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.