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Houston’s Uncommon Modern Exhibit Receives National Recognition

6000 Heatherbrook Drive – photo by Paul Hester Docomomo US recently announced the winners of its 2016 Modernism in America Awards, describing the selections as "exemplary of the efforts going on all over the country as the awareness of the importance to advocate, restore and celebrate the architecture, landscapes and typologies of postwar society in the United States." Among the projects honored was AIA Houston's Uncommon Modern exhibit. On display at Architecture Center Houston from November 2015 to February 2016, the exhibit shone a light on the city's often-overlooked midcentury buildings. Business parks, churches, and gas stations were some of the buildings…

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,…

A Gateway and a Hill

Houston’s 445-acre Hermann Park, inaugurated in 1914 — tied together with Rice University and the Museum of Fine Arts by a majestic live oak-studded section of Main Street — forms the nucleus of the city’s most impressively planned sequence of public spaces. After a period of shocking neglect by the city during the postwar years, in the early 1990s Hermann Park Conservancy was formed by a group of concerned citizens. Shortly thereafter, they commissioned an imaginative master plan by the Philadelphia landscape architect Laurie Olin that they have been methodically implementing since it was officially approved by the city council…

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.…

Architects Talking to Architects: Catherine Callaway, AIA

Catherine Callaway, AIA, is an associate with BNIM currently working on the renovation of the Sunset Coffee Building on Buffalo Bayou, the new Knoll showroom in Houston, and strengthening the firm’s capabilities in human-purposed, high-performance, integrated design across the country. She works from home and manages the strained relationship between her office mates, Buffalo (the dog) and Mabel (the cat). Catherine’s years of involvement with AIA Houston and The Rice Design Alliance has led to exciting leadership opportunities and fruitful relationships. On the weekend, look for Catherine building a recycled cardboard castle with her daughter and son, leading a walking…

Architects Talking to Architects: Christian Sheridan, AIA

Christian Sheridan, AIA, is an associate principal for BRAVE / Architecture in Houston. He currently designs, manages projects, mentors interns, lectures to students of all ages, provides pro bono services, and volunteers for professional and community organizations. Sheridan's photographic themes range from Texas’ rural firework stands to its suburban neighborhoods and have been recognized by AIA National’s photography competition on multiple occasions. Outside of the office, Sheridan has completed multiple half-marathons and is currently training for his fourth Chicago Marathon. Christian Sheridan, AIA – courtesy Christian Sheridan Where did you grow up? I grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. To compensate for this, I…

Honeymoon Café

Located at the corner of Congress Avenue and Main Street in Houston’s Sterne Building, the Honeymoon Café and Bar is a daytime addition to the rapidly developing nightlife scene in the area. Formerly an oversized TexMex restaurant, the space was in desperate need of simplification — something that would “engender the casual spirit of a French-inspired café,” notes CONTENT Architecture founder Jesse Hager, AIA. With a modest budget, the design team focused on bringing a light and airy feeling to the cafe. An arched back bar and a large interior window, which allows views into the roasting room, define the space.…

Making Waves: Restaurants by Michael Hsu, AIA

OPORTO Opened in early 2015, OPORTO Fooding House & Wine is located in a recently redeveloped area of Midtown Houston where modern mixed-use buildings abut remnants of the historic Fourth Ward to create a diverse building framework. The urban plan for this area features more walkable and bikeable streets and sidewalks. As the anchor tenant in a large mixed-use apartment building, OPORTO benefits from a sizable population living within a few square blocks. To capture the attention of that audience, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture chose to clad the exterior with brilliantly colored patterned tile and warm cedar set in…

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…

Woods High School

"Making use of his own will in his contact with his environment, he (the child) develops his various facilities and thus becomes in a sense his own creator. We should regard this secret effort of the child as something sacred." —Maria Montessori In education reform circles, excitement about new approaches to learning that go beyond the standard lecture-and-learn model is peaking. Even the U.S. Department of Education, never the first to board any sort of cutting-edge train, touts a quasi-revolutionary vision of student-led learning: “Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to…