Advocacy Update: Getting “Trump-ed” by Negative Politics? Don’t Let It Get You Down.
At the most basic level, being an active citizen is really easy — just register and vote. This year to vote in the Texas primary election you must be registered to vote by next Monday, February 1.
Your Texas Primary Election Day is March 1, and early voting begins February 16th through February 26th. You can vote for a candidate, party, or political philosophy — or you can vote against overblown, nasty rhetoric, and bombastic non-responses by those who seek your support without really doing anything to earn it. But since most candidates are effectively elected in party primaries rather than November’s General Election, it is critical that we be involved NOW!
TAC Houston Spotlight: Wendy Heger, AIA
TAC Houston kicks off a monthly spotlight featuring Houston architects sharing what architectural advocacy means to them. The inaugural post features Wendy Heger, AIA, of Page, who shares how she finds it "empowering that architects, even those who compete against each other, can rally toward a common cause to raise the profession."
- photos courtesy Wendy Heger, AIA
What is your current/past experience with AIA?
Currently, I am the TxA Vice President for Advocacy. My past positions include:
TAC Executive Trustee 2014–2015
TAC Advocacy Houston Advisory Committee 2013–2015, Chair 2014
ArCH Foundation Board 2006–2009, President 2009
AIA Houston Board 2002, Public Relations
UTSOA Studio to Bring the WATNEY to SXSW
The WATNEY will be installed at Republic Square Park in Austin during SXSW Eco – rendering courtesy Kory Bieg
The Bieg Design V studio at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture is currently designing an ambitious installation project called WATNEY to be on display at SXSW Eco this March.
San Antonio River Barge Design Competition
San Antonio River – photo courtesy AIA San Antonio
In celebration of San Antonio’s upcoming 300th anniversary in 2018, the City of San Antonio and AIA San Antonio have launched the River Barge Design Competition. The competition challenges designers to "reimagine the ‘river barge’ experience as a quality transportation option with a newly designed, more sustainable and modular fleet using innovative technology to meet the needs of both tourists and residents." Local, national, and international teams are invited to submit their innovative designs.
2016 Convention – Save the Date!
Our 77th Annual Convention and Design Expo, themed "Convergence," will take place on November 3-5, 2016. More than 3,000 people will convene at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, the heart of Texas history, for this event.
Sessions and tours will explore how different cultures, geographical features, and design ideas have come together to influence the development and ongoing transformation of San Antonio, as well as other cities across the state, and how various disciplines and approaches are being combined to produce meaningful impact on the built environmnent.
Our Call for Presentations for this convention will open in January. We will be searching for the most timely, engaging, relevant sessions, so get your thinking caps on to help us put together an inspiring program for 2016.
Products: Curtain Wall Systems
By Rita Catinella Orrell
These curtain wall and glazing solutions help architects keep building views at a premium without sacrificing thermal efficiency, structural integrity, and sun control.
CRL-U.S. Aluminum’s new Unit-Glazed Systems for installing commercial storefronts and window walls allow glaziers to fabricate in their own shop environments, reducing field labor by as much as 50 percent while accelerating the installation process. The manufacturer’s Unit Split mullions and Gravity Loaded sill flashing enable installers to easily snap each Unit-Glazed section together in the field. All Unit-Glazed Systems have been fully tested and approved for structural integrity and air and water infiltration. Shown here is the Encore Condominiums project in Nashville by the Atlanta-based firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates.
Architects Talking to Architects: Julie Huynh, Assoc. AIA
Julie Huynh, Assoc. AIA, is an intern architect at Kendall / Heaton Associates in Houston, where she is currently working on the Golden State Warriors Arena in San Francisco. Julie is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and alumna and mentor to the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program and Terry Foundation. Julie enjoys attending classes at The Jung Center and regularly contributes to a peer reading group, The Collective Perspective.
Julie Huynh, Assoc. AIA – courtesy Julie Huynh
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Amarillo, which is considered "West Texas," even though it's actually located geographically north within the heart of the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo is a small, conservative city that may be more reminiscent of suburbia than city. It is widely known for two particularly unique attractions: on view year-round is its display of 10 colorful Cadillacs buried nose-down in fallow farmland at the same angle as the Pyramids of Giza, a spectacle that may come just secondary to its generous 72 oz. steak dinner, complete with a baked potato, salad, bread, butter, and shrimp cocktail.
Fortunately for me, I've grown to know a different kind of Amarillo. I grew up where the sunsets were the most vivid paintings stretching across the horizon, where the backdrop to the black night sky allowed the luminosity of the stars to glare ever more brilliant. I grew up in a place of contrasting scales, and it's made me realize how remarkably profound those scales can be.
Architects Talking to Architects: Xavier A. Vargas, AIA
Xavier A. Vargas, AIA, works as a project architect for Randall-Porterfield Architects, based out of League City. Vargas is currently involved with a school renovation for HISD.
Xavier A. Vargas, AIA – photo courtesy Randall-Porterfield Architects
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Seabrook, Tex., or as I would tell people unfamiliar with the area, “near NASA.” Although it is close to the water and I passed by marinas everyday, I never ventured out into the water very often. However, I sure do enjoy the seafood. I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t left this area yet.
Architects Talking to Architects: Catherine Callaway, AIA
Catherine Callaway, AIA, is an associate with BNIM currently working on the renovation of the Sunset Coffee Building on Buffalo Bayou, the new Knoll showroom in Houston, and strengthening the firm’s capabilities in human-purposed, high-performance, integrated design across the country. She works from home and manages the strained relationship between her office mates, Buffalo (the dog) and Mabel (the cat). Catherine’s years of involvement with AIA Houston and The Rice Design Alliance has led to exciting leadership opportunities and fruitful relationships. On the weekend, look for Catherine building a recycled cardboard castle with her daughter and son, leading a walking tour of The University of Houston’s art and architecture through the ArCH tours program, or watching horses in the pasture at her in-laws house in Fayetteville.
Selfie on the site of the new Knoll Houston showroom – photo courtesy Catherine Callaway
Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in Houston, my understanding of the city was defined by the Spring Branch/Memorial area where I grew up. Downtown Houston was unapproachable, other than going to see a performance or doing research at the Julia Ideson Library. Beyond the occasional visit to a museum and Rice Village, I knew very little about what existed within Loop 610. I escaped to North Carolina for college, worked for Habitat for Humanity, and never wanted to move back to Houston, until my dad helped convince me that going to UH for my Masters in Architecture would be a great idea. Indeed it was, and I have enjoyed getting to know more of Houston and taking part in its transformation into an attractive, diverse, kick-ass city. Shameless plug: I highly recommend the walking tours provided by the Architecture Center Houston for anyone wanting to learn more about the city!
St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austin – photo by Jason John Paul Haskins
St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austin has announced that it is considering a demolition permit for their iconic and beloved church building as an option for the future development of their downtown site. Completed in 1960, the Jessen Jessen Millhouse and Greeven — later known as Jessen Associates — designed church stands out among the many excellent, if not well-known, mid-century Texas churches. AIA Austin recognized the building with its 25 Year Award in 2007 calling the building “magnificent” and praising its “craft-like detailing, timeless quality, and reverent calmness."
Architects Talking to Architects: Ian M. Ellis, Assoc. AIA
Ian M. Ellis, Assoc. AIA, is a design associate and project manager at Matt Fajkus Architecture in Austin. Ellis also serves as an advisory board member for Magic Always Happens, a multidisciplinary, nonprofit research organization exploring innovative solutions regarding design, disabilities, disorders, and diseases.
Ian M. Ellis, Assoc. AIA - photo by Amber Rose McConnell
If you had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?
I’d likely still be involved in some kind of design field that provides problems that need solving. I feel that in an alternate universe, my other self would be creating environments for the film or video game industries or working as a landscape architect. I find a lot of these designed experiences — whether on screen or in real life — lend themselves to being quite cinematic and surreal at times. As a result, I try to learn from these vignettes and take inspiration from them.
2015 Studio Awards — Winners Announced
(Clockwise from top left) The winning projects: Kaihui Exchange by WW Architecture in Houston; J-Camp by Interloop Architecture in Houston; Saints Peter and Paul Chapel by Danze Blood Architects; and Dalian Airport Terminal Competition, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport by Corgan Dallas – renderings courtesy 2015 Studio Awards recipients
The Texas Society of Architects Studio Awards recognize unbuilt projects demonstrating innovation and excellence in design. The program emphasizes real or theoretical projects that go beyond the boundaries of architecture to address current critical issues. This year's submissions offered a variety of building typologies proposed for locations in Texas and abroad, predominately Asia. Four projects were selected from among the 72 entries. The awarded projects all demonstrate pure architecture that, in the jury’s opinion, could be “understood through the drawings alone, without the words.”
Architects Talking to Architects: Christian Sheridan, AIA
Christian Sheridan, AIA, is an associate principal for BRAVE / Architecture in Houston. He currently designs, manages projects, mentors interns, lectures to students of all ages, provides pro bono services, and volunteers for professional and community organizations. Sheridan's photographic themes range from Texas’ rural firework stands to its suburban neighborhoods and have been recognized by AIA National’s photography competition on multiple occasions. Outside of the office, Sheridan has completed multiple half-marathons and is currently training for his fourth Chicago Marathon.
Christian Sheridan, AIA – courtesy Christian Sheridan
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. To compensate for this, I know a lot of facts about the Hoosier State. After high school, I came to Texas to continue growing up. To answer the questions that usually follow:
- Yes, I play(ed) basketball.
- Yes, it does get cold there.
- And yes, sarcasm keeps us warm in the winter.
FCDC Announces Four Winners
A buoyant chain of balloons wired with sensors floating above the landscape; a camouflaged canopy laser-cut from polished steel; a brightly-colored egg overgrown with grass; and a patterned root system fabricated on a digital lathe are the four 2015 Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC) winners. Last November, FCDC invited emerging designers, architects, landscape architects, and artists to participate in a juried competition to design, fabricate, and install a site-specific intervention at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin. These final four projects capture the mission FCDC and marry experimentation with design innovation while uniquely addressing the history and ecology of the competition site.
The winners represent a diverse group of architects, landscape architects, and designers, focusing on digital fabrication, material innovation, and interactive design. Themes of camouflage; waste cycles in a landfill; dynamic, repetitive, growth in nature; and interactivity unite the four projects — which will all generate, apply, and test innovative thinking with regard to site specificity, environmental impact, and the use of new technological advancements in design. As small-scale installations on view at Circle Acres from November 14 to 22, the projects also represent the possibility of engaging the public by promoting the value of contemporary design along with the mission of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve.
Architects Talking to Architects: Erik Murray, AIA
Erik Murray, AIA, is an associate principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates in San Antonio.
Erik Murray, AIA, building a chicken coop – photo courtesy of Erik Murray
Where did you grow up?
I spent most of my childhood in Kerrville, a sweet little city tucked away in the Texas Hill Country. I remember stomping through the woods around my house (undeveloped land) and riding my bike all over the city. As I approached high school, I was chomping at the bit to move to a bigger city where “all the action” was happening. I didn’t really know what I had. I’ve been gravitating back to smaller places ever since graduating from architecture school. The funny thing about being an architect, though, is that there are more opportunities in cities, because there are more buildings.
Lake|Flato Architects Coming to Austin in 2016
Downtown Austin along the Lady Bird Lake waterfront – photo by Thomas McConnell
San Antonio-based Lake|Flato Architects will soon be making Austin its second home. The firm has had a distinct presence in the city over the past 30 years, having designed several its iconic structures including Hotel San Jose, The University of Texas AT&T Executive Education Center, and the Harry Ransom Center. Lake|Flato Architects' new office hopes to build upon strong existing relationships and continue to help shape the urban transformation underway in the "Live Music Capital of The World."
Architects Talking to Architects: Bayardo Selva, AIA
Bayardo Selva, AIA, is an architect at cre8 Architects in Houston.
Bayardo Selva, AIA – photo courtesy Bayardo Selva
If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued?
It is difficult for me not to think of myself as an architect. This has been the only profession I ever thought of pursuing since I was a kid. Putting things together has always been my thing, and if I had to choose another occupation, I would still have chosen a career that allowed me to do that. When I attended college at the University of Louisiana’s School of Architecture and Design, their programs included interior and industrial design programs. This allowed for a cross-pollination of ideas between students and faculty. This exposure left me with a certain curiosity for the industrial design field. Although industrial designers think up and make most of the things we use every day, most people don’t even know industrial design exists as a profession.
FCDC + East Austin Studio Tour
Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC) has announced that their 2015 installations will be the first special event of the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) to occur south of the Colorado River.
The FCDC winners will be on display at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin’s Montopolis neighborhood on November 14–22. Phase One of the international design competition wrapped up earlier this summer with 18 projects honored as 2015 Jury Selection Finalists.
EAST is a free, self-guided tour that invites the public to discover a breadth of local and regional artistic talent on view in working studios, galleries, and public spaces. The 2015 event will occur over two weekends, November 14–15 and November 21–22. An open call for entries begins July 20.
FCDC’s collaboration with EAST will help realize the mission of bringing good design to the larger public and creating awareness for the transformative work Ecology Action of Texas is accomplishing at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve.
Architects Talking to Architects: Michael Kaiser, Assoc. AIA
Michael Kaiser, Assoc. AIA, is a principal and director of design at The Beck Group in Dallas.
Michael Kaiser, Assoc. AIA – photo courtesy Emillia Garcia
If you had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?
I would have probably been some kind of designer — industrial or graphic. When I was a kid, I always drew and designed things — cars, airplanes, Star Wars fighters (I was really good at drawing explosions in space). When I was a teenager and wanted to be Eddie Van Halen, I spent more time drawing guitars and concert stages for my fictitious band than I did playing the instrument. My mother gave me great advice: You’re not very good at playing guitar…Stick to drawing. So I did.
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.