Architects Talking to Architects: Kris Calvert, AIA
Kris Calvert, AIA, is a Principal at Urban Bobcat Architects. Calvert is on the Advisory Board for Partners for Sacred Places, an organization that helps churches with the preservation of their architecture, and currently serves on the Executive Committee for AIA Fort Worth.
Kris Calvert, AIA –photo courtesy Kris Calvert
Where do you find inspiration?
To quote singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, “There’s so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see. Everywhere I go I’m looking.” I look to some of my favorite architects to learn how they make beautiful buildings. Whenever possible, I like to visit buildings in person to really experience them. Photographs are wonderful and provide tons of inspiration for me, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. My family’s vacations usually involve seeing a cool building or two or three — whatever I can get away with; my wife has a limit though.
Advocacy Update: Annual License Renewal Fees Reduced
Thanks to the collaborative effort of numerous professional organizations, including the Texas Society of Architects (TxA), the annual license renewal fees will decrease by $200 starting September 1. Let me repeat, beginning with those with birthdays in September, the cost to renew your license will be $200 less this year — and next year — and the year after, etc.
Architects Talking to Architects: Andrew Houston, Assoc. AIA
Andrew Grant Houston, Assoc. AIA, is a project designer at Derrington Building Studio in Austin.
Andrew Grant Houston, Assoc. AIA –photo courtesy Andrew Houston
Where did you grow up?
I was born and spent most of my years before college in San Antonio. However, I’ve also lived in other smaller cities in Texas — namely Uvalde, Del Rio, and New Braunfels. Additionally, I spent a summer in Pisa, Italy as a kid. The variability of where I grew up has impacted my understanding of Texas as an amazing place, while realizing that there is a big, whole wide world outside of our (great) state.
Architects Talking to Architects: Charles E. Brant, AIA
Charles E. Brant, AIA, a native of Kansas, has lived in Dallas for 11 years enjoying the neighborhood character of the city's constantly evolving districts. Currently, Brant is an associate and project manager at Perkins+Will focusing on the K-12 market. He is also an active AIA Dallas member: he has participated in and led the Emerging Leaders Program and is the current chair of the chapter's Public Policy Committee. Additionally, he has served on the planning committees for the Form Follows Fitness 5K, which benefits the Dallas Center for Architecture, and the NCARB ARE 5.0 Task Force.
Charles E. Brant, AIA – photo courtesy Perkins+Will
Where did you grow up?
I’m from Arkansas City, Kansas (pronounced Ar-KAN-sas not AR-kan-saw), a small town of 10,000 people in south central Kansas along the Oklahoma border.
Save the Date! Facades+AM Heads to Houston This June
Facades+AM is coming to Houston on June 18 - Sarath Kuch / Flickr
They say “everything is bigger in Texas.” So it goes for Houston‘s skyline, the fourth largest in the United States. Big, too, are the names behind Space City’s most iconic skyscrapers. The city’s tallest, the 75-story JPMorgan Chasetower, was designed by I.M. Pei in 1981. A number of other internationally-renowned architects and firms have left their mark on Houston, including César Pelli, Philip Johnson, Robert A.M. Stern, Renzo Piano, SOM, and Gensler. Today, Texas’ most populous city is home to TEX-FAB, a network of academics and practitioners pushing the boundaries of computational fabrication.
I.M. Pei's JP Morgan Chasetower is the tallest building in Texas - Sarath Kuchi / Flickr
On the urban front, Houston is making strides away from its car-centric past. The city’s light rail system, MetroRail, opened in 2004; in 2013, Mayor Annise Parker issued an executive order outlining a Complete Streets policy. Last year, Mayor Parker directed the planning commission to create a General Plan — the first in Houston’s history — with a special focus on walkability. And if a panel of advisers from the Urban Land Institute have their way, the disused Houston Astrodome could be transformed into a massive public park in time for 2017’s Super Bowl LI.
Both Houston’s architectural legacy and its potential for urban transformation make it a natural fit for Facades+AM, the quick-take version of the popular Facades+ conference series on high-performance envelope design and fabrication. On June 18, AEC industry leaders will convene at the historic Hotel Icon (formerly the Union National Bank, designed in 1911 by Mauran, Russell & Crowell) for a look at the latest developments in the world of building enclosures. Chaired by Gensler’s Kristopher Stuart, AIA, the half-day event will feature three sessions with three speakers each, to conclude by 12:30 p.m.
Register for Facades+AM Houston or learn more at the symposium website. Check back frequently for updates on presenters and panel topics.
A ULI advisory panel recently proposed turning the Houston Astrodome into a public park - Ed Schipul / Flickr
Project ArchiTX: Riverview Way House
Tom Hurt Architecture toes the line between the familiarity of the traditional 1950s brick house and bold, modern volumetric additions in the Riverview Way House in Houston.
Project Riverview Way House, Houston
Architect Tom Hurt Architecture
Photographers Ryan Farnau Photography
Riverview Way House was a remodel and addition to a one-story brick, 1950s mid-century modern house our client found in the Tanglewood neighborhood in Houston. With only a couple of months to start the design and create construction drawings, the client and the architect decided early in the process to retain only the original exterior brick walls and beautiful terrazzo floors. In some ways, the original house was more of a unique building site for a new house than a remodel project. It was important to retain and give new life to the ‘historic’, low-slung brick structure, and continue with the private, inward-looking approach of the original house in relation to its surroundings.
Architects Talking to Architects: Nick Jackson, Assoc. AIA
Nick Jackson, Assoc. AIA, is an associate and architectural assistant at PDR in Houston.
Nick Jackson, Assoc. AIA – photo courtesy Nick Jackson
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Cypress, Texas, a bustling suburb in the northwest Greater Houston area. Despite growing up in the suburbs, I proudly claim Houston as my home. I defied the odds by returning to Houston after living a couple of years in Austin to attend The University of Texas (friends and family were astounded that my wife and I would leave Austin for Houston). The truth is, when I moved inside “the Loop” at the age of 18 to live on campus at the University of Houston, I fell in love with this vibrant city. I cannot see myself living anywhere else.
Rand Elliott's Word Paintings
For Rand Elliott, FAIA, the creative process transcends conventional divisions between artistic disciplines. For Elliott, language and architecture — the output of his professional practice — are intimately connected.
Marfa Contemporary Gallery by Elliott + Associates Architects - photo by Scott McDonald, Hedrich Blessing
"The words arrive before the architecture," writes Rand Elliott, FAIA, in his 2014 book, "Word Paintings."
"Words, sentence fragments, dissimilar pairings of adjectives, and the imagining of a place yet to be created… The words liquefy and reform as an architectural spirit in time."
Architects Talking to Architects: Jack Murphy, Assoc. AIA
Jack Murphy, Assoc. AIA, is a designer with Baldridge Architects in Austin.
Jack Murphy, Assoc. AIA – photo by Jessica Mills
Where did you grow up?
This is actually a hard question for me. My father is a professor of music, so we moved a number of times as his academic appointments changed. Both sides of my extended family live in Maryland, but I was born in New York City and spent two years on the Upper West Side. My elementary school childhood was in rural western Illinois, but I went to high school in Denton, Texas. Also, I spent two yearlong stints, including seventh grade, in Recife, Brazil, where my father was doing research. My parents still live in Denton, so that is the short answer I fall back on now.
Update on the Dallas Trinity Toll Road Controversy
By: Bob Meckfessel, FAIA
In 1998, Dallas voters approved a $246 million bond program to revitalize the Trinity River Corridor, a 20-mile swath of neglected floodway cutting through the city. The successful referendum promised many enhancements to the floodway in five key areas: recreation, flood protection, environment, economic development, and transportation. This last aspect — transportation — consisting mostly of the “Trinity Parkway,” was pitched to voters with renderings of a context-sensitive road happily coexisting with lakes, trails, promenades, and signature bridges. The bond program was endorsed by AIA Dallas.
Project ArchiTX: Canopy Restaurant
Dillion Kyle Architecture presents an homage to the trees and landscape of Texas. The architect employed walnut wooden features and a foliage supergraphic to create the narrative of Canopy in Houston.
Project Canopy, Houston
Architect Dillon Kyle Architecture
Photographer Casey Dunn
Canopy is a neighborhood restaurant located in a Houston’s vibrant Montrose district. The restaurant design is an allegory of trees and landscape in general, and the city's famous live oaks in particular. The blue sky of the walls, earth tone of the floor, and walnut wood and green fixtures lend to the connections to meadows and forests. A blown-up photograph of a live oak was affixed to sliding panels that bisect the open concept of the dining space to allow for adaptability.
Architects Talking to Architects: Danny Rigg, AIA
Danny Rigg, AIA, is an architect at Stern and Bucek Architects in Houston. He is chair of TxA's Career Building Committee and past chair of AIA Houston's Intern/Associate Network. You’ll currently find him working on a variety of projects around Houston while gearing up for the 2015 Texas Architects Mentorship Program.
Danny Rigg, AIA – photo courtesy Danny Rigg
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Houston, but I grew up in Tampa, Florida. The beaches were beautiful, but the alligators in the lake behind our house were terrifying. My kindergarten field trip included traveling to the moon in a school bus spaceship. After that, there was a time I was pretty sure I would grow up to be an astronaut. Then, I got my first Lego set, and everything changed.
My family moved back to Houston when I was five, and I’ve lived in Texas ever since.
Architects Talking to Architects: Zach Farrell, Assoc. AIA
Zach Farrell, Assoc. AIA, works on corporate office and retail project for 5G Studio Collaborative in Dallas. He regularly participates in AIA events, including Architecture on Tap and Success Teams. When Zach is not working, you'll find him running, biking, or creating something at his home in East Dallas.
Zach Farrell, Assoc. AIA – courtesy Zach Farrell
If you had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?
Physics, astronomy, medicine, or the fine arts — especially sculpture. A broad spectrum, I know. Most people have favorite tabs on their internet browsers that consist of ESPN Sports Center, NBC News, or MarketWatch. I have links to quantum physics information, phys.org (news and articles on science and technology), and regularly check up on spaceweather.com.
Project ArchiTX: Castano House
Craig McMahon Architects' renovation and new addition to a San Antonio home responds to the South Texas climate and employs a simple materials palette to achieve continuity.
Project Castano House, San Antonio
Architect Craig McMahon Architects
Photographers Dror Baldinger and Mark Menjivar
Craig McMahon Architects’ Castano House is a subtle statement in site efficiency and maximizing an enjoyable aspect of the South Texas climate: its Gulf Coast breeze. The San Antonio-based architect approached the renovation and new addition to the home with a pared-down philosophy regarding space and materials.
The original stucco finish was stripped from the existing house, exposing the concrete structure, and a new rear concrete addition was constructed. Site orientation and passive cooling strategies maximize energy efficiency. A unique, double tilt-wall concrete panel system in the main building was furred out to increase insulation possibilities. The addition is oriented toward the south/southeast, and the numerous operable windows all allow prevailing breezes to pass through the house. Large overhangs protect interior spaces, ensuring zero heat gain from the harsh sun, even on the generous expanses of glazing — including the west-facing clerestory windows.
Architects Talking to Architects: Beth Brant, AIA
Beth Brant, AIA, works at DSGN Associates as a project architect and director of sustainability. Brant received her Masters of Architecture from the Texas A&M University College of Architecture. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two beagles in Dallas.
Beth Brant, AIA – photo courtesy Beth Brant
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Garland, Texas. Growing up in suburbia can be pretty boring for a kid. In my middle school days, just walking to the convenience store down the block seemed like a pretty daring or rebellious thing to do.
Mark T. Wellen on CRAFT
"It was impossible not to be inspired sitting in the Little Chapel in the Woods soaking up the genius that was O’Neil Ford and thinking about all the craftspeople who contributed with such conviction to that place," writes Mark T. Wellen. - photo by Alan Roberts
Mark T. Wellen, FAIA, is a veteran when it comes to Texas Architects Design Conferences, having co-founded the annual event and attended all four so far. The conference, which brings together some of the best minds in the profession to focus on central theme, provides attendees with a smaller, more intimate setting than our Annual Convention. This year, architects explored the theme of CRAFT in Denton, home to many works by O'Neil Ford.
Read more of Wellen's reflections on the 2015 Design Conference.
Project ArchiTX: South Texas Heritage Center
Ford, Powell, & Carson elegantly bridges the past and future with the restoration of The Witte Museum's Pioneer Hall and the creation of a glassy addition.
Project Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center, San Antonio
Client The Witte Museum
Architect Ford, Powell, & Carson
Photographer Dror Baldinger
Architects Talking to Architects: Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA
Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA, is a designer at Clickspring Design, co-founder of DO.GROUP DESIGN, and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. He has an 8-year-old Cornish Rex named Little Bit and enjoys telling bad jokes.
Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA - photo courtesy Christopher Ferguson
If had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?
In first grade, I decided to become a bug doctor, and for a while I was pretty adamant about that career choice. My homeroom teacher urged me to become a veterinarian instead, but I knew that was only because she thought insects were icky. (That's right, Mrs. Janes, I'm calling you out!)
I would love to be a teacher someday. I've been lucky to have had many great ones at every stage of my education. I would like the chance to return the favor.
2015 Design Conference: Recap
Despite snow and freezing rain, the Texas Society of Architects’ 2015 Design Conference: CRAFT took place in Denton this past weekend. The weather conditions required some rearranging of event activities, but all in all, the Design Conference was a wonderfully intimate and stimulating event.
Project ArchiTX: Palma Plaza House
Contemporary cool meets neoclassical character in Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects' Austin family residence renovation, Palma Plaza House.
Project Palma Plaza House, Austin
Client Ryan and Kim Battle
Architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
Photographers Atelier Wong Photography; Whit Preston Photography; Casey Dunn
The clients, a family of four, began their search for a new home with one thought in mind: "Keep your eyes open for a smaller, centrally located, older home with renovation potential." Once the perfect 1935 Greek Revival cottage was located, the creative family brought in Austin-based Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects to begin the remodel.
Architects Talking to Architects: A.J. Sustaita, AIA
A.J. Sustaita, AIA, is a project architect working in the education architecture department of Corgan in Houston. He is a senior editor and contributing writer for YAF Connection, the official e-magazine for young architects produced by AIA's Young Architects Forum. He is also the 2015 chair of the AIA Houston Intern/Associate Network.
A.J. Sustaita, AIA –photo courtesy A.J. Sustaita
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, which is a neighboring city to Houston. Technically, my family and I moved to Sugar Land when I was in the fifth grade from a small Houston community named Alief. Since the vast majority of my childhood and teenage years were spent in Sugar Land, I’ll always consider it to be where I’m truly from. It was there that I played in the backyard with my younger sister Ashley and would later go on to meet friends that I still have to this day. It’s a great city; it has a suburban feel with urban amenities. I love it so much that it’s where my wife Melissa and I decided to raise our two boys, Tristan (4 years old) and Ezra (1 year old).
Project ArchiTX: Sundance Square
Surrounded by a pedestrian-centric, urban landscape and thoughtfully articulated buildings, Sundance Square, by David M. Schwarz Architects, Bennett Benner Partners, and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, brings community space back to downtown Fort Worth.
Fort Worth civic life bustles with the square's multiple programs, including a stage, a jetted fountain area, and shading from invertible umbrellas –photo courtesy Sundance Square Plaza
Project Sundance Square, Fort Worth
Client Sundance Square
Design Architects David M Schwarz Architects
Architect of Record Bennett Benner Partners
Landscape Architects Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Photographer Steve Hall
The completion of Sundance Square and two adjoining buildings in November 2013 marked a milestone achievement in the downtown Fort Worth renaissance, bringing new residents, new services, and a spectacular civic gathering space to the neighborhood and the city.
Sundance Square is the primary outdoor public-gathering space in downtown Fort Worth, and one of the most
significant outdoor gathering spaces in the entire region. The importance of such a citizen-minded plaza was
identified when its development plan was first drafted in 1988. Since then, downtown Fort Worth has seen the development of dozens of new buildings, and the cultivation of a walkable, pedestrian-oriented urban environment.
Advocacy Day 2015: Recap
Every other year, architects from across Texas convene at the State Capitol to advocate for the profession. On February 10, our Third Biannual Advocates for Architecture Day began at the Blanton Museum of Art for training and concluded at the Capitol with architects visiting state House and Senate offices.
Architects Talking to Architects: Adam Thomason, AIA
Adam Thomason, AIA, works at Omniplan as a project architect. He graduated from the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. The majority of Thomason's work has been in commercial retail and multifamily residential projects. Currently, he is working on construction administration of a mall renovation in Littleton, Colorado. His interests include running, hiking, camping, sports, and riding his scooter around town.
Adam Thomason, AIA, and his wife, fresh off the Louisiana Half Marathon –photo courtesy Adam Thomason
Where did you grow up?
That's a tough question for an Army brat. I was born in Iran and eventually ended up in San Antonio. In between that time, “home” has included Ft. Sam Houston, Texas; Columbus, Georgia; Woodbridge, Virginia; West Berlin, Germany; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. I've stayed in Texas since graduating from Texas A&M.
Two Texas Architects Honored With AIA's 2015 Young Architects Award
Derek C. Webb, AIA (L) and Jim Henry, AIA (R) are among the 14 recipients of this year's AIA Young Architects Award. - photos courtesy the honorees
On January 26, the American Institute of Architects announced the recipients of its 2015 Young Architects Award. This honor is given to professionals who have been licensed 10 years or fewer and have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers. Two of this year's 14 recipients, Derek C. Webb, AIA, and James "Jim" Henry, AIA, are Texas Society of Architects members. Congratulations, Derek and Jim!