Architects Coming to Austin in 2016

Downtown Austin along the Lady Bird Lake waterfront – photo by Thomas McConnell San Antonio-based Lake|Flato Architects will soon be making Austin its second home. The firm has had a distinct presence in the city over the past 30 years, having designed several its iconic structures including Hotel San Jose, The University of Texas AT&T Executive Education Center, and the Harry Ransom Center. Lake|Flato Architects' new office hopes to build upon strong existing relationships and continue to help shape the urban transformation underway in the "Live Music Capital of The World." “The expansion is an opportunity for Lake|Flato to build upon the firm’s focus…

Architects Talking to Architects: Bayardo Selva, AIA

Bayardo Selva, AIA, is an architect at cre8 Architects in Houston.  Bayardo Selva, AIA – photo courtesy Bayardo Selva If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued? It is difficult for me not to think of myself as an architect. This has been the only profession I ever thought of pursuing since I was a kid. Putting things together has always been my thing, and if I had to choose another occupation, I would still have chosen a career that allowed me to do that. When I attended college at the University of Louisiana’s School of…

Gray Matter

Mell Lawrence isn’t bound by any obvious book of rules. The Austin architect often gets labels like “whimsical” and “playful” tossed at his work. And yet, while there is a certain spirited quality underlying most of his projects, a keen observer will be drawn to the rigor and intellect that underpin them. In other words, there are rules.  For the Hollowcat Wild residence, the rules focused largely on materials. This mattered because the house is so starkly simple that no gesture goes unnoticed. “The client’s interests were very definitely simple modern architecture, things that were daring and dynamic in form,…

Warp and Weft

In the summer of 2009, artist Gabriel Dawe and architect Gary Cunningham were invited to collaborate on a work of art as part of an exhibition titled “Transitive Pairings: Body Objects.” Organized by Dr. Charissa Terranova at CentralTrak, the University of Texas at Dallas artists’ residency where Dawe practiced, “Transitive Pairings” was inspired by — and it expanded upon — the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2006–2007 exhibition, “Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture.” The Los Angeles exhibit examined themes of shelter, identity, and creative process, as well as the parallel stylistic tendencies found between fashion…

Project ArchiTX: Canopy Restaurant

Dillion Kyle Architecture presents an homage to the trees and landscape of Texas. The architect employed walnut wooden features and a foliage supergraphic to create the narrative of Canopy in Houston.​ Project Canopy, Houston  Architect Dillon Kyle Architecture Photographer Casey Dunn  Canopy is a neighborhood restaurant located in a Houston’s vibrant Montrose district. The restaurant design is an allegory of trees and landscape in general, and the city's famous live oaks in particular. The blue sky of the walls, earth tone of the floor, and walnut wood and green fixtures lend to the connections to meadows and forests. A blown-up photograph of a live oak was affixed to sliding panels that…