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An Interview with Yesenia Blandon, Assoc. AIA
Julian Debo, an architecture student at the University of Texas at Austin, recently interviewed Yesenia Blandon, Assoc. AIA, for the third in a series of interviews with Texas architectural professionals that are appearing on a newly launched blog by students: The Hugman Incentive.
President's Column: Grand Opening!
We have all been there: the celebratory ribbon cutting of one of our architectural endeavors; watching the exhilaration of the new home owner, once the construction debris has been abated, crossing the threshold for the first time; the students filing into class on the late August day in awe of their new surroundings; or the board or council congratulating one another with their acclamations having brought a new amenity to their constituents.
A Conversation with Bob Borson
Saranya Kanagaraj, an architecture student at the University of Texas at Austin, recently interviewed architect Bob Borson for the second in a series of interviews with Texas architects that are appearing on a newly launched blog by students: The Hugman Incentive.
October 10 Deadline to Buy Convention Event Tickets Online
October 10 is the last day to buy convention event tickets online. After that date, some event tickets will still be available onsite. (Tickets for the Texas Architects Awards Luncheon and the Lunch with Exhibitors must be purchased by Oct. 10.) Don’t miss out on some of the most exciting Texas Architects receptions and celebrations!
When Worlds Collide: ADA and LEED
Texas Society of Architects is offering a record 91 Continuing Education opportunities this year during its Austin convention and is also offering GBCI and LEED-specific credit for the very first year! One standout class, "When Worlds Collide: ADA and LEED," offers ADA; Health, Safety and Welfare; Sustainable Design; and LEED-specific credit.
Survey Predicts Architect Shortage by 2014
The recession decimated the architecture profession, with firms closing or laying off large numbers of employees, architects left jobless for months or years, and many leaving the profession entirely. But a survey recently conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction (Record’s parent company) came to the counterintuitive conclusion that some U.S. firms expect a shortage of qualified designers to meet their workloads by 2014.
An Interview with Heather McKinney, FAIA
Saranya Kanagaraj, an architecture student at the University of Texas at Austin, recently interviewed Heather McKinney, FAIA, for an article that breaks down the stereotypes about what it means to be a part of a professional organization. The interview is the first in a series of interviews with Texas architects that are appearing on a newly launched blog by students: The Hugman Incentive.
Tour the Circuit of the Americas with AIA Austin
In partnership with the Texas Society of Architects, AIA Austin is offering a rare and unique opportunity for attendees of the Texas Architects 73rd Convention and Design Expo: the chance to tour Austin’s fabulous new Circuit of the Americas mere weeks before it opens!
Designed to Connect: Video Conferencing with Skype
Is Your Firm Still Using a Soup Can to Communicate?
Video conferencing, such as Skype, can bring benefits to your firm.
Like the child’s game of telephone with two cans on a string, our methods of communication develop as we get older and seek improved methods. Video conferencing, the ability to see and speak to someone across the Internet, is something that in the past only appeared in movies like the Terminator or Minority Report.
Fort Worth's Historic Fuller House Likely to Escape Wrecking Ball
A one-of-a-kind "geometric" house built by an oilman and his wife almost 60 years ago, featuring rooms of various shapes, will apparently escape the wrecking ball. The 8,400-square-foot Andrew Fuller House, designed by noted California architect A. Quincy Jones, was sold Friday to a Fort Worth couple, according to the previous owner and the real estate agent.
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.
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.
99% Invisible: The Speed of Light for Building Pyramids
This episode of 99% Invisible, produced byTexas Architects 2012 convention keynote speaker Roman Mars, features the research of Steve Burrows CBE, who spent several weeks in Egypt studying the pyramids through the eyes of a modern day structural engineer. The result presented fascinating insights into the design of the pyramids and offers some lessons in how we may think about sustainability through longevity in modern architecture.
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?
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.
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.
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."
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.
99% Invisible: Design for Airports
In this episode of the radio program 99% Invisible, host and producer Roman Mars discusses airport design with Allison Arieff of the New York Times. Using the new T2 terminal at SFO as an example, Arieff talks through some of the considerations that go into designing an airport terminal, how the priorities have changed since 9/11, and how architects struggle to keep pace with ever-changing technology.
Advocacy: Architects Fight for U.S. Energy Law
Architects have immeasurable expertise in designing buildings that are practical, energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and above all, safe. The profession therefore has a leading role to play in any debate surrounding policies which impact either the architectural landscape or structure and design issues relating to buildings.
In the Light with Charles K. Thompson, FAIA
It’s a Monday morning at Archillume Lighting Design in Austin. Founder Charles Thompson, FAIA, is just now back from a four-day road trip on his 2009 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic. His time on the open road to Big Bend and back has helped to recharge his energy and clear his mind. So he’s ready for whatever awaits him.
Texas Architects Announces 2012 Keynote Speakers
The Texas Society of Architects 2012 Annual Convention and Design Expo, October 18-20, in Austin, presents two distinguished keynote speakers who will examine the role of design in the context of the convention’s theme "Influence."
Controversy Surrounds Dallas' Museum Tower
An April 18 D Magazine article, "The Towering Inferno: How Museum Tower threatens the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Woodall Rodgers roofdeck park," highlights the issue of reflected heat from Museum Tower's glass facade. The article asks: "How did this happen? How could someone build a $200 million project in the Arts District that is in the process of destroying the very museum it uses in its marketing materials to sell million-dollar condos? Did no one stop to think?" Read the article, and share your opinions on our website.
Influence and Impact
Since the February issue of Checkset, the Architecture Billings Index has produced four consecutive positive months; the unemployment rate in Texas is hovering just above seven percent; and the first Texas Society of Architects design symposium, "Architecture in the Hinterlands," has proved to be a phenomenal success. All are indications of improving times ahead for our profession.
Designed to Connect
In Part Two of "Twitter for Architects," Andrew Hawkins offers tips for using this popular social media platform. The article is part of the Texas Society of Architects New Media Committee series "Designed to Connect," which features monthly articles on www.texasarchitects.org that discuss various digital technologies and media available to architects today.
Advocacy Update April 2012
April 2012 Advocacy Update: Bill T. Wilson II, FAIA, is first (AIA) architect to run for the Texas Legislature in almost 30 years; new Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) as of March 15; Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 68, as of March 15; and more. Click to read this important bimonthly update.
Advocacy Update June 2012
Election Day brought big news—some good, some bad.
Some very good news was Bill Wilson, FAIA, making a run-off in his race for the HD 43 Republican primary. It’s noteworthy that Wilson ended in a virtual tie with one of the three candidates in that race, especially since he was outspent 3-1 by one—his remaining opponent in the July 31 run-off.
UT Arlington Students Unveil Luminous Sculpture "six. one"
In February, Texas Architect staff visited Assistant Professor Susan Appleton's Senior Interior Design Studio at the UT Arlington School of Architecture to view the installation of a luminous string sculpture, "six. one." The day was documented with photographs, and an article about Appleton and her class appears in the March/April issue of the magazine.
Designed to Connect: Architects as App Developers
In the first article of the New Media Committee series," Designed to Connect," Gordon Arnold, AIA, encourages architects to explore applications development as an additional service to help their firm “diversify, develop new sources of revenue, and be players in a new and exciting global industry.”
Designed to Connect: A Series on New Media
Technology invades everything in today’s world. Architecture is no different. On Monday, Feb. 27, the Texas Architects New Media Committee will launch Part I of “Designed to Connect,” a series of monthly articles on texasarchitects.org that will discuss various digital technologies and media available to architects today.
Q & A with AIA Houston President Perry Seeberger
Texas Society of Architects member Perry Seeberger, AIA, who currently serves as president of AIA Houston, recently spoke with The Houston Chronicle about local architecture. Excerpts from the Q & A were published on Chron.com and cover topics such as the effect of the recession on architecture firms to the impact of energy-efficient projects on the city.
An Ingredient List for a Healthy Home
Peter Syrett, an architect, and Chris Youssef, an interior designer, believe that building materials should be labeled, just like cereal boxes and soup cans, so consumers can avoid ingredients that might be harmful. With the backing of their employer, the global architecture firm Perkins + Will, they have created a database linking common forms of construction materials to government warnings about the substances contained in them.
Dallas Center for Architecture Hosts Upcoming Community Events
From a running tour of downtown Dallas architectural icons to an evening exploring the connections between food and design, the Dallas Center for Architecture hosts several upcoming, engaging community events.
2012: The New Year
An expression used without sufficient consideration is "welcoming in a new year." The New Year does bring a new start of metrics. We restart the annual counters for withholding tax, utilization rates, revenue projections, and seemingly endless payments of one kind of insurance or another. The New Year, for you perhaps, includes new responsibilities, a new position, or (considering) new resolutions.
President Calls on Congress to Build a Greener America
In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 24, President Obama urged Congress to give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings: "... the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings."
UH Students Propose Designs for Galveston Levee
Students from the University of Houston and other Texas universities have researched and developed a levee system that would span from Freeport to High Island and would include a new visitor center attached to a national recreation park.
Nine Semifinalists Named in Waller Creek Design Competition
Nine teams were chosen Monday as semifinalists for the Waller Creek Conservancy design competition, from a pool of 31 entries.The competition calls for a redesign of a 1.5-mile stretch of city parkland and urban space along Waller Creek in downtown Austin.
Big Name Architects Vie to Design Houston's METRO Station
Houston METRO and the Downtown District revealed the finalists in a design competition for Central Station — a new light rail transfer hub that will be built on Main between Capitol and Rusk at the intersection of the upcoming East End and Southeast lines.
Profession's Future Rests on Opportunities for Young Professionals
"As long as I can stay employed, I will stay in the profession."
This was a response to a recent online survey that asked emerging architects in the state of Texas: "Do you see yourself continuing on in this profession, or are you considering a career change?"
A New Look for Texas Architect
Redesign of Texas Architect follows rebranding of its publisher, the Texas Society of Architects.
Recollection: Frank Welch, FAIA
In the first chapter of his unpublished memoir, Architect Frank Welch, FAIA, reflects on his early interest in architecture and the subsequent path he followed establishing his career.
Jeff Potter, FAIA, Inaugurated 2012 AIA President
Jeff Potter, FAIA, began his American Institute of Architects career as president of the AIA Northeast Texas Chapter in 1998. He was president of the Texas Society of Architects in 2004 and served on the AIA Board of Directors from 2006- 2009. “Shaping a future for the next generation of architects” was the theme of Potter’s inaugural address during ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 9.