Robert E. Velten, AIA: 1929–2016
Robert E. Velten, AIA, dedicated Brownsville architect - photo courtesy AIA LRGV
Robert E. Velten, AIA, of Brownsville passed away on May 16. A native Texan, Velten practiced architecture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In a way, he was entering the family business, as his father was a prolific contractor in Brownsville. Velten received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from Texas A&M University. After serving in the Air Force, he worked for Henry D. Mayfield, Fehr & Granger, and A. H. Woolridge before opening his own architectural practice in 1959.
Q&A with Tere O'Connell, AIA
When the City of Austin decided to use East Austin’s historic Dedrick-Hamilton house as the basis for a new African American Cultural Heritage Facility, the job fell to Austin preservationist Tere O’Connell, AIA, to unearth details of the home’s history and how best to preserve it. O’Connell spoke with Texas Architect about the ever-changing priorities that drive demand for preservation work, and the challenge of preservation in a community where so much history either is lost or was never officially recorded. The interview was conducted by Patrick Michels.
Historic preservation architect Tere O'Connell, AIA - photo courtesy Tere O'Connell
From a preservation standpoint, what makes the Dedrick-Hamilton House so special?
I’ve been involved with this house for much longer than the duration of the project. I started becoming involved with historic preservation issues in the neighborhood in 1990, back when I was with the Texas Historical Commission. I fought for a very long time to keep houses in the neighborhood from being demolished and had many contentious meetings, and I even got called into a state representative’s office and was told to stay out of East Austin.
Logic Tobola, FAIA: 1940–2016
St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, a moveable prototype designed by Tobola - image via Tobola Design Award submission, 2015
Logic Tobola II, FAIA, passed away on May 21. Tobola was born in El Campo, Texas, in 1940 and lived on his grandparents’ farm in a Czech community. He attended The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and proceeded to serve as a practicing architect for more than 50 years. He was an associate and then a partner at the firm of Pierce, Goodwin, and Alexander. Later, he returned to the farm in El Campo and established his own architectural practice.
UTSA Undergrads Honored by AIA COTE
A rendering shows the transformation of the big box structure and parking lot - rendering courtesy UTSA
University of Texas at San Antonio undergrads Isaias Garcia Coronado and Daniel Rodriguez Suarez have been honored by the AIA Committee on the Environment for their project proposal, “Banding for Knowledge.” Selected as one of the winners in the 2015-2016 Top Ten for Students Design Competition, their project re-envisions the use of an abandoned big box store in San Antonio. Their work is on view at the AIA Annual Convention this week in Philadelphia.
Jim Williamson Named Dean at Texas Tech College of Architecture
Jim Williamson - photo courtesy Cornell University
The Texas Tech School of Architecture has named Jim Williamson its new dean. Himself a graduate of Tech’s undergraduate architecture program, Williamson will assume his new role on August 1.
Bill Booziotis, FAIA: 1935–2016
Bill Booziotis, FAIA - photo by Cason Hallock
Bill Booziotis, FAIA, passed away on May 11. The son of Greek immigrants, Booziotis was born in Dallas in 1935. He studied architecture at The University of Texas at Austin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1965, he became a founding partner of Thomas and Booziotis, which became Booziotis & Company Architects in 1989.
Absence (and Renovation) Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
The TxA office, shiny and new after months of renovation - photo by Alyssa Morris
After several eager attempts, the TxA staff have finally begun to move upstairs into our freshly constructed office space. While the communications team will miss the water feature in our temporary basement office (a persistently leaky dishwasher that provided us with an endless stream of water and entertainment), the windows we have gained more than make up for it. Many thanks to Flynn Construction for being excellent partners in the process.
As with any renovation project, there have been growing pains as we learn to navigate our new spaces — how do we communicate when we aren’t sitting right next to each other? What do we do with this much desk space? How can it possibly be so quiet? This has been a constant refrain as our construction crew has begun to move out and the newly installed soundproofing has begun to do its work.
2016 Design Award Winners
Congratulations to this year's Design Award winners! Our distinguished jurors, Thomas Hacker, FAIA, Mauricio Rocha, Dan Wheeler, FAIA, and Clive Wilkinson, FAIA, spent two days in Austin deliberating over nearly 300 projects. They selected 10 that they felt were the best representations of architecture in the state of Texas. The projects are presented below with a selection of juror comments.
Overheard at the 2016 Design Awards Jury
The 2016 jurors, down to their final few projects.] - photo by Elizabeth Hackler
On May 5 and 6, the 2016 TxA Design Awards jury gathered in Austin to deliberate over 285 projects. Thomas Hacker, FAIA, Mauricio Rocha, Dan Wheeler, FAIA, and Clive Wilkinson, FAIA, had a lively discussion as they narrowed down the projects to the eventual winners. Their conversation spanned the breadth of Texas architecture and beyond. Below, I have provided a selection of their most memorable quotes from the final round of deliberations on Friday morning.
UTSOA Team Wins HUD Affordable Housing Contest
A rendering from the team's presentation illustrates the project's sustainability. - rendering courtesy UTSOA
On April 19, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the winner of its third annual Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition. Sarah Simpson, Brett Clark, Megan Richer, Brianna Garner Frey, and Tatum Lau from The University of Texas at Austin took home top honors.
Designed to represent a real-life approach, the contest challenges graduate students from a variety of fields to “address social, economic, and environmental issues in responding to a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing agency.” The jury sought projects that were first and foremost innovative, with sustainability and affordability serving as important factors.
2016 Studio Awards Entry Form Now Online
(Clockwise from top left) The winning projects from 2015: 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. Real or theoretical projects that go beyond the boundaries of architecture to address current critical issues are encouraged.
TxA is now accepting entries for our 2016 Studio Awards competition. To be considered, a design must have been completed after January 1, 2011.
AIA Austin Jury Conversation
AIA Austin gathered its 2016 Design Awards jury for an evening of conversation. - photo by Patrick Wong
On the eve of Design Awards judging, AIA Austin gathered its distinguished jury for a panel discussion about their work and individual points of view. Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, of Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects, Nonya Grenader, FAIA, associate director of Rice University’s Building Workshop and principal of her own small firm, Linda Taalman, of Los Angeles’ Taalman Koch, and Angela Watson, AIA, of Boston’s Shepley Bulfinch, represented a diverse mix of projects and opinions, making for a lively conversation. The panel was moderated by David Heymann, FAIA, professor at The University of Texas School of Architecture and author of "My Beautiful City Austin."
UT Austin to Install Living Wall Five Years in the Making
The wall will be built over a honeycomb-shaped trellis and extend to the ground - rendering courtesy UTSOA
On May 16, volunteers will come together to install a living wall at The University of Texas at Austin. The project is funded by the school’s Green Fee Award. Spearheaded by UT Austin Vice President for Operations Pat Clubb, the living wall project is being shepherded by Assistant Professor Danelle Briscoe. The idea for the wall was put forth by a former Austin city councilman, Chris Riley. The first wall will be installed on the northwest corner of the school of architecture, with others to follow depending on the impact of the project on campus.
Webinar: Solar for Independent School Districts
Solar panels - photo by David Monniaux via Wikimedia Commons
The Comptroller of Public Accounts State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) will sponsor a webinar hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments aimed at providing resources for independent school districts interested in going solar on May 6 at 11:30 a.m. Architects working with school districts throughout Texas (not just North Central Texas) might benefit from hearing SECO’s solar pitch to local ISDs.
According to a release from Comptroller Glenn Hegar, the webinar will cover the following topics:
- Case studies about two school districts' efforts to go solar
- National resources available to help schools go solar
- Funding opportunities for schools going solar
Register now to attend.
Audio conference: Dial 1-145-655-0002
Event number: 666 416 372
Event password: NCTsolar
Advocacy Update: When We Do The Numbers
There is a primary run-off election on May 24. VOTE—in the same primary you voted in last month! (If you did not vote in the March 1 primary election, you can still vote in the run-off, so long as you are registered by April 25.) After May 24, you can relax until fall.
Looking ahead, there are officially 16 Senate and 150 House seats up for grabs November 8. A closer look, however, lessens the suspense. We see that only four (4) Senate and 54 House races were not already ultimately decided when a primary winner was chosen. 166 minus 58 gives us 108 already elected legislators. Combined with the 15 mid-term Senators elected in 2014, it means that 123—more than two-thirds—of the 181-member 2017 Texas Legislature are already safe from any November electoral catastrophe.
William Dupont, FAIA, Works to Preserve Hemingway’s Finca Vigia in Cuba
William Dupont, FAIA - photo courtesy UTSA
William Dupont, FAIA, San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professor of Architecture and Director of the Center for Cultural Sustainability at The University of Texas at San Antonio, leads a consulting team who may be the only professional architects and preservationists allowed by both the U.S. and Cuban governments to work in Cuba. Even as the Obama administration has opened relations with the island nation, the opportunities for architects to work there are still almost nonexistent. Currently, Dupont is collaborating with a team of Cuban professionals at Hemingway’s Finca Vigia.
Lake|Flato Home Wins AIA Housing Award
Hog Pen Creek's boardwalk connects the main house with a guest space and lake pavillion. - photo by Casey Dunn
Lake|Flato’s Hog Pen Creek Residence, featured in the September/October 2014 issue of Texas Architect, has been honored with a 2016 AIA Housing Award. The project is one of 10 across the country being honored, and the only one in Texas. This is not the first award for the project, which has also received AIA San Antonio’s 2013 Merit Award and a 2014 TxA Design Award.
Texas A&M Students Creating Designs for New Mavericks Facility
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discusses student work - photo courtesy Texas A&M
Bryan Trubey, FAIA, director of HKS’ sports and entertainment division (learn more in the March/April 2016 issue of Texas Architect) and a group of graduate students from the Texas A&M University College of Architecture are working with Mark Cuban to design a new practice facility for his team, the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban hopes to build the facility within the next two years at an as yet undetermined site in Dallas. In the meantime, the students are presenting their ideas, which will not be built, as an exercise in learning to work on high profile projects with high profile clients.
San Antonio River Barge Design Winner Announced
Houston's METALAB has been chosen as the winner of AIA San Antonio's river barge design competition.
METALAB's festive barge can be changed to accomodate different uses - rendering courtesy AIA San Antonio
AIA San Antonio announced the winner of its river barge design competition on Friday. Houston’s METALAB created the winning design, a barge inspired by papel picado with various deck components to accommodate different uses.
River Barge Design Competition Finalists Announced
Finalist Luna Architecture's proposed redesign of San Antonio's iconic river barge - rendering courtesy AIA San Antonio
In honor of San Antonio’s upcoming 300th anniversary in 2018, AIA San Antonio has sponsored an international design competition to re-imagine the River Walk’s iconic river barge (see our earlier post about the competition here). The contest is seeking to discover a barge that is more sustainable, serving commuters as well as tourists. This includes making the fleet of barges entirely electric.
Everything Old is New Again
Construction progresses under the beamed ceiling at 500 Chicon - photo by Elizabeth Hackler
500 Chicon, with its exposed brick, soaring roof beams, and center atrium, is already beautiful. But the things that we love most about the building are also the things that cause challenges when attempting a renovation. In order to improve its functionality, changes to the HVAC system and acoustics needed to be made. The exposed brick walls lend character, but they lack insulation completely. The open nature of the space allows light to reach deeper into the basement, but it also allows sound to travel without impediment. This became the most pressing question when undertaking an update: How do we preserve the things we love about the original building and the 2002 renovation while making the space more functional?
2016 Design Awards Jurors Announced
The Texas Society of Architects is proud to announce the jurors for our 2016 Design Awards competition. We look forward to their presence in Austin on May 5–6, when they convene to decide our winners. As a reminder, Design Award entries can be submitted here and will be accepted until March 31.
Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, Named Interim Dean at UTSOA
Elizabeth Danze, FAIA - photo courtesy danzeblood.com
The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA) has named Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, interim dean effective July 1. A graduate of UTSOA and the Yale School of Architecture, Danze is a principal at Austin-based Danze Blood Architects and the current associate dean for graduate programs at the UT Austin.
Q&A with David Adjaye
Before she died in 2007, artist, collector, and philanthropist Linda Pace commissioned David Adjaye to design her Foundation's new gallery, called "Ruby City." TA contributor Patrick Michels talks to the architect about the gallery design, his experience working in Texas, and what advice he has for architects in our state looking to create meaningful public spaces.
David Adjaye - courtesy Adjaye Associates
How did you become involved with the Linda Pace Foundation, and how does this building reflect Linda Pace's influence?
I came to San Antonio in 2007 to meet with Linda, and she shared with me a sketch she had created of an idea that came to her in a dream of a “Ruby City.” That vision, of a jewel-like structure sited on San Antonio’s San Pedro Creek, was a powerful inspiration. During the trip, we explored the Foundation’s property and the extraordinary San Antonio Missions. The architecture of the Missions informed the design — particularly with respect to the vaulting and skylit gallery. We were also motivated by the topography of the site and the wider project to rehabilitate the area into a vibrant new urban park and cultural campus. So the design for the building also became about creating an important civic moment for the city.
Pardon Our Dust
By Alyssa Morris
Construction progress as 500 Chicon undergoes a renovation - photo by Elizabeth Hackler
500 Chicon, the headquarters of the Texas Society of Architects, is once again undergoing a renovation. Indeed, the building’s history has been characterized by change. What began as an oil company warehouse in the 20s evolved into offices for a design firm, fd2s, and one of the first projects in a wave of revitalization sweeping East Austin. The neighborhood has changed drastically over the past 15 years, and now the office sits squarely in the middle of some of Austin’s trendiest bars and restaurants.