500 Chicon: 2014 Design Awards Entries Are In!
2014 Design Awards entries flood the 500 Chicon reception desk - photo by Elizabeth Hackler
Yesterday at 5:00 p.m, the Texas Society of Architects closed the entry period for our 2014 Design Awards. The TxA Design Awards recognize outstanding architectural and urban design projects by architects practicing in Texas to promote public interest in design excellence.
Advocacy Update: The New World of Texas Politics — What It Means for You
About a week after the March 4th primary election, I addressed AIA Dallas’ Emerging Professionals leadership class where I asked them how many had voted. Of the 30 people in the room, only two hands went up — and one of those was mine! That’s about a 6.6% participation rate — abysmal, though unfortunately not that far off the statewide percentage.
To make matters worse, three Dallas-area legislators — all genuine supporters of the profession with numerous architect friends and truly qualified, intelligent solons — lost their races by a margin of less than 1%.
Architects Talking to Architects: John Gates, AIA, of McAllen
John Gates, AIA, is a principal at Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects in McAllen. In 2008, he was named a Citizen Architect by the American Institute of Architects for his seven years of public service to the City of McAllen’s Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
John Gates, AIA - courtesy Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Missouri. I lived near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in a town about 30 miles north of St. Louis called Florissant. After high school graduation, I moved to Lawrence, Kansas, to attend the University of Kansas. After college in 1992, the economy for architecture students was not too different than it is currently. I was fortunate to find a job in Park City, Utah, with a small firm called Form15 owned by Hank Louis, the founder of DesignBuildBluff. After about six years in Park City, I moved to Salt Lake City to work for a larger firm. I got married in 1997, and a year later my wife was transferred to McAllen, Texas, where we have happily resided for the last 15 years.
Beyond the Boardroom: Three Days in D.C. at AIA Grassroots
I always enjoy going to Washington, D.C., and attending AIA Grassroots last week was no exception. Spending days in hotel ballrooms is not my favorite part of any conference, but Grassroots is all about reaching out to our elected officials concerning issues that are important to architects — so we headed for the Hill.
500 Chicon: Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, Talks Convention Futures
By Charlotte Friedley
Last month, the TxA Convention Futures Committee gathered at 500 Chicon, where I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, a new member of the committee. Danze took some time to talk with me and shared her enthusiasm for the work the team is doing.
The Convention Futures Committee is responsible for helping to plan, not the current year’s convention, but ones in the years to come. Currently, Danze and the other committee members are focused on our 2015 Convention, which will take place in Dallas.
Architects Talking to Architects: Davey McEathron, AIA
Davey McEathron, AIA, is an architect at Carter Design Associates and co-founder of ¡el grupo! After touring with an array of indie rock bands through his 20s unencumbered by real responsibilities, McEathron recieved his Bachelors of Science in Architecure from Portland State University. Texas Architects caught up with McEathron post-final-ARE to learn about his journey to become an architect.
Davey McEathron, AIA, and his wife Rebecca out canoeing - courtesty Davey McEathron
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Alief, Texas. It’s a suburb of Houston. We moved every year when I was a kid, but we always lived in Alief. I went to six different elementary schools and three different middle schools. We moved every year when I was in high school, but we stayed in the same district. Every year, I was forced to make new friends. I was lucky enough to remain in the same high school, though. While all the moving may have been tragic at the time, I believe it made it easy on me as an adult to be able to meet new people and feel comfortable around strangers.
After high school, I moved to the Montrose — a neighborhood near downtown Houston that was in transition in the early 90s. The neighborhood was full of artists and musicians. It was a fun place to be. I was greatly shaped by my life in the Montrose.
Media and Technology in Architecture: The Morpholio Project App
Morpholio is part of a project geared towards architects and academics that provides digital tools for contemporary design practice and education. The Morpholio team has managed to round up some rather impressive sponsors, including Dyson, Herman Miller, and 3Form. The project's success can be seen with it massive list of collaborators from private practice and academia. Unlike many other similar services, Morpholio is free — although not without its limits.
Beyond the Boardroom: Looking Ahead in 2014
Texas Architects board members and leadership are staying up-to-date on developments with AIA, especially those related to changes in board restructuring. While it’s not a hot topic for most AIA members, how and by whom the Institute is to be governed into the future is an issue that will determine how effective the Institute becomes, and how effectively it represents its membership. TxA leaders have strong concerns about how local, state, and regional chapters will interact with the reorganized AIA board being proposed.
Architects Talking to Architects: Matthew Faulkner, AIA
Matthew Faulkner, AIA, recieved his Masters of Architecture from Texas A&M University. He continues to work in Bryan, where he has founded PACT Design Studio.
Matthew Faulkner, AIA - photo courtesy Ari Jones Photography
SNEAK PEEK at Texas Architect’s New Feature –– "Products"
In its March/April 2014 issue, Texas Architect will unveil a new addition to its table of contents –– “Products.” This new recurring section of the magazine allows the TA team to share with its readers the latest in architectural products and technological innovations.
Catherine Gavin, editor of Texas Architect, says that the inclusion of cutting-edge products will add a bit of diversity to the magazine by allowing it to cover a wider breadth of topics. It will also give the Society a chance to get to know more regional manufacturers and increase its pool of potential advertisers.
Architects Talking to Architects: Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA
Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA, works as a designer for the Austin-based firm Dick Clark + Associates. Before studying architecture, Reed studied literature, science, and art history at Hamilton College in Upstate New York. She recieved her Masters in Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012.
Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA – courtesy Johanna Reed
Lorena Toffer, AIA, of Dallas Receives 2014 AIA Young Architects Award
Congratulations are in order for Texas Architect Lorena Toffer, AIA. Toffer, a member of AIA Dallas and an associate at Corgan, has been honored with a 2014 AIA Young Architects Award. This award is presented 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.
Lorena Toffer, AIA - courtesy Corgan Associates
Toffer is one of the 18 architects from across the country to receive AIA's Young Architects Award this year. A design leader, advocate for diversity and inclusion, and community activist who received her own chapter's Young Architect of the Year Award in 2011, she truly exemplifies servant leadership in architecture.
DesCon 2014 Held in Austin This Past Weekend
The Texas Society of Architects hosted our Third Annual Design Conference: Borderlands in Austin this past weekend, Jan. 31–Feb. 2. Over 50 people were in attendance for the three-day event, which was filled with presentations, tours, and stimulating discussions.
A gallery of Instagram images (#DesCon2014) shared throughout the weekend by attendees at our 2014 Design Conference: Borderlands.
Our presenters included a notable line-up of architects hailing from the lands bordering our state. Rand Elliott, FAIA, of Oklahoma City, Victor Legorreta of Mexico City, Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, of Fayetteville, Ark., and Victor Trahan, FAIA, of New Orleans, all spoke to the audience about the their progressive bodies of work. Just some of the many topics addressed included adaptive reuse, material palettes, budget constraints, modeling software, and ecological responsiveness.
Architects Talking to Architects: Julien Meyrat, AIA
Julien Meyrat, AIA, received his Masters of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin. Julien currently works as an associate at RTKL Associates, where he specializes in the planning, designing, and documentation of commercial projects. Additionally, Julien serves as a board member for the City of Rockwall Architecture Review Board, a position he has held since January 2010.
Julien Meyrat, AIA visiting the Eiffel Tower with his 8-year-old son, Emile - photo courtesy Julien Meyrat
Bringing It Home: AIA Brazos Presents TxA Citation to Bryan City Council
By Eva Read-Warden, AIA
(Left to right) Eva Read-Warden, AIA, Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski, 2014 AIA Brazos President Andrew Hawkins, AIA, and members of the Bryan City Council - photo courtesy City of Bryan
During the 74th Annual Convention and Design Expo in Fort Worth this past November, the Texas Society of Architects presented a Citation of Honor to the 1999 – 2010 City Council of Bryan for its members' cohesive vision resulting in a rebirth of historic Downtown Bryan. Although the award was accepted in Fort Worth by former city council member Ben Hardeman, on January 14, AIA Brazos chapter members had an opportunity to locally and publicly present the award to the 23 people whom it was intended to recognize.
Architects Talking to Architects: Kirby Zengler, AIA
I was born in 1977 to a couple, with an older brother and sister waiting for me. I’ve been vying for attention ever since.
My father is an engineer and has been for quite some time; it keeps him out of the house. My mother was more on the “artsy side” (read: less drab) and spent a great deal of energy introducing the fine arts and its creative process to us kids.
Ever since then I have enjoyed painting and drawing but only at a leisurely pace. I suppose that is what eventually lead me to architecture; that and a damaging experience in my human figure drawing course during college. (long story)
So now you know me, but not really. I’ve left out a lot; but only the interesting parts.
-by Kirby Zengler, AIA
Kirby Zengler, AIA, is an associate at JHP Architecture in Dallas. He received his MArch degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and joined the firm in 2002. Zengler leads the Whole Community Design initiative on behalf of JHP.
Architects Talking to Architects: Ryan Flener, Assoc. AIA
Ryan Flener, Assoc. AIA, received his B.Arch in 2010 from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture & Design, where he was heavily influenced by the historical relationships between body and building. An intern architect at Good Fulton & Farrell, Flener has been actively involved with the Communications Committee since moving from his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky in late 2011. Ryan resides in downtown Dallas, where he often finds himself submerged in musical endeavors with The Town Planners, and in architectural design research under The Planning Agency.
Ryan Flener, Assoc. AIA. - photo by Nicholas McWhirter
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Louisville, which sits in north-central Kentucky on the Ohio River. It’s a really cool place, for those who haven’t been. It has unexpected characteristics of the northeast and southeast that resonate from the Civil War. Louisville, truly, is neither. It’s a city of 750,000 but functions like a small town; everybody knows everybody. I’m always impressed with each visit home. Louisville is moving in the right direction to make for a great city. Also, there’s no better place in the country to watch college basketball; fact.
Advocacy Update: Robinson Wins!
David W. Robinson, AIA, was elected to the Houston City Council, At-Large #2 post in last Saturday’s (December 14) run-off.
As expected, it was a close race with only three percent (3%), or 33,000 voters, returning to the polls. Various Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts made the difference: Robinson beat the incumbent, Andrew Burks, by roughly 500 votes.
The position is a two-year term, so we have a duly-elected Citizen Architect helping to lead the nation’s fourth largest city for at least that long. Congratulations, David! You’ve done all those architects who voted for you proud, and we know you’ll do a great job as a Houston City Councilman.
Photo via Houston Stonewall Young Democrats
Media and Technology in Architecture | Sourcing New Materials
As professionals responsible for the health, safety and welfare of our clients and the general public, we must carefully evaluate the materials and products that go into the buildings we design. The task of sourcing and selecting new materials for a project requires a significant investment of time, effort, and ultimately, money.
Associate Professor Donna Kacmar, founder and director of the Materials Research Collaborative at the University of Houston, understands this plight well. “It takes time to actually find new materials," says Kacmar. "And then, once you find something interesting, you need to know about its warranty, how is it installed, etc. All of this takes time and a commitment to innovation. Most project schedules, fees, and construction costs are not well suited to innovation.” Luckily, there are a number of ways to source, research, and try new products. A handful of resources are outlined below; after all, half the battle is often knowing where to start the search.
- photo by Brinn Miracle
Architects Talking to Architects: Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA
Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA, is an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.
Danelle Briscoe, Assoc. AIA - photo by Whit Preston
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Galveston. I loved growing up on an island, especially one with so much history. The historic architecture engrained an appreciation for permanence from things that are well designed and made. At the same time, all the hurricanes and storms I experienced first-hand taught me how unstable anything can be in the face of the natural environment.
Justin Oscilowski, Assoc. AIA, Contributing to the Craft
Justin Oscilowski, Assoc. AIA, of PageSoutherlandPage jumped at the chance to volunteer for our 2013 Convention Committee and played a key role in transforming the ideas for our Craftsmen's Square into reality. Texas Architects' Robert Bennett interviewed him about his experiences.
Justin Oscilowski, Assoc. AIA - photo by Acme Brick
How did you first get started as a volunteer with Texas Architects?
Well, I started working for Larry Speck in May of 2012 at Page Southerland Page, and he’d mentioned to me that he really wanted to see the young architects at the firm get more involved in the community — to start volunteering more. So I asked him if he had any suggestions for getting involved.
Why the Convention Committee? That’s one of our most active and rigorous committees, so in a way it could be a bit like being thrown in the deep end.
It was one of the first ones he’d put forward. I think he definitely had an interest in having a young voice on the committee. I thought I could make a valuable contribution and was excited by the challenge.
Architects Talking to Architects: Francisco Gomes, AIA
Francisco Gomes, AIA, is co-founder of Gomes+Staub Architecture in Austin, and assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. Since 1999, Gomes + Staub has offered architectural services for modern residential and public buildings. Currently, the practice is designing projects sited in Austin, Marble Falls, and Redding, Connecticut.
With my son Ansel, illustrating the rapt attention for each other that unconditional love engenders. - photo courtesy Francisco Gomes, AIA
Where do you find inspiration?
I find considerable inspiration in construction. Not just the materials and technical assemblies of our buildings, but the people, tools, and cultures of their construction. Many of my favorite architects — Eladio Dieste, Jean Prouvé, Alberto Mozo, Gilles Perraudin — are those who are designing not just the buildings, but also the way their buildings are made.
Lavaca Eclectic: Two Cases of a Contemporary Vernacular
By Phil Zimmerman, Assoc. AIA
Cool alleys and shaded side streets weave through a patchwork of bright, turn-of-the-century revivals and bungalows. Agave and prickly pear push from every weathered crack; oak and palm peek around every peeling fence and caliche stone carriage house.
The rich character of the Lavaca neighborhood south of downtown San Antonio has been steeping for well over a century. It quietly boasts some of the city's most historic structures: properties unassuming in scale and composed of a dense massing that often creates tucked-away courtyards and hidden gardens. The roots of the community reach back to its diverse working class of artisans, laborers, and shopkeepers. Lavaca's development over time has manifested a cultural and architectural palette that is earthy and utilitarian, pared down to a simple expression of local materials and vernacular form, along with relaxed function and embodiment of place.
San Antonio's Lavaca District: Historic Homes
By Rita Heck
In the early 18th century, San Antonio's Lavaca neighborhood was part of Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) farms watered by a Spanish-built irrigation ditch. Lavaca evolved in the middle of that century when Thomas J. Devine and Sam Maverick purchased a large tract, subdivided it, and sold it in lots for housing and retail.
Texas Architects Board Responds to AIA Restructuring
As our members may know from a previous blog entry by John Nyfeler, FAIA, the AIA Board is considering a change in its structure. The AIA governance proposal may be found here.
While board structure may not be a “hot” topic among AIA members, it is the mechanism that allows member voices to be transmitted to the AIA Board of Directors. How well that works — or doesn’t work — should be of high interest to AIA members and was for the most recent meeting of the Texas Architects Board of Directors.
After considerable discussion, the Texas Architects board unanimously approved the following motion to be conveyed to AIA:
- The AIA should focus on the prioritization of initiatives and the 10 elements of repositioning. After the highest priorities of the Institute have been delineated, the governance structures could be examined for changes.
- It is imperative that regional representation continues to be the basis for selection of membership to the decision-making board. The Texas Society of Architects is unwilling to support any bylaws amendment without this essential element.
- We concur that a smaller board should be considered and see no advantages to a two-chambered structure.
Bill T. Wilson II, FAIA, who served as the AIA Board representative from Texas for 2010-2012, has made a thorough investigation of the proposed design for the new board. His open letter to the membership addresses concerns that have been voiced by many.
I urge all AIA members to review the AIA governance proposal and read Wilson’s letter so as to be well informed. The AIA Board will consider this issue at its next meeting in December; Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, John Nyfeler, FAIA, and James Nader, FAIA, will represent Texas.
Should the AIA approve a new board structure, it will be further discussed at the AIA Grassroots meeting in March 2014, and the bylaws change delineating the new board structure will need to be approved by the membership at the AIA National Convention in Chicago.