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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.
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.
Texas Firms among AIA COTE Award Winners
On April 19, the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (AIA–COTE) announced its Top Ten projects for 2012. This year’s batch of winners highlight community ties, social equity, and attentiveness to water issues. One Texas firm and three national/international firms with offices in Texas are among the winners.
Mexic-Arte seeking $10 million from city for new downtown building
Saying that they want to bring a $30 million iconic building to a prominent downtown corner, backers of Mexic-Arte Museum are asking the City of Austin for $10 million in bond money to be included in the November bond election. The conceptual architecture plans are by Mexican architect Fernando Romero with Austin architect and Texas Society of Architects member Juan Cotera, FAIA, as the architect of record.
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.
AIA Houston Design Awards
AIA Houston’s 2012 Design Awards competition resulted in recognition for 21 projects in eight categories out of a total of 127 entries. Eligibility was limited to projects completed within the last five years and located within the Houston metropolitan area or designed by an architect working in the Houston metropolitan area.
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.
Wilson Announces Candidacy
Bill T. Wilson II, FAIA, is a candidate in the Republican primary for Texas House District 43. If elected, Wilson will be the first practicing architect to serve in the Texas Legislature in twenty-eight years. Pundits have labeled this one of the year’s five most interesting GOP primary races in Texas because of the defection of the incumbent representative from the Democratic to Republican Party.
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.
Design Competition: Call for Entries
Presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, the Sukkah City Austin Design Competition is open to students, professional artists, architects and designers of all faiths and backgrounds in the State of Texas and Israel, working in teams or as individuals. Registration opens July 9 and submissions are due August 8.
Texas Architects Committee Update
The Texas Architects Committee (TAC) update as of February 2012.
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.
Designed to Connect: Twitter for Architects
There is a large amount of buzz about social media these days. In the field of architecture and design, it is no different. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, and many more are actively growing their usage in professional applications. Should you join the social media scene? What are the benefits? Are there drawbacks? What is the best way to go about establishing a social media presence on the Web?
Buildings and Landscapes and Xylophones
In 2010 Lake|Flato completed work on the renovation of the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Since its opening, the new facility has been getting a lot of use from its clever inhabitants who are continually exploring their building's capacity for exhibiting and generating art, both in ways it was designed for and also in ways that the design team never could have predicted.
Conference Emphasizes Practice in the Hinterlands
In February, a group of designers gathered in Midland to consider the challenges of producing top-flight architecture in a place far removed from the state’s larger urban areas. The event, dubbed “Architecture in the Hinterlands,” included an address by acclaimed Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons that featured his work in remote Nova Scotia. View a video recap of the weekend here.
Piano's Expansion of Kimbell Museum Takes Shape
As museum workers and curators install last-minute touches for "The Age of Impressionism" exhibit opening Sunday, Kimbell Art Museum Director Eric M. Lee has one eye turned to the installation occurring outside.
Emerging Professionals Roundtable
In February, Associate leaders gathered in Austin for a two-day event to explore issues that emerging professionals face in their career development and how these can be addressed. Also part of the discussion were future challenges and opportunities.
AIA LRGV 2011 Studio Awards
Two awards were presented by AIA Lower Rio Grande Valley in the chapter’s 2011 Studio Awards program and are featured in the March/April issue of Texas Architect. View additional images of the award winners on texasarchitects.org.
AIA Fort Worth Student Design Awards
Three student projects were recognized for design excellence during AIA Fort Worth’s awards banquet held in late January. The chapter's Student Design Award program was established in 1991 and is open to projects completed as part of academic coursework.
Tianjin Binhai Art Center
Construction is scheduled toward the end of this year on the Tianjin Binhai Art Center within a newly redeveloped coastal district near Beijing, China. The center, designed by RTKL's Dallas office, is featured in the Paperwork section of the March/April issue of Texas Architect. View additional project renderings on texasarchitects.org.
June 2012 Member News
June member news includes newly licensed architects, new architect members, new associate members, and firm news.
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.
AIA San Antonio 2011 Design Awards
After carefully evaluating 60 entries from 24 local architectural firms, jurors for AIA San Antonio’s 2011 Design Awards program announced their selections during ceremonies held on Nov. 4 at Pearl Stable. Attendees also celebrated the recipients of the chapter’s Studio Awards, its Twenty-Five Year Award, and its annual Mayor’s Choice Award honoring a publicly funded architectural project.