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2017 Texas Architect Editorial Calendar

-photo by Casey Dunn The 2017 editorial calendar for Texas Architect magazine is now available. The year’s themes focus on the juxtapositions and contrasts present in the architectural world. Instructions for submitting a project for consideration are included at the bottom of this post. January / February Feature: Knowledge / Folly Portfolio: Dine Products: Lighting In this issue we examine architecture’s role in encouraging the acquisition of knowledge, whether by providing facilities for the teaching of theory or a framework for experience. And since life and learning don’t have to be all serious, we explore the architecture of silliness and…

Bring Your Own Bag

In March 2013, the City of Austin enacted an ordinance banning single-use carry-out bags. The law regulates the types of bags that can be distributed by businesses and has encouraged a larger cultural shift toward reusable bags. Plastic bags quickly became nonexistent in grocery stores, and bring-your-own-bag campaigns began popping up everywhere. That spring, Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA, and Megan Marvin were ready to graduate from The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and with just a few short months left to go, they decided to make some bags for their final design studio.  The project has grown…

SNEAK PEEK at Texas Architect’s New Feature –– “Products”

In its March/April 2014 issue, Texas Architect will unveil a new addition to its table of contents ­­–– “Products.” This new recurring section of the magazine allows the TA team to share with its readers the latest in architectural products and technological innovations. Catherine Gavin, editor of Texas Architect, says that the inclusion of cutting-edge products will add a bit of diversity to the magazine by allowing it to cover a wider breadth of topics. It will also give the Society a chance to get to know more regional manufacturers and increase its pool of potential advertisers.  Rita Catinella Orrell – photo…

Fort Worth Design Awards

Firm Awards Ben Hogan Learning Center for the First Tee of Fort Worth DMS Architects Borrowing its formal expression and transparent center from the honest simplicity of the dogtrot house, the Ben Hogan Learning Center transforms the traditional language by bending around a state-protected tree while extending to connect with an outdoor practice space. The building was designed to serve multiple functions — classroom, community event center, museum — and maximize the limited resources of First Tee, a nonprofit that uses golf to teach life lessons to at-risk youths. i-Prospect Fort Worth Office VLK Architects The new i-Prospect office intertwines…

Dwelling: To Have or to Be

Architecture is practiced within a culture of consumption so pervasive as to be almost invisible. That, taken with the pressures assumed by a system that rewards market conformance, results in a culture of mediocre dwellings. Banal houses are often compensated for with greater square footage, freighted symbols, and technological amenities. This can happen in so-called traditional or modern houses. In a rush to meet the client’s stated or assumed needs, having often trumps being. One might pry open the writings of Fromm, Bachelard, Heidegger, and Alexander to better understand dwelling. There are helpful moments in those writings, but a more…

Michael Van Valkenburgh on Austin’s Waller Creek

The New York City landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh is playing a prominent role in redefining urban spaces throughout the country with active and engaging parks. He spoke about the winning proposal for Waller Creek that his firm developed in conjunction with Thomas Phifer and Partners. Austin is a city of many parks; the revitalization of Waller Creek will be a welcome contribution to a community that cherishes green space and water. What attracted your team to the Waller Creek competition? Several things, including the creative vibrancy of Austin as a city, the uniqueness of the assignment (especially the implications…

For a Gardener: In Memory of Ruth Carter Johnson Stevenson (1923-2013)

It is difficult to imagine a Fort Worth without Ruth Carter Stevenson. Her generosity and, perhaps more important, her voice in matters of public aspiration were unique. It is popular to speak of global cultural and humanitarian concerns being manifest locally, and Ruth was the embodiment of this idea. She was born into a certain privilege in 1923 as the daughter of Amon G. Carter, the legendary publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — a man whose form of promotion for Fort Worth was generally aimed at pushing the city past any perceived accomplishments of nearby Dallas. Through her refined…

Catherine Gavin Appointed Editor of Texas Architect

Gavin had been a historic preservation consultant in New York City since 2004. Her projects included work on the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, and the United Nations Headquarters, as well as the rehabilitation and restoration of numerous residential and commercial developments in historic districts throughout the city. An Austin native, she graduated from the University of Texas and was an editor at Holt, Rinehart, and Winston for five years prior to pursuing a graduate degree in preservation at Columbia University. Much of her work focuses on the preservation of mid-twentieth century architecture. Her research on the sociopolitical importance…

In the Light with Charles K. Thompson, FAIA

One thing awaiting him — along with meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, documents to issue — is a voice mail from a residential client who is surprised that the exterior lighting holes have already been cut into the high-end wood soffits. She thinks the plan was to wait until Thompson was available to field-verify the positioning. And, in fact, she is right. As it turns out, through a phone call to the client, Thompson finds out that “she isn’t angry; she’s just surprised.” The innate affability that helps Thompson navigate a potentially difficult client conversation seems somehow related to…

Tianjin Binhai Art Center

Designing an art center for a client in China required the architects in RTKL’s Dallas office to strike a balance between allowing in natural light while protecting the artwork on exhibit. Their solution calls for an exterior that combines stone and glass, one material representing strength and another which has a more delicate nature. The main programmatic elements for the 90,400-sf center include a flexible gallery space for displaying modern painting and calligraphy, private artist studios, an art auction room, and a café. The separation of public and private functions inside the building suggests a sequence of concealing and revealing…