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2012 Convention Updates
The Texas Society of Architects is committed to delivering the best possible opportunities for members and the design community at its 73rd Annual Convention and Design Expo in Austin, Oct. 18-20. Texas Architects has recently added two new Continuing Education sessions and a schedule update to the convention program to help attendees get the most out of their convention experience. View those updates here.
Light Craft: Art and Architecture Merge at Rice
Anchoring the western end of Rice University's main quad in Houston, James Turrell's new 118-foot-square Skyspace emerges from the earth in front of the monolithic Shepherd School of Music. “This is architecture that light and space makes,” explains the artist. When the sun illuminates the atmosphere, you can't see through it to view the stars that are there, he points out. “Light not only reveals, it also obscures—so you can actually build a space with it. I use light and architecture in that way: to limit space and to reveal it, either way.”
How 99% Invisible is Changing Public Radio
"Covering design on the radio can be a challenge for obvious reasons, but being audio-only is usually a constraint that works in my favor," says Roman Mars. Mars is the creator and host of the hugely inventive podcast 99% Invisible, which treats the design of everyday things like a forensic science. In each episode, Mars (keynote speaker for 2012 Texas Architects Convention) highlights some nearly invisible design process that you had no idea was incredibly interesting and then tells you why it is.
Advocacy Update: August 2012
This advocacy update includes topics related to improving the economic viability of firms going after government work; TBAE's Sunset review, which began July 17; the Legislative Leadership Survey; and more.
2012 AIA Austin Design Awards
AIA Austin’s 2012 Design Awards competition resulted in recognition for 15 projects in three categories out of a total of 112 entries.
On the Road with Alexis McKinney, AIA, LEED AP
For Alexis McKinney, AIA, the “road to registration” has led to the past. And today, her interest in historic preservation has led to downtown Houston, where McKinney and colleague Gerald Moorhead, FAIA, peruse two historic houses (1904 and 1905) that have been “mothballed” and relocated to a dramatic site yards from the city’s 42,000-seat baseball stadium. The project is one of several McKinney is working on.
Rethinking Historic Buildings through a Green Lens
The construction and operation of buildings accounts for almost 50% of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Reusing what we have – buildings, landscapes, communities – is the best way is the best way to reduce these emissions and to make the biggest impact in controlling climate change. Attend the Texas Architects Convention in October and hear noted architect, planner, and historian Barbara Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP, share her experience and work developing national sustainability policies, integrating cultural and preservation metrics into the LEED rating systems, and discussing past and current sustainable preservation projects.
New Federal Courthouse Hard-Hat Tour
Designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, the new U.S. Courthouse in Austin occupies a full city block directly west of Republic Square Park. Take advantage of a rare opportunity to see the new courthouse just before occupancy by registering to attend the Texas Society of Architects Annual Convention and Design Expo, Oct. 18-20, at the Austin Convention Center. Weeks after this hard-hat tour, the courthouse will be locked down by security, and no one else will have the same freedom to experience the courthouse’s beautifully crafted interiors.
The Hodge Orr Residence
The Hodge Orr House, designed by David Webster George, FAIA, in collaboration with Jim Wheeler, AIA, is a reminder that a well-planned house can be both gracious and architecturally arresting, while still embodying principles of restraint and blending into the features of the site.
Registration Opens July 11 for Texas Architects Convention
Online registration is open for the Texas Society of Architects Convention and Design Expo, October 18-20, in Austin. This year, the convention’s theme is “Influence.” Keynote speakers are Robert Hammond, co-founder and co-executive director of Friends of the High Line – a public park built above an abandoned, elevated rail line in New York — and Roman Mars, award-winning host and radio producer of 99% Invisible.
Architecture Firm Websites: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Websites are a vital marketing tool. Unless you’re a superstar design firm, steer clear of archi-speak and tricky graphics. Users want a site that is clean and simple.
Designed to Connect: LinkedIn for Architects
Popular social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, all have their uses. Of the three, LinkedIn has retained an air of professionalism and restraint compared with the more informal information-sharing that takes place among “friends” and “followers” on Facebook and Twitter. Yet, LinkedIn manages to produce a lot of noise – a consistent hum. So how can we, as architectural professionals, effectively communicate a message about architecture that rises above that hum?
Texas Courthouses on List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
On June 6, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) released its 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list includes Texas Courthouses. NTHP, a private nonprofit organization, has produced the annual list for 25 years, drawing attention to more than 230 sites—including buildings, landscapes, and entire communities—that risk destruction or significant damage.
A Texas Architect: The life and work of O’Neil Ford
The blend of modernism and Texas traditionalism evident in some of Denton’s most iconic buildings can be attributed to the singular style of O’Neil Ford, a longtime Denton resident who was one of the most renowned and prominent architects in the U.S. In his lifetime, Ford was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Lyndon B. Johnson and remains the only human to ever be given the title of National Historic Landmark.
Think twice before you speak. How often have those words resounded in your head before you launch into a presentation, lecture, conversation, or rebuttal? Words, tone, and inflection are our tools for influencing others with our passion and knowledge of architecture. What we say is an opportunity to educate opinions as to the importance of the built environment on a community’s vitality and well being.
Call for Volunteer Leaders
The Texas Society of Architects invites its members to contribute to the profession through volunteer service. The 2012 Nominating Committee is seeking diverse candidates for the open 2013 leadership positions—officers and at-large directors to serve on the Texas Society of Architects Board of Directors.
The AIA is Defined by Its Membership, It's Up to You to Help Direct It
In the following article, Michael Cowan, AIA, past president of AIA Austin and its current chapter director, discusses the value and benefits of AIA membership versus the cost.
Austin Historical Survey Wiki
The City of Austin Historic Preservation Office has been working in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin (UT) School of Architecture Historic Preservation program to develop a participatory, wiki-inspired web application to support the comprehensive survey of Austin's historic resources. The community launch takes place June 4.
New Book Highlights Noted Courthouse Architect
Most Texans have seen his buildings. They picturesquely loom over the square in numerous county seats from La Grange to Gonzales. Now, James Riely Gordon, who designed some of the most elaborate courthouses in the nation, is getting his due with a new book by Chris Meister, "James Riely Gordon: His Courthouses and Other Public Architecture."
The Urban Conspiracy Theory
UT Austin grad Stephen Balut, an artist and architectural designer in Charlottesville, is encouraging his community to think outside the box. That's why, for the entire month of May, he's living inside a box on the downtown mall. His goal is to shatter traditional notions of what constitutes living space, and he wants you right there with him.
Beyond LEED: The Importance of Creating Living Buildings
The Living Building Standard results in some of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly structures around. It’s also incredibly difficult to achieve. Is it truly changing the way we design buildings?
Turrell Skyspace Opens in June at Rice University
The Skyspace, by visionary American artist James Turrell with Thomas Phifer (Thomas Phifer and Partners architects), opens in mid June on the Rice University campus, giving Houston its third major piece by Turrell. Shunning the physicality of paint and sculpture, Turrell was among the pioneers of the Light and Space movement in the late 1960s.
In Austin’s richly diverse and energetic East Side neighborhoods, a rebirth is taking place. The addition of the Heywood Hotel on East Cesar Chavez Street represents the latest addition to a burgeoning and thriving East Side culture. Nestled comfortably among the barbecue joints, tacquerias and local shops that have so far eluded big-box homogenization, the hotel builds respectfully on the neighborhood’s considerable charms.