Students pose with their creation at the end-of-camp presentation. - photo by James Sharp
Last week, The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs (CAPPA) hosted a week-long summer camp for 23 high school students interested in architecture and interior design. The students were treated to an immersive experience, staying in dorms at UTA and working in the studio from 9 to 5 daily. The camp, which is in its 10th year, is overseen by CAPPA Assistant Dean Rebecca Boles, AIA.
Update: UT Living Wall
The first living wall at The University of Texas at Austin has been installed.
Check out this video of the finished product:
UT Austin Installs First Living Wall on Campus from University of Texas at Austin on Vimeo.
Learn more about UT's living wall project here.
Houston's Uncommon Modern Exhibit Receives National Recognition
6000 Heatherbrook Drive - photo by Paul Hester
Docomomo US recently announced the winners of its 2016 Modernism in America Awards, describing the selections as "exemplary of the efforts going on all over the country as the awareness of the importance to advocate, restore and celebrate the architecture, landscapes and typologies of postwar society in the United States." Among the projects honored was AIA Houston's Uncommon Modern exhibit. On display at Architecture Center Houston from November 2015 to February 2016, the exhibit shone a light on the city's often-overlooked midcentury buildings. Business parks, churches, and gas stations were some of the buildings included. The exhibit was curated by Delaney Harris-Finch and Anna Mod, Assoc. AIA, and a catalog is available for purchase here. Congratulations to AIA Houston on the well-deserved recognition!
5502 West Airport Boulevard - photo by Paul Hester
Read more about Houston's Uncommon Modern exhibit in the May/June 2016 issue of Texas Architect.
Michael Malone, AIA, on Reasons to Attend the TxA Prosperity Conference
Why attend the Texas Prosperity Conference? To spend an exciting weekend with colleagues learning about growth strategies for small firms, achieving final success, risk management, and the current economic conditions in Texas. But don’t just take our word for it. Michael Malone, AIA, TxA's immediate past-president, founding principal at Maxwell Malone Borson Architects, and one of the brains behind the new conference, gives us his take:
10 Texas Projects Among ArchDaily’s Top 100
In celebration of 10 years since its launch, ArchDaily has compiled a list of the top 100 American projects on the site. Chosen based on their historical popularity on the site, the projects are presented with expanded material.
Architects in the Outfield
Architects swing for the fences - photo by Richard Deras, AIA
Trading their T-squares for baseball diamonds and designing homes for crossing home plate, a group of architects and engineers gathers every spring at the Rusty Lions fields in San Antonio for friendly games of softball. The league has existed for 22 years and is home to 12 teams representing about 20 firms.
Richard Deras, AIA, Beverly R. Baldwin, AIA, and Duncan McAda organize the league, the only one of its kind in the city. A memorable summer tradition, many of the players have been coming back for years. Deras, who has been playing in the league since its inception, says he returns for the fellowship, with the other teams as well as his own. "Many of the teams have been playing against each other for years, and it seems like each year, we get a new team to expand our fellowship.”
J. Riely Gordon Art Contest Winners Announced
Winners from all of the categories for the J. Riely Gordon art contest proudly display their prizes. - photo courtesy Mieko Mahi
At the J. Riely Gordon Conference this past weekend in Hallettsville, winners of the first J. Riely Gordon art contest were announced. The contest, judged by TxA 2016 President Paul A. Bielamowicz, AIA, Brantley Hightower, AIA, and Emily Little, FAIA, challenged entrants to illustrate some aspect of Gordon’s life or work in any medium.
Convergence: Keynote Speakers
We are excited to introduce the keynote speakers for "Convergence," our 77th Annual Convention and Design Expo. Marion Weiss, FAIA, and Michael Manfredi, FAIA, Eric J. Cesal, Assoc. AIA, and Debbie Millman will be joining us in San Antonio this November.
For the first time, this year we will be hosting four general sessions— two on Friday and two on Saturday. Debbie Millman will speak at the first session on Friday, and Weiss/Manfredi will speak at the second. The Saturday program will feature a session by Eric J. Cesal, as well as the convention's final general session, a panel discussion between all four speakers moderated by Texas Architect editor Aaron Seward.
Registration for the convention will open in July.
Learn more about our speakers:
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.
2016 Texas Trailbreak Reception
The AIA National Convention will be held in Philadelphia on May 19–21 - photo by Ed Yackovich via Wikimedia Commons
The Texas Society of Architects will host our annual Texas Trailbreak reception during the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia. Join us to celebrate the newest Texas Fellows and AIA award winners. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers, entertainment, and a spectacular view of the city as you reconnect with friends and colleagues.
The 2016 Texas Trailbreak Reception will take place Friday, May 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Meet us at the Howe Room and Terrace on the 33rd floor to honor the new Texas Fellows. Please RSVP by April 29 to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Advocacy Update: TBAE to Publish Proposed Rule Changes for Comment
At its February 25 meeting, the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) approved publishing proposed rule changes regarding reciprocal licensing in the Texas Register. The agency will request public comment within the required 30-day period following publication, which is expected in the March 18 Register.
Hallet Oak Gallery and TxA to Sponsor J. Riely Gordon Art Contest and Conference
Ellis County Courthouse - photo by Richard Payne
In honor of celebrated Texas architect J. Riely Gordon (1863-1937), the Hallet Oak Gallery, in partnership with the Texas Society of Architects, is sponsoring a statewide art contest and hosting a conference on June 10–11, 2016, in Hallettsville, Texas. The architect of 18 Texas courthouses, Gordon also designed the Kahn and Stanzel Building (1890), which houses the gallery.
2016 Design Conference: Architects Invade Amarillo
Welcome to Amarillo - photo by Alan R Photography
Last month, architects from around the state made their way to the Texas Panhandle for the Texas Society of Architect’s Fifth Annual Design Conference. This event is an opportunity for practitioners to meet for a weekend of lectures and tours that focus on a specific aspect of design. This year’s conference, held on February 12–14, explored the relationship between designing and building. It was held in Amarillo and in nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park, whose iconic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) projects provided a historical precedent for the discussion.
The conference opened with a downtown walking tour. - photo by Alan R Photography
The conference began with a walking tour of downtown Amarillo and ended at the Amarillo National Bank Building, where the group met for the event’s first lecture. The speakers were Cade Hayes and Jesús Robles, Jr., founding members of DUST, a Tucson-based design/build firm. They shared two of their projects that displayed the level of craft that can be achieved when the same hands that produce a design also execute it. The discussion continued into the evening at a reception and dinner sponsored by AIA Amarillo.
Palo Duro Canyon - photo by Alan R Photography
Early Saturday morning, buses left the conference hotel for the drive south to Palo Duro Canyon. Lit by early morning sunlight, the descent into the canyon floor was breathtaking (and given the size of the buses relative to the road, somewhat harrowing). The Saturday lectures were held in the Mack Dick Group Pavilion, whose large window openings provided panoramic views to the surrounding canyon walls.
Dan Rockhill gave the first lecture of the day. The Kansas-based architect spoke extensively of Studio 804, a nonprofit extension of the University of Kansas that allows graduate students to both design and build community-centered projects. This is a similar model to Auburn University's Rural Studio, whose current director, Andrew Freear, presented next. Freear described the direction the program has taken in the 16 years since he took the reins after the death of its founder, Samuel Mockbee, in 2001.
2016 Design Conference Attendees - photo by Aaron Seward
State Park Interpreter Jeff Davis provided a history of the CCC in Palo Duro Canyon before the group headed back out of the canyon for a final architectural treat: the Sterling Kinney House by Frank Lloyd Wright. This is one of only three houses in Texas designed by the architect. Completed a year after his death, the 2,000-sf Usonian home has been recently restored and provided a fitting end to the day’s activities.
All four speakers participated in a panel discussion led by Andrew Vernooy. - photo by Alan R Photography
On Sunday morning, the group met at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts for a panel discussion featuring the four keynoters and moderated by Texas Tech University College of Architecture Dean Andrew Vernooy. The conversation provided an academic frame to the work of DUST, Rockhill, and Freear, addressing topics that ranged from the role of architecture as a tool of social engagement to the value of experience-based learning in academia.
Although few attendees were themselves associated with design/build practices, the weekend nevertheless provided an opportunity to pause and reflect on their approach to design. It also provided everyone with an opportunity to see good buildings in the company of good friends.
The Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts - photo by Alan R Photography
For more photos of the Fifth Annual Design Conference, see the Facebook album by member Alan Roberts, AIA, and look for Editor Aaron Seward's perspective on the event in the May/June 2016 issue of Texas Architect.
Advocacy Update: 2016 Election — Who We Are Supporting
Most elections these days are effectively decided in the primaries; more legislative races are over once the primary winners are determined in the spring than in the November general election. When did this become the case — and why?
In Texas, two watershed, off-cycle (non-presidential) elections in 2002 and 2010 confirmed in the House of Representatives what was already evident in the Senate and statewide offices — Texas is now solidly (if not overwhelmingly) Republican. Those Republican landslide elections made the party margins in both chambers about 2-to-1 Republican over Democrat.
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.
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!
Project ArchiTX: North Bayfront Park
With North Bayfront Park, Gignac & Associates and Sasaki Associates have transformed Corpus Christi's automobile-populated, seafront landscape into a public green space featuring sustainable technologies and fostering coastal community.
Project North Bayfront Park, Corpus Christi
Client City of Corpus Christi
Architects Gignac & Associates and Sasaki Associates
Photographer Eddie Seal
Following a devastating Category Four hurricane in 1919 that destroyed downtown, Corpus Christi filled a block into the Corpus Christi Bay to construct a new sea wall that would protect the community from future disasters. Since that time, the bayfront has been defined by Shoreline Drive, a wide boulevard designed preliminarily for automobiles, and has provided limited spaces for pedestrians in the hot South Texas sun.
FCDC Releases Nature Preserve Site Photos
The deadline for early bird registration for the Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC) is quickly approaching. Earlier this month, questions and answers were posted to the competition’s website, fieldconstructs.org. Pithy data, including links to soil reports and images of the site, the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin, were included in the document. The site — a former quarry, turned landfill, now nature preserve — encompasses four ecologies: paths, grassland/landfill, wetland, and forest. The images released are striking and show how the topography changes from areas of dense vegetation to open prairie.
Several photos are included below; more are available via the FCDC Dropbox folder.
Architects Talking to Architects: Nick Kovach, AIA
Nick Kovach, AIA, is a BIM manager at BOKA Powell and vice chair of the Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Committee for AIA Dallas.
Nick Kovach, AIA - photo courtesy of BOKA Powell
If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued?
It seems fairly obvious as a BIM manager that I have a technical side, but I have always really enjoyed computer programming. I believe that the process of architecture is explaining something complex using simple instructions. This seems to be similar to the process of writing code. Honestly, I have been programming since I was eight years old. However, I have always felt that if I made it my profession, I would end up disliking it. Without time constraints or deadlines, programming is still quite enjoyable to me.
Project ArchiTX: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School – Dell Fine Arts Center
STG Design illustrates its deft design ability in the execution of a large-scale theater program focused on audience intimacy at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Project St. Andrew's Episcopal School — Dell Fine Arts Center, Austin
Client St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Architect STG Design
Photographer Casey Dunn
STG Design designed and master-planned the St. Andrew's Episcopal high school campus in 1997. The Dell Fine Arts Center is the last element necessary to complete the school’s vision. The 46,400-sf structure consists of a 400-seat proscenium theater and a 125-seat black box theater. With an emphasis on intimacy, the design began with a prerequisite maximum distance of 70 feet from any spectator to the actors on the stage. Subdivided into two tiers, the auditorium space is proportioned to provide the sense of a “sold out” audience, whether 250 or 400 are in attendance.
Architects Talking to Architects: Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA
Texas Architects catches up with University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Professor Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA, who talks to us about growing up with deep family roots in a small town, sourcing inspiration from nature, and immersing himself in the sonic worlds of Radiohead.
Clay Odom, Assoc. AIA - photo by Jesse Knish
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the very small town of Baird, Texas, near Abilene. You might say it’s not the type of place where big ideas in architecture and design are generated; however, what it lacked in cosmopolitan terms it made up for with the deep roots my family has there. I have family on both my mother and father’s sides that have been in and around that town since the 1880s. Needless to say, the sense of knowing where you came from was extremely important when I was growing up and still influences me to this day. I’d also say that the comfort of knowing that I had deep family roots made it easier to make decisions about expanding my horizons as I grew older.
Discovering Craft in Denton
TxA Design Committee Chair Brantley Hightower, AIA, invites you to join him in Denton for keynote presentations, tours, and much more at our Fourth Annual Design Conference: CRAFT.
At the end of February, I am planning to drive from San Antonio up the I-35 corridor. I will not stop in either Dallas or Fort Worth, but will instead continue north another half-hour to the small town of Denton. Although it is a lovely place to visit in its own right, my reason for making this particular trip will be to attend the Texas Society of Architects’ 2015 Design Conference: CRAFT.
Project ArchiTX: House 124
Candid Rogers Architect's House 124 launches Texas Society of Architects' newest blog series Project ArchiTX. The series highlights the outstanding architectural projects in Texas, as well as projects designed by Texas architects and designers. House 124 seemlessly fuses old world and contemporary urban style in a Victorian cottage in San Antonio.
Project House 124, San Antonio
Client Jack and Liza Lewis
Architect Candid Rogers Architect
Photographer Dror Baldinger
The residence at 124 Devine Street is a wood-framed Victorian cottage estimated to be built in the early 1900s. The original size of the three-room shiplap wood house was a little more than 600 sf. At unknown dates (est. 1940–1970’s), multiple additions were added to the rear to serve as additional bedrooms and bathrooms.
NFPA 285 Code Requirements: The Elephant in the Room
Fast Burn -via Flikr; Derek Gavey
Did you know that any cavity wall assembly with rigid foam insulation is required by the International Building Code (IBC) to have passed the National Fire Protect Agency (NFPA) code 285 assembly test? If you’re like most architects, contractors, and code officials — the answer is no. Incredibly, NFPA 285 has been in the code books since 1988 (although under different names).
2014 TxA Gift Guide
With the holiday season in full swing, the Texas Society of Architects has a list of must-see gifts, including Formwork Desk Accessories, Portland Growler Co., Sempli Bottle Openers, Wanderlust City Map Playmats, and Spanish ABC Blocks.
Architects Talking to Architects: Vincent Snyder, AIA
Vincent Snyder, AIA, started his firm, Vincent Snyder Architects, in Austin in 1995. The firm’s work ranges in scale from residential to institutional and is internationally published, exhibited, and recognized. Most recently, Snyder was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome.
Vincent Snyder, AIA, at the Gardens at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy - courtesy Vincent Snyder
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a rural area near the small town of Wahoo, Nebraska, which is situated in the open landscape of the Great Plains. Both the name of the town and the friendly people remind you not to take yourself too seriously. One of the major reasons why my family and I chose to move to Central Texas 20 years ago, after living in several different cities, was Austin’s unique setting. Austin is located at the intersection of four major landscapes, one of which is the Great Plains. I really appreciate the easy access to the variety of rural areas around Austin. When we first arrived in Austin, it would only take you about 15 minutes to drive from the center of the city to the countryside. Although that amount of time has almost doubled, compared to many other major cities it is still relatively quick.
Tiny Victories Competition Winners
AIA Austin and Community First! announced the winners of the Tiny Victories design competition today. The contest sought innovative solutions for affordable, efficient housing and challenged architects to design safe, sustainable, quality microhouses for the homeless. The winning projects will be built at Community First! Village, a 27-acre master-planned community that will provide housing and a wide range of community resources for the disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas. The initiative is a program of Mobile Loaves & Fishes of Austin. Construction of the homes is expected to begin in March of 2015.
Stephi Motal, AIA, Black + Vernooy Architects
- courtesy AIA Austin
Vanishing Rest Stops
Architectural photographer Ryann Ford is looking to document the architectural and cultural significance of America's vanishing rest stops by transforming her photo series of these landmarks into a book. "The Last Stop" Kickstarter campaign, which ends on December 16, aims to make this happen.
Near Post, Texas – U.S. 84 - by Ryann Ford
The Roses Underneath
C.F. Yetmen showcases her architectural knowledge in "The Rose Underneath," a post-World War II thriller with an architect hero at the heart of the story.
“The Roses Underneath”
Ypsilon & Co. Press (2014)
Review by Helen Thompson
One of the heroes in C.F. Yetmen’s enthralling debut novel, “The Roses Underneath,” is an architect, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to Texas professionals who recognize the author’s name. When she's not writing novels, Yetmen devotes her professional life to preparing nomination packages for AIA fellowship candidates. Clear writing and good research are tools of her trade. These habits fortify the gritty story line of her thriller, which takes place in the rubble of American-occupied Wiesbaden just after the end of World War II.
Field Constructs Design Competition
Texas Architect magazine, Ecology Action of Texas, and Pentagram invite you to participate in the first-annual Field Constructs Design Competition. Entries are due by April 1.
***REGISTRATION AND SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 15***
Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC) invites emerging designers, architects, landscape architects, and artists to submit proposals for temporary installations to be sited at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin. The international competition will result in the realization of five to eight submitted entries, selected by a jury of leading figures in architecture, design, and art. The completed installations will open to the public in November of 2015 as part of a week-long event series, which will promote design and community programming at the site.
FREE: Architecture on the Loose
BI's first book-form publication, “FREE: Architecture on the Loose,” presents 26 essays from 23 contributors and explores the exchanges between architecture and its wider cultural context.
FREE: Architecture on the Loose
Editors: E. Sean Bailey and Erandi de Silva
Review by Ronnie Self
Free love, free labor, utopia, barbed wire, Generation X, gay decorators, Le Corbusier, the Arab Spring, land art, the future...
Architects Talking to Architects: Kory Bieg, AIA
Kory Bieg is an assistant professor of architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2005, Bieg founded OTA+, an architecture, design, and research office that specializes in advanced digital design and construction technologies. He is the chair of TxA Emerging Design + Technology and a co-director of TEX-FAB. He is a registered architect in the state of California, Colorado, and Texas.
Kory Bieg, AIA – courtesy Kory Bieg
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico – home of green chile! I used to spend afternoons and weekends driving around the state, exploring the land. The adobe architecture is incredible and real, unlike the bland cookie cutters being stamped through the suburbs of most states. It was this landscape that influenced my design sensibilities. Take a trip to Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness or Tent Rocks, and you’ll know what I mean. The land is full of otherworldly forms that will blow your mind.
Architizer A+ Awards — Final Submissions Due December 19
Architizer’s call for entries for the Third Annual A+Awards, honoring the best architecture, spaces, and products across the globe, will close on December 19. Submissions are open for 93 categories, including 11 new architecture categories and 33 new product categories.
In collaboration with partners The Wall Street Journal, WSJ Magazine, the Webby Awards, Dwell, and Cool Hunting, the A+Awards reach 300+ jurors, 100,000 public voters, and dozens of media outlets across the globe. And unlike most awards programs, which honor just one or a handful of firms and brands, the A+Awards give unprecedented exposure to hundreds of finalists, and 100+ winners.
Architects Talking to Architects: James Haliburton, AIA
James Haliburton, AIA, is a partner at SZH Architecture in Bryan and is a lecturer at Texas A&M University. He enjoys writing in the third person, riding motorcycles, playing contact sports, engaging in witty banter, and being a dad.
James Haliburton, AIA - courtesy James Haliburton
Do you listen to music when designing? What kind?
I listen to music constantly. Sometimes the music is coming from speakers, and sometimes it is just in my head. When I’m entrenched in creative activities, I usually waffle between music with a fast beat with lyrics that are full of angst and classical music. When I’m performing meaningless tasks that I haven’t yet figured out how to program my computer to accomplish, I prefer to listen to podcasts, news broadcasts, or audiobooks.