Aalto’s Baker House dormitory at MIT inspires a study of student housing at UT Austin and a revival of the Modern Movement’s social aspirations.
Aalto’s Baker House dormitory at MIT inspires a study of student housing at UT Austin and a revival of the Modern Movement’s social aspirations.
Four installations — winners of the Field Constructs Design Competition — occupied a brownfield site in East Austin for two weeks in November. The projects on view drew attention to the quickly aligning trends of digital fabrication and environmental sustainability.
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Alejandro Aravena’s only completed work in the U.S. is a dormitory complex at St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Known locally as the Jenga Tower, the 665-ft-tall structure, designed by Rhode Partners, will be the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi.
An activist client in Austin’s Heritage Neighborhood commissions an architectural think piece of a house to save a prominent site from the rampant march of stealth dorms.
Architects and design professionals have a new place to stay when traveling to Austin: the Charles Moore Foundation’s Cube Loft.
Austin’s Creek Show brought thousands of visitors to Waller Creek on a freezing night last fall to see installations by local architects and landscape architects.
Architect-designed bus stops in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas are adding a bit of design to street corners.
Haddon+Cowan Architects Collaborative’s Girls’ School of Austin maximizes its site while providing students with a playful campus.
Igor Siddiqui and Jen Wong are creating edible architectural materials for Austin’s April Fusebox Festival, thinkEAST Living Charrette to Shape a New Creative Community.
The biological paradigm that explains cities as entities remains in vogue, and David Heymann embraces it for his discussion of Austin’s growing pains.
Anna Collette’s photographs of toppled trees capture the record-breaking 2013 flood of Austin’s Onion Creek, which ravaged the nearby neighborhoods.
The Heron Creek Restroom by Mell Lawrence Architects opens up this spring on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in Austin.
While most adults say they would strongly prefer to stay in their homes as they age, many houses and communities in the U.S. are not set up to meet the needs of the elderly and less mobile.
Field Constructs Design Competition deadline is fast approaching with an April 1 submission date.
MF Architecture has reinvented a strip mall storefront and redefined expectations for drugstores with the Hill Country Apothecary project.
SXSW Interactive saw the launch of the Orchard Project, envisioned as part art, part community space, and all huggable, touchable fun.
Waller Creek Conservancy’s new CEO Peter Mullan sees parallels between his Austin efforts and his role on New York’s High Line, writes Ingrid Spencer.
Artist Ellsworth Kelly’s new installation at the Blanton Museum of Art draws on 70 years of fascination with Byzantine and Romanesque art and architecture.
Thanks to architect Mell Lawrence’s deft hand with light and patterning, Hollowcat Wild, a boxy limestone residence nestled in the Austin hills, is imbued with what architect and author Christopher Alexander calls “aliveness.”
Kinneymorrow Architects designed a small gem of a building to help artist Daryl Howard address a range of needs.
Michael Hsu’s reinterpretation of one Austin office deploys details such as CNC-routed felt murals to appeal to the city’s influx of creative entrepreneurs.
In March, AIA Austin announced the appointment of Ingrid Spencer as its new executive director. Spencer brings a wealth of experience to the task.
During his visit to Austin as part of the Texas Society of Architects 2015 Design Awards jury, Alex Krieger, FAIA, takes time out of his busy schedule to deliver a lecture, “Principles for Remaking the Urban Waterfront.”
The aesthetic qualities of Austin’s first “artist-led community garden,” designed by Thoughtbarn, created considerable buzz — and plenty of participation — among people living nearby.
Are yogurt, bacteria, and yeast the keys to sustainability? Igor Siddiqui and Jen Wong, curators of Austin’s Edible Materials Lab, think playing with food has the potential to change the way we build.
The warped maple floors of a derelict 30,000-sf factory that was once the beating heart of a now-dwindling Midwestern town lured Austin-based sculptor Colin McIntyre into a new artistic realm.
Joel Nolan’s review of Lake View House examines how Alterstudio Architecture finds exquisite beauty in circumstance, translating it into built forms large and small.
Digital fabrication techniques have allowed three up-and-coming Texas firms to experiment with new, small-scale forms — but experience shows that technology only goes so far. Expertise and craft remain critical elements of architectural practice.
Baldridge Architects’ new office, a study in precision-built minimalism, offers a counterintuitive take on design-build in practice.
Austin-based artist Josef Kristofoletti believes in a reciprocal and mutually enriching relationship between paintings and buildings.
Miró Rivera Architects’ Chinmaya Mission Austin is a Texas Society of Architects 2015 Design Award winner.
Miró Rivera Architects’ F1 Tower is a Texas Society of Architects 2015 Design Award winner.
If you were to take a fingerprint sample of Austin’s building boom, chances are good the evidence would point to one prolific architectural instigator: Michael Hsu, AIA.
A new chapel and administrative building at St. Edwards University by Pollen Architecture & Design adds another piece to a 15-year-old master plan.
Begin¬ning January 1, 2014, PageSoutherlandPage will be known simply as Page. The rebrand¬ing effort makes it clear that Page is focused on “design that makes lives better.”
As part of the Austin community, AIA Austin Latinos in Architecture strives to be a positive influence for Latino students who aspire to become architects.
Important Houston architect Kenneth Edward Bentsen, FAIA, died on September 24, 2013.
Susan Lynn Williamson of Austin, a former editor of Texas Architect magazine, died October 10, 2013.
Austin-based OTA+ designed a new master plan and marina for the Fosu Lagoon area of Cape Coast, Ghana. The project proposes Africa’s tallest building.
The Edgeland House in Austin rises from the earth giving little hint to people on the street about what lies below the tall grasses growing on the roof.
A series of urban design initiatives could establish Austin’s green infrastructure as the preeminent agent of a new compact and connected city.
Since selecting a winning design by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer and Partners last fall, Austin’s Waller Creek Conservan¬cy has continued sprinting forward with its plans to transform the 1.5-mile creek corridor from ne¬glected waterway to vibrant downtown destination.
Andersson-Wise Architects’ Block 21 is one of the most successful mixed-use developments in downtown Austin.
The Contemporary Austin was awarded a $9 million grant that will be used by the museum to create a sculpture garden on its 12-acre lakeside estate of Laguna Gloria.
Downtown Oklahoma City’s Myriad Botani¬cal Gardens received a huge face-lift from The Office of James Burnett in collaboration with David Epstein, AIA, of Gensler’s Austin office.
The 67th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) will be held in Austin April 9–13.
UT Austin’s Benjamin Ibarra is looking at historic buildings through a technological lens.
African sands fill the polycarbonate panels that clad Pollen Architecture and Design’s studio building in East Austin.
Once upon a time in 1970, Louis Kahn played the organ for a crowd of 400 in Austin.
Award winners announced for the 2013 Preservation Texas Honor Awards.
Alterstudio Architecture’s boat dock on Lake Austin embraces the long views of the water and landscape, but screens the immediacy of the speedboats from backyard barbecuers.
Alternative grasses are redefining landscape architecture and helping bring about a new ecological aesthetic in Texas.
Austin’s Waller Creek Conservancy continues its mission to draw attention to the neglected urban waterway. Waller Wall, a temporary installation designed by UT Austin students and Murray Legge, FAIA, was on display at SXSW.
Caret 6, a dramatic installation by architect Kory Bieg of OTA+ and his Design V Studio at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, is making its way around the state.
The hefty utilitarian demands of a salon, which include a sink in every room, are resolved seamlessly in this downtown Austin spa by Baldridge Architects.
Bercy Chen Studio’s design moves at the Cascading Creek House sleekly conceal extensive mechanics under the hood of a gorgeous space.
Partner at Austin’s McKinney York Architects, Michelle Rossomando, AIA, leads by example and has a lot of fun in the process.
Boston-based landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand is expanding its Texas portfolio and leading the re-imagination of The Contemporary Austin’s historic Laguna Gloria site.
AIA Austin announced the recipients of its 2014 Design and Honor awards competition in May. The jury included Steve Dumez, FAIA, of New Orleans, and Marsha Maytum, FAIA, of San Francisco.
Austin’s new 36,340-sf, LEED Silver-certified children’s museum, the Thinkery, is the product of Koning Eizenberg Architecture’s collaboration with STG Design
Baldridge Architects’ Outdoor Learning Center at Casis Elementary in Austin has transformed a formerly neglected lot into an open-air classroom in a garden setting.
To say that a story about chronic homelessness is good news may be pushing it, but it’s hard not to feel inspired and uplifted by two of Texas’ newest planned communities: High Cotton Genesis Center in Lubbock and Community First in Austin.
A collaboration between Austin-based Trophyology, a design and fabrication studio, and Portland, Oregon-based Nested Yellow, a jewelry and object design shop, has grown out of a client’s desire to say thank you to her architect and contractor.
High nature is married to high design in Lake|Flato Architects’ Hog Pen Creek Retreat.
The Munday Library makes its place in architectural history by learning from its predecessors, rather than mimicking them, and by finding modern purposes for very old spatial types.
Slender pipe columns support a lofty roof while daylight pours into the soaring dining room at Andersson-Wise Architects’ Temple Dining Hall & Booth Student Center.
Austin’s Thinkery has transformed the children’s museum experience for kids and adults.
Gensler converts a downtown Austin parking garage into a collaborative workspace.
Austin-based Ten Eyck creates site-specific vertical gardens, blending the transition between architecture and landscape architecture.
Austin’s Shoal Creek Conservancy opens an exhibition of site-specific murals in August.
David Heymann, FAIA, talks about Austin’s laid-back lifestyle and why he moved here to practice architecture.
The Seaholm Intake Facility by Danze Blood Architects and Mell Lawrence Architects is among the 2014 Studio Award winners.
Andersson-Wise Architects’ kept going back to a singular watercolor as they developed the design for Austin’s Topfer Theatre.
With construction of the Waller Creek tunnel well under way in Austin, the $146.5-million effort to transform the long-neglected flood plain has afforded a new vision for the city.
In a changing South Austin neighborhood, Minguell-McQuary Architecture+Design’s Bike Shed is a simple building that embodies a much larger design ethos that takes its cues from the past even as it keeps one eye focused on the future.
Completed in June 2010 by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, Uchiko is a 4,954-sf sister restaurant to one of Austin’s popular restaurants, Uchi, which is operated by Chef Tyson Cole.
The popular Austin burger spot, hopdoddy reflects recent trends in restaurant design. Located in West Anderson Plaza, which was renovated by Levy Architects, the interior build out was completed by Aubrey Carter Design Office in collaboration with their client Chuck Smith.
The Austin firm Specht Harpman Architects proposes passive systems for two very different homes in arid climates. The windCatcher looks to ancient traditions while the prairieHouse reimagines a former Texaco station.
Although, keeping up with him has never been easy, Clovis Heimsath, FAIA, is a testament to architecture being a calling and not a profession — his practice and his lifestyle are seamless.
AIA Austin was proud to partner with the City of Austin and six other consultants chosen to participate in AIA’s Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT) program.
A student team from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture was recently awarded the 2012 Charles E. Peterson Prize for their measured drawings of Austin’s North-Evan Chateau submitted to the Historic American Building Survey (HABS).
Artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio are well-suited to explore the interstitial space between the fine and applied arts. “Diffuse Reflection Lab,” at the University of Texas at Austin Visual Arts Center, is a good example of their careful negotiation between the realms of art and architecture.
Retail design has the potential to go beyond just creating an interesting clean space for product presentation. This issue of Texas Architect looks at how good planning and design create effective community spaces and individual stores with a sense of place.
Austin’s Highland Mall sits largely abandoned. However Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects’ proposal for the redevelopment of a former department store, into a new Austin Community College campus, floods the interior with light and activates the exterior with student gathering spaces.
Recipients of the 2013 AIA Fort Worth Design Awards were announced in January. Six firm projects and five student works were singled out for excellence in design as part of the chap¬ter’s Honors and Awards Program.
Building code necessitated a blast wall at the Met Retail site in Austin. Studio 8 Architects took the opportunity to customize the building’s aesthetic and break from typical highway architecture.
In the ever-changing world of retail design, flexibility, simplicity, curb appeal, and storage are fundamental to continued success. Keepers, Eliza Page, and Rogue Running, all local Austin retailers, were pioneers of downtown shopping — and their continued relevance is a prom¬ising sign
The new United States Federal Courthouse in Austin designed by Mack Sogin Merrill Elam Architects meets a stringent security design paradigm and is flooded with natural light. This unconventional civic structure is perfect for Austin’s sensibilities.
The 1899 Comal County Courthouse in New Braunfels is the latest addition to the list of restored Texas courthouses. Originally designed by James Riely Gordon, Austin-based Volz & Associates fully restored the original design and finishes.
Judging by the dozens of construction projects currently underway in Austin’s historic core, preservation architect Emily Little, FAIA, won’t be getting bored any time soon.
The 2013 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) conference took place at the University of Texas at Austin on March 27–31.
The Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed 232,000-sf state-of-the-art Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall (GDC), is the new home of the University of Texas at Austin’s Computer Science Department.
Creek Show proposes to transform Austin’s Waller Creek into an active venue for art, architecture, and landscape architecture. A series of temporary installations will appear along the 1.5-mile site in an attempt to surprise and delight the community.
With degrees in art and architecture, artist Seher Shah’s areas of interest include overlapping historical and geographical elements, reconstructing modernist architecture and urban monuments, and examining futurist landscapes.
For an Austin fashion show, MF ARchitecture created “Fashion[ING] Objects,” and illuminated wall created from 5,000 hangers that served as the entry to the catwalk.
Texas Architect features AIA Austin’s 2013 Design Awards. The competition recognizes outstanding architectural projects by members and promotes public interest in architectural excellence.
Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects designed a sustainable and economical building, full of natural light, for the not-for-profit LifeWorks in East Austin.
When PageSoutherlandPage proposed using high thermal mass concrete walls as a means of reducing energy consumption in the new office building for Austin engineers Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, the team saw it as an interesting case for experimentation.
In their discussions of modern architecture in Latin America, the “O’Neil Ford Duographs” (O’NFD) display an editorial predilection for abstraction, formal clarity, and tectonic integrity.
Architecture in the Americas is an annual two-day event explores contemporary “American” architecture. This year’s event brought together architects from New York, Texas, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
This renovation and addition to an existing Austin bungalow by Alterstudio Architecture is a strong architectural idea existing easily alongside a distinct lack of pretension.
Parking has never been so pretty; the T3 Parking Structure in Austin, by Danze Blood Architects, uses design to redefine the typically banal experience of parking.
Miró Rivera Architects’ LifeWorks building in East Austin stands out as a powerful example of elegance and sustainability meeting a very tight budget.
Alterstudio Architecture’s design for a young firm embraces both Austin’s late 19th-century Buttrey Building’s age and the client’s creative ethos.
Gensler designed a new open office for a young Austin law firm, Weisbart Springer Hayes.
TEX-FAB led by Brad Bell, Kevin Patrick McClellan, Andrew Vrana, and Kory Bieg, is changing the status quo in terms of digital design and fabrication. Scott Marble details how their new approach to workflows is the way of the future.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Landmarks and Rice University’s Public Art Program both feature successful public art installations that offer lessons for architects.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Landmarks program recently procured a pair of works by Sol LeWitt and a new “Skyspace” by James Turrell — impressive additions to an already respectable collection of sculptures
In 1980, when Natalie de Blois, FAIA, hit Austin, she dove into local politics, zoning issues, and Barton Springs Pool with gusto. She also just happened to be a woman who had designed some of the most innovative modern buildings in the United States.
The Texas Society of Architects announces the recipients of our 2013 Honor Awards.
Even an Aggie would have to admit that The University of Texas at Austin has an impressive campus. Three new buildings: Belo Center for New Media, Norman Hackerman Building, and the College of Liberal Arts Building push the envelope and interpret design guidelines in creative ways.
Runa Workshop’s Austin Aquatic Center integrates landscape and architecture to create a water management system with real ecological benefits.
Matt Fajkus Architecture proposes a wall made of coat hangers for a runway show.
Connolly Architects & Consultants’ Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is a smart, clear plan with features that enhance the safety and welfare of the animals and people who use the facility.
Jackson & Ryan Architects’ Austin Animal Center has several design features that increase the chances that its dogs, cats, and rabbits will find “forever” homes.
In 1966, as Gordon Bunshaft was putting pencil to trace for the design of the new presidential library and museum in Austin, Lyndon Baines Johnson was a giant.
An ambitious partnership between St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and Andersson-Wise Architects has transformed the original Fehr & Granger campus with five new buildings.
An iconic red, tube-steel tower presides over the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) — Austin’s new Formula 1 track/performance venue by Miró Rivera Architects.
For a planned expansion of the public library in Blanco, designer Brett Wolfe, Assoc. AIA, drew inspiration from F.E. Ruffini’s 1885 limestone courthouse that looms over the center of town about a half-mile away.
Their proposal for a 990-acre cemetery earned students from UT Austin’s School of Architecture an Honor Award in the 2011 ASLA Student Awards sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
After carefully evaluating 60 entries from 24 local architectural firms, jurors for AIA San Antonio’s 2011 Design Awards program announced their selections during ceremonies held on Nov. 4 at Pearl Stable. Attendees also celebrated the recipients of the chapter’s Studio Awards, its Twenty-Five Year Award, and its annual Mayor’s Choice Award honoring a publicly funded architectural project.
During AIA Fort Worth’s awards banquet held on Jan. 24, three student projects were recognized for design excellence. The lone Honor Award was presented to Ace Academy by John Paul Rysavy and Daniel Shumaker, both students at the University of Texas at Austin.
Designed by Gensler’s local office to be the city’s tallest structure, the 47-story hotel is planned for a 1.75-acre site located next door to the Austin Convention Center in the southeastern quadrant of downtown. Ground breaking is set for August, with construction tentatively scheduled to be complete in 2015.
Modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi famously said, “Architecture is inhabited sculpture.” That raises the question: Is sculpture uninhabitable architecture?
At the west entrance to the campus of the University of Texas at Austin stands the Spanish Mediterranean inspired Texas Union. Built in 1932 to serve as the center of social activities of the growing university, by the end of the twentieth century the location of the Union had become much less central due to the campus’ eastward expansion.
Twin Oaks Library, designed by h+uo architects, replaces a former branch library located in leased storefronts in south Austin.
Four Texas firms are among a nationwide total of nine that were chosen Jan. 30 as semifinalists for the Waller Creek Conservancy design competition, from a pool of 31 entries. The competition calls for a redesign of a 1.5-mile stretch of city parkland and urban space along Waller Creek in downtown Austin.
Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) is actively searching for any film or video collections referencing Texas or made by Texans. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recently provided several such films to TAMI, including episodes of the 1950s television program “Texas in Review” that includes a segment on the historic French Legation in Austin.
The Texas Society of Architects 2012 Annual Convention and Design Expo, October 18-20, in Austin, presents two distinguished keynote speakers who will examine the role of design in the context of the convention’s theme, “Influence.” One is an activist and innovator who helped create the High Line — a public park built atop an abandoned, elevated rail line in New York; the other is the award-winning host and radio producer of 99% Invisible. Attend the convention to hear the unique perspectives of Robert Hammond and Roman Mars.
In Austin’s richly diverse and energetic East Side neighborhoods, a rebirth is taking place. The addition of the Heywood Hotel on East Cesar Chavez Street represents the latest addition to a burgeoning and thriving East Side culture. Nestled comfortably among the barbecue joints, tacquerias and local shops that have so far eluded big-box homogenization, the hotel builds respectfully on the neighborhood’s considerable charms.
It’s a Monday morning at Archillume Lighting Design in Austin. Founder Charles Thompson, FAIA, is just now back from a four-day road trip on his 2009 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic. His time on the open road to Big Bend and back has helped to recharge his energy and clear his mind. So he’s ready for whatever awaits him.
Dick Clark Architecture designed Propaganda Hair Group’s leased, 1,700-sf shell space within the Gables 5th Street Commons building in downtown Austin. The client requested a loft-like space with an open plan, minimal furnishings, and wood and concrete textures. The design focuses on ways to differentiate program areas within a single space, while offering an open atmosphere.
Two Texas design firms are among four design teams that have been chosen as finalists in an international competition to revitalize Austin’s downtown Waller Creek. More than 30 teams entered the competition late last year, and nine semifinalists were chosen in January.
In this edition about design for healthcare and wellness, we look at good buildings of both types. But the role of architects in public health goes far beyond their work on the hospitals, clinics, and fitness facilities routinely associated with these two categories. The broader purview includes their role in shaping more livable, sustainable, and healthy communities — the premise being that there is a direct correlation between the design of a community and the health of its people.
John Saunders Chase died in Houston on March 29, 2012, at the age of 87. Chase was the first African American to enroll in and graduate from the architecture program at the University of Texas at Austin (March 1952), the first African American to be registered as an architect in Texas (1954), the first architect of his race in Texas to become a member of the American Institute of Architects (1954), and also the first architect of his race in Texas to be elected to Fellowship in the AIA (1990).
Online registration opens mid July for the Texas Society of Architects Convention and Design Expo, October 18-20, in Austin. This year, the convention’s theme is “Influence.”
AIA Austin’s 2012 Design Awards competition resulted in recognition for 15 projects in three categories out of a total of 112 entries.
A small health center for the agrarian village of El Cantón in Honduras is being constructed as the implementation of the winning entry in the “Building Health Challenge” design competition staged in January by Global Architecture Brigades among its university chapters nationwide.
Like the other two books highlighted here, everyday, by Leonard Volk, will be part of the featured activities (including book-signings by authors) in the AIA-Austin-hosted Reading Room at the Texas Society of Architects Convention and Design Expo in Austin October 18-20.
The City of Austin Historic Preservation Office has been working in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin (UT) School of Architecture Historic Preservation program to develop a participatory, wiki-inspired web application to support the comprehensive survey of Austin’s historic resources. The community launch took place June 4. The Heritage Society of Austin has partnered on this project by assisting in securing funding and providing volunteer support in adding content to the Wiki.
Back in the year 2000, McAllen physician Cayetano Barrera was visiting the Texas Capitol grounds when he noticed that none of their 18 monuments recognized the story of Texas’ early Spanish and Mexican explorers and settlers — an account that dates back to 1519 when Spaniards first arrived on the coast.“ In fact, the history of Texas was being told as if it all started with Anglos at the battle of the Alamo,” says Jaime Beaman, AIA, of Casa Bella Architects in Austin.
There is good architecture. And then there is good architecture … as in architecture for the public good. This year’s statewide design award winners — 13 projects from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin — are a case in point. I was struck, during the awards jury process, by how intent the jurors were on recognizing certain entries, not only for their merit in terms of design (even design merit as broadly defined), but also for their capacity to fulfill client aspirations for the public good.
The Texas Society of Architects Continuing Education Committee has spent the past year reviewing and selecting educational programs for the Society’s 73rd Convention in Austin, Oct. 18-20.
Our 2012 Design Awards jury met at the Texas Architects headquarters in Austin on June 7 and 8 to review the 227 entries submitted in this year’s program. As Chair of the 2012-2013 Design Committee, I enjoyed the privilege of being present during the deliberations of three distinguished and insightful jurors: Angie Brooks, AIA, of Brooks + Scarpa in LA; Eddie Jones, AIA, of Jones Studio in Phoenix; and James Timberlake, FAIA, of Kieran Timberlake in Philadelphia.
McGarrah Jessee’s relocation to larger quarters in downtown Austin neatly coincided with the home-grown creative agency’s bursting out of its regional sphere of influence. Affectionately known as McJ, the company has steadily ratcheted up its staffing level as its roster of clients has expanded and its recognition has gone national. Now, after having outgrown its former offices in a converted warehouse, McJ has re-established its base of operations in the Starr Building, a modernist landmark completed in 1954 and designed by local firm Kuehne, Brooks and Barr for the offices of American National Bank. The project achieved widespread acclaim at the time for its distinctively crisp interiors by Florence Knoll and a monumental mural created in situ by Seymour Fogel.
Downtown Austin’s east-west streets are sliced in half by the northsouth artery of IH-35. To the west, downtown rises, its sparkling towers radiating progress. To the east, the city of days past lingers, its
neighborhoods of humble homes and local businesses resolute. The freeway, elevated at the heart of the city, creates a physical and spiritual divide that has plagued Austin for decades.
As urban infill lots go, the roughly 12,000-sf triangular site that is now home to the Kimber Modern Bed & Breakfast presented Baldridge Architects with more than its fair share of challenges. For one, the rather
small plot rose 25 feet in elevation from the curb to the back lot line, a precipitous pitch. Furthermore, neighboring establishments created conditions that most would find undesirable for a boutique design hotel.
In the past there has been a sense of aloofness characterizing the Art Building on the UT Austin campus. Located on the northeast corner of San Jacinto and 23rd Street, across from Royal–Memorial Stadium, the two-story building has stood at a distance from the public. Although its main entry on the west side was connected to street level by a prominent exterior stair, the building’s solid volumes revealed little about its interior activities. Yet the south elevation of this mid-century modern building expressed a slight undulation in the soft orange brick veneer, rising to a cap of contrasting white concrete barrel vaults. These details created a bit of visual interest and a hint of greater possibilities within.
Preservation Texas recently announced its 2012 Honor Awards, which includes 10 awards and a special commendation recognizing the best of preservation in Texas. Individuals and projects in Austin, Dallas, Galveston, Houston, Marshall, San Antonio, and West Texas received awards.
The Texas Society of Architects and AIA Austin are offering three specialized study classes on the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) during the Texas Architects 73rd Annual Convention and Design Expo, Oct. 18-20, in Austin. The classes are “Tips and Tricks for using the NCARB Practice Software”; “Archibowl - Come on Down!”; and “NCARB and You: IDP, ARE, and Certification.”
Texas Architect has welcomed Catherine Gavin to Austin as editor of the magazine, effective with the January/February issue.
During its 73rd Annual Convention in Austin, Texas Society of Architects recognized the following as this year’s Honor Awards recipients for significant contributions to the architectural profession and the quality of the built environment.
The Texas Society of Architects recently named Austin hotelier Liz Lambert as the recipient of its 2012 Cornerstone Award.
As the culmination of an international competition to revitalize Austin’s downtown Waller Creek, a team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and Thomas Phifer and Partners has been selected to design a 1.5-mile-long linear park. The announcement was made October 18.
The Austin firm Pollen Architecture and Design has created a home that ties itself tightly to a dramatic landscape of densely-packed small hills and steep valleys.
Is it possible for architecture to transform, not just the physical character of a place, but also the behavior and patterns of life of people who live there? Can we think of redevelopment, not just in terms of changing buildings and spaces, but also in terms of altering interactions, attitudes, and lifestyles? Architects would tend to answer “yes” to both questions. And, fortunately, there is evidence to back them up.
On Jan. 25, the Texas Society of Architects/AIA will sponsor its first Advocates for Architecture Day at the State Capitol, an event that is expected to attract 200 architects for individual constituent-legislator conferences. With the event taking place during the first weeks of the biannual Texas Legislature, the agenda calls for the architects to meet with elected officials to advocate for their support of measures intended to enhance the built environment and maintain the integrity of the architectural profession.
Being the architect on the house for his daughter, Liz Tirrell, and her family, was “like a surgeon operating on his own daughter,” says Frank Welch, FAIA. While he admits to being “very nervous” about the project, she recalls the experience as “fun” and one that offered fresh insights into her father’s extraordinary design skills.
This past fall, the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture celebrated its centennial with various symposia, lectures, and gatherings held under the banner of “UTSOA 100: Traces & Trajectories.”
Lawrence Speck, FAIA, professor and former dean at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and a principal of Page Southerland Page, has been awarded the American Institute of Architects’ 2011 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education.
Each year the Texas Historical Commission recognizes individuals, organizations, and programs that have achieved success in efforts to preserve the state’s architectural heritage. Included in the 2011 THC program are awards for The Shape of Texas radio program and the Austin architecture firm Clayton & Little Architects.
The lower Colorado River’s expansive watershed touches on the lives of more than one million residents of 56 counties in central Texas. Managing supplies of drinking water from the river and harnessing its powerful flow for hydroelectricity are part of the Lower Colorado River Authority’s multi-faceted mission. However, the public utility’s most visible role involves the controlled release of water through six dams along the river’s 600-mile run to the Gulf of Mexico.
McGarrah Jessee’s relocation to larger quarters in downtown Austin neatly coincides with the home-grown creative agency’s bursting out of its regional sphere of influence. Affectionately known as McJ, the company has steadily ratcheted up its staffing level as its roster of clients has expanded and its recognition for innovative and hugely successful advertising and branding campaigns has gone national. In December, after having outgrown its former offices in a converted warehouse, McJ re-established its base of operations in a former bank building, a midcentury treasure that had fallen on hard times.
Over a decade i n development, the City of Austin’s capital improvements program called Great Streets is changing the character of its downtown by broadening sidewalks and adding amenities to enhance the pedestrian realm.
“Light, space and order—these are the things that humans need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” Le Corbusier’s observation of these three essential elements comes to mind when visiting the Sisters Retreat pool house and pavilion by Mell Lawrence Architects. Though the project possesses the typical attributes one might associate with a small recreational program, the unique quality of the design is manifest both in the overall layout as well as in its materiality and detailing, all of which embrace light in nuanced ways.
Designed by San Antonio firm Wiese Hefty Design Build, the Austin headquarters of Sweet Leaf Tea highlights the company’s brand while also displaying its eclectic office culture. The architects used building information modeling (BIM) software to design the almost 8,000-sf space, which is an adaptive reuse of a 1918 building in the Penn Field office complex.
When the 82nd Legislature convened in January, expectations were low for the state’s architectural profession. The biggest issue facing lawmakers was a historic budget shortfall, which meant that new taxes might be levied on professional services, including those performed by architects.
Hal Box, FAIA, had a greater impact on architectural education in Texas than any single individual in the state’s history. He was a visionary and a consummate doer. He imagined a much more prominent position for Texas architecture in a national and international context, and he worked tirelessly and skillfully to use architectural education as a means to reach that ambitious goal.
The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment has included Lake/Flato Architect’s Livestrong Foundation’s headquarters among its 2011 Top Ten Green Projects, a national program that celebrates sustainable design excellence. Livestrong, located in Austin, was this year’s sole Texas honoree.
AIA Austin honored 10 projects in its 2011 Design Awards Celebration. From a total of 77 submittals, the distinguished jury of architects selected three for Honor Awards, six for Citations of Honor, and one unbuilt project for a Studio Award.
The design initiative by Miró Rivera Architects proposes a series of activity zones for a segment along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in Austin where the trail extends underneath heavily trafficked Mopac Expressway (Loop 1).
Structures from every era of a city’s history are of immeasurable importance to the texture of a community and its sense of place. Intangible sentiments can link people to buildings through experience, memory, or imagination. Yet, many factors can lead to the decline and even the demolition of a historical structure.
While it is not unusual for a renovation project to transform an individual building, it is noteworthy when such a project begins to change how people relate to the city around them.
Located on a semi-urban 7.5-acre lot more than a few miles West of Austin, Sisters’ Retreat encompasses a shared pool house and play area for the families of two siblings, set amongst their small compound of homes. The site, surrounded by tall grass and within walking distance of Lake Austin, is reached by a short meander from the residences.
Described as a “legend” by his peers, Tommy N. Cowan, FAIA, is a dedicated and lifelong leader. His interest in design and architecture began in the fifth grade when a teacher invited him to compete in Austin’s Wellesley Junior Art Show. Two of Cowan’s architectural drawings were submitted and both won top honors.
Five projects were recognized in July with AIA Brazos Design Awards from a total of 16 entries. Jurors were Michael Malone, AIA, of Michael Malone Architects in Dallas; Emily Little, FAIA, of Clayton & Little Architects in Austin; and Mark T. Wellen, AIA, of Rhotenberry Wellen Architects in Midland.
Driving along Austin’s 11th Street just east of downtown, the first things you’ll notice are the vivid colors – bright red, vibrant orange, and
intense yellow – on the exterior of the East Village Lofts.
Arthouse, the oldest statewide contemporary visual arts organization in Texas, is renovating and expanding its Jones Center space in downtown Austin.
Established in the heart of East Texas in 1917 and nestled among the region’s majestic pine forest, Stephen F. Austin University is quietly nurturing its student- focused campus life. The new Baker Patillo Student Center, completed in March 2007, has blossomed into a vibrant, 24-hour “town center” for the university and the town of Nacogdoches.
Each year since 2003 the nonprofit Preservation Texas presents its list of “Texas’ Most Endangered Places,” and this year’s roster of seven places, including the San Jacinto Battlefield Historic Site in Harris County. The organization’s objective is to call attention to significant places that its leadership deems imperiled by an uncertain future.
Following a competition among 15 firms, a new 120,000-sf Belo Center for New Media is being designed by Lawrence Group Architects for the University of Texas at Austin. Serving as a northwest gateway to the campus, the building will expand facilities for the College of Communication.
Austin architect W. Eugene George’s classic work, Lost Architecture of the Río Grande Borderlands, has returned to print in a handsome new edition.
The 3,000-seat Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Concert Hall is the flagship theater of the University of Texas at Austin’s performing arts complex. Originally opened in 1981, the hall boasted an unusually large stage and generous back-of-house areas that effectively accommodated large-scale opera and dance productions. However, following the adoption in 1999 of more stringent campus-wide fire and life safety standards, the university hired Boora Architects of Portland, Oregon, to study remedial options.
Thirteen projects were selected for 2010 AIA Houston Design Awards. The jury – Brian Johnsen of Johnsen Schmaling Architects in Milwaukee, Wis.; Juan Miró, AIA, of Miró Rivera Architects in Austin; and Amanda Kolson Hurley, executive editor of Washington, D.C.-based Architect magazine – met Feb. 26 at the Architecture Center Houston to review 132 entries from 59 local firms. Awards were presented March 25 at the Rice Hotel in Houston.
The conceptual project by UT Austin architecture students Brian Bedrosian and William Huie received first-place recognition in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture International Student Design Competition.
Located in Cuero’s downtown historic district, DeWitt County Courthouse (1896) is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, State Archeological Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Having undergone a total interior “modernization” in 1953, the courthouse was restored in 2008 by TWC Architects of Austin as part of the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
Fifteen projects were selected for the 2010 AIA Austin Design Awards in April. The jury was comprised of Merrill Elam, AIA, of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta, Ga.; Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, of Marlon Blackwell Architect in Fayetteville, Ark.; and Michael Imber, FAIA, of Michael G. Imber Architects in San Antonio. The three jurors reviewed over 100 submittals at the AIA Austin Center for Architecture.
“Tailor the District,” a concept for reinvigorating a downtrodden corner of downtown Austin, uses Waller Creek as the central seam around which patches of social fabric (i.e., places of local commerce, open space, and entertainment venues) are stitched together by a unified circulation network.
Designed by Mell Lawrence Architects of Austin, the Cotillion Pavilion replaces an existing shade structure at Cotillion Park in northeast Dallas. Scheduled for completion later this year, the project is part of the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department’s long-range strategic plan to restore or replace aging picnic pavilions throughout the city.
Set on the crest of a prominent hill west of downtown Austin and oriented to command an unobstructed view of the skyline, the Hilltop House itself is visible from many points around the city.
Distant views of central Austin have a way of appearing suddenly as a result of Austin’s perch on the edge of the Hill Country. Until recently, downtown’s most visible landmark has been the icily geometric Frost Bank Tower, built in 2004 and reaching 515 feet high, offering a counterpoint to the occasional warm glow of the University of Texas Tower to the north of downtown and the Victorian dome of the Texas State Capitol.
Sited on a bluff overlooking Austin’s downtown skyline and Lady Bird Lake, the Paggi House recently underwent renovations that restore the original 1840s structure while adding a contemporary twist. Re-imagined by J Square Architecture, the 5,523-sf restaurant, which once served as an inn and a family home, gained a new roof, outdoor bar/dining space, restroom, and office.
Austin’s Arthouse at the Jones Center is set to re-open Oct. 22 after a $6 million renovation and expansion. The 20,830-sf contemporary arts center makes its debut with an inaugural exhibit, More Art about Buildings and Food, by Jason Middlebrook.
Austin-based architecture and planning firm Antenora Architects recently completed the schematic design phase for a new Hutto City Hall, with an adjacent multi-purpose building and municipal park.
Entering the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong) headquarters is an exercise in transition—from busy streetscape through serene garden to an open, sunlit interior. Transition also characterizes the conversion of the 1950s-era warehouse into the Livestrong offices, considering that a wide variety of the project’s materials were salvaged from the original structure.
“Beauty alone doesn’t hold your interest for very long. You want things to be a little… scary. But the kind of awe that derives from nature is extraordinarily tranquil.” So muses Arthur Andersson, AIA, in the recently published Natural Houses that features several projects designed by Andersson-Wise Architects, the Austin firm led by him and Chris Wise, AIA. Prominently showcased in the book is Stone Creek Camp, a backwoods hideaway built on a ridge overlooking Flathead Lake in rural northwestern Montana. The elegantly rusticated encampment comprises eight small buildings strategically arrayed across the steeply sloping site, each positioned to foster an individual and collective sense of refuge.
According to Kevin Alter, the 4,200-sf, three -story East Windsor Residence is essentially a one-bedroom loft because the top floor “has all the pleasures and attributes of a penthouse and then it expands down to give you all this other stuff.” The project was designed by Alter, along with alterstudio architects co-principal Ernesto Cragnolino, AIA, with a focus on the third level, which boasts 270-degree views and contains the master suite, kitchen, and main living area. But the “other stuff” found on the remaining two levels completes this finely crafted house in dynamic and dramatic ways.
Designed by BOKA Powell Architects, Barton Place is a six-story, multi-building condominium complex located south of downtown Austin. Six buildings and an elevated plaza landscaped with native plants rest above a twolevel underground parking garage.
In contrast to the photographs that illustrate the mixed-use projects profiled in this edition’s feature section, the University Park development in Austin is not a pretty picture. The owner’s ambitious plans for a high-density urban village on 23 acres along I-35 just north of downtown have fizzled, leaving a half-empty office building to stand alone amid an otherwise abandoned construction site. Tenants are angry, neighbors are frustrated, and everyone else is wondering how things went so wrong.
The City of Cedar Park commissioned PBS&J of Austin to provide architectural and engineering services for the development of a 50,000-sf community and recreation center located in the city’s evolving downtown district.
For the past four years, the members of AIA Austin have volunteered their time to teach elementary school students in their area about architecture. Their most recent efforts culminated in November with displays at UT Austin of models the kids devised to illustrate the lessons they have learned. This year’s program reached more than 315 students from third, fourth, and fifth grades.
Developed by Broaddus & Associates of Austin with Baltimore-based Ayers/Saint/Gross as consultants, the master plan for Texas State University in San Marcos was launched in 2004 to address a projected student enrollment increase of 30,000 and a need for additional academic facilities for 2015 and beyond.
While studying at UT Austin in the spring of 1998, my classmates and I had the opportunity to attend a series of public lectures given by the seven short-listed architects for the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. The list was impressive and when Herzog & de Meuron was ultimately chosen we were thrilled by the prospect of what the Swiss firm would design. The insertion of a thoughtful work within the Spanish Mediterranean-style campus was certainly something to be eagerly anticipated.
Founded in 1987, Southwest Key Programs, a national non-profit group based in Austin, manages a variety of social programs to benefit disadvantaged youth and their families. Intending for its new headquarters to act as a tool for neighborhood revitalization, the organization selected a site in a traditionally under-served area of the city to locate the Southwest Key East Austin Community Development Project.
Who knew that homework was still being assigned so many years after completing school? In preparation to sit on the jury for the 2008 TASA/TASB Exhibit of School Architecture, I spent about 30 hours studying the 96 entries prior to the meeting in Austin. I combed through all of them at least four times, all the while keeping in mind the criteria—design, educational appropriateness, innovation, process of planning, sustainability, and value
Just how troublesome are current economic conditions in Texas? To gain insight, Texas Architect invited six architects to join a roundtable discussion where they were asked to assess their local markets and offer near-term forecasts. The roundtable discussion took place in Austin on Jan. 19.
n its metamorphosis from the “turtle shell”-domed Lester E. Palmer Auditorium, the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts had several false starts over the course of two decades. The project’s protracted gestation has ultimately yielded a more stripped-down facility than that suggested during its early stages, however, the new structure respectfully acknowledges its iconic forebear while doing more with less.
The AT &T Executive Education and Conference Center opened in 2008 on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Designed by Lake/Flato Architects, in collaboration with HKS, the conference center “…adheres to goals of the campus master plan by borrowing very specifically from the materials of the campus as well as the massing and the fenestration of the original 40 acres,” said principal design architect David Lake, FAIA .
Three highly respected designers will judge the entries in the 2009 TSA Design Awards program. The jurors will be Philip Freelon, FAIA, president of the Freelon Group in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA, president of San Francisco-based landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates; and Rick Joy, AIA, of Rick Joy Architects in Tucson. The jury is set to meet May 15 in Austin.
A glimpse through the front doors of the Blanton Museum of Art reveals a soft blue light—it’s the new piece, Stacked Waters, a cast acrylic site-specific installation by artist Teresita Fernández. Wrapping around the walls of the atrium, Stacked Waters suffuses the space with unexpected and atmospheric light against the backdrop of the main stair hall. The effect illustrates how the Blanton is, in many ways, a deferential building— a backdrop not just to art on the inside but to the campus on the outside as well.
The Park on Barton Creek combines corporate office functionality with the natural setting of the South Austin greenbelt. Designed by Merriman Associates/Architects, the project features two five-story, 100,000-squarefoot buildings set along the western edge of the site to minimize impact to the heavily wooded Barton Creek.
On April 18, AIA Austin recognized 15 projects at its 2009 Design Awards Gala held at the historic Browning Hangar on the redeveloped grounds of former Mueller Municipal Airport. Of the 115 submitted projects, 14 received Design Awards and one received a Studio Award.
The Archives of the Episcopal Church, designed by Studio 8 Architects of Austin, is a five-story, 70,000-sf building that will be the new home for the church’s national archives, which are currently housed in a late-1950s campus as part of the Southwest Episcopal Seminary
On June 25 construction on the Austonian residential tower reached the height of 51 floors, making it the tallest building in Austin. The project, designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects, will ultimately top out later this year at 56 floors (683 feet with glass crown) above Congress Avenue.
For St. Edward’s Universit y to achieve a desired national prominence as an institution of higher learning, President George E. Martin set out in 2001 to double the student enrollment to 4,000 by 2010. Martin knew that would require significant capital improvements, so he commissioned Philadelphia’s H2L2 to masterplan the 498-acre hilltop campus.
The 2009 TSA Design Awards jury met in Austin on May 15 to view 261 submittals of built work. The jurors were Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA, of Hargreaves Associates (San Francisco, Cambridge, and New York); Rick Joy, AIA, of Rick Joy Architects (Tucson); and Philip Freelon, FAIA, of the Freelon Group (Durham, N.C.)
When Antoine Predock, FAIA, was in midst of conceiving the new Austin City Hall, he commented that the city was “terminally democratic.” He made the remark after his design survived a protracted review process that included more than a dozen town meetings and hearings before the City Council. A similar sort of public scrutiny – albeit on a smaller, neighborhood scale – resulted when Dick Clark Architecture added a zoning non-compliant residential building to its 1400 South Congress mixed-use project.
Wolfe Den, by MJ Neal, AIA, represents the Austin architect’s fifth TSA Design Award. The 2,300-sf residence, designed for a young professional couple, is a study in layers, light, and logic, and stands out in subtle contrast to Neal’s previous award-winning work, which includes Twin Peaks (2003), Ramp House (2004), Anthony Nak (2005), and Farley Studio (2007). “This is a much more subtle work than Ramp House and Twin Peaks. The division of space is central to this project,” says Neal, when asked to define the difference between this home and the three others (Twin Peaks comprises two side-by-side dwellings) on the same south Austin street. Sited in an eclectic neighborhood populated by mostly 1930s-era homes interspersed with hip makeovers, Wolfe Den is bordered on the east by a one-story bungalow and on the west by the strikingly modernist Ramp House. Further down the block are Twin Peaks.
The Ella Wooten Park Pool House, designed by Studio 8 Architects, is located within the redevelopment of Austin’s former Mueller Airport. The park serves as a public gathering place that embodies the city in both its locally derived design and emphasis on green technology.
The U.S. General Services Administration broke ground Sept. 2 on a long-awaited federal courthouse in downtown Austin, an event made possible by the federal lawmakers authorized $116 million for the project when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year.
When Graeber Simmons & Cowan began the design of Advanced Micro Device’s (AMD) new campus in southwest Austin, it was with an appreciation of the environmentally sensitive nature of the site, consisting of 59 acres with varying topography and ecology. GS&C has set a new standard for the region’s corporate campuses in his attempt not just to satisfy environmental criteria but to incorporate them for the benefit of AMD’s culture and the buildings’ users.
The University of Texas at Austin has a rich history of campus planning. Previous plans, especially those by Cass Gilbert and Paul Cret in the early twentieth century, contributed immeasurably to the overall quality of the campus environment. Buildings erected during that era both defined and responded to outdoor spaces, the two components coalescing to create the public realm of the UT campus.
The University of Texas at Austin has a rich history of campus planning. Previous plans, especially those by Cass Gilbert and Paul Cret in the early twentieth century, contributed immeasurably to the overall quality of the campus environment. Buildings erected during that era both defined and responded to outdoor spaces, the two components coalescing to create the public realm of the UT campus.
The 17,500-sf Citibank, built on an in-fill site at 5th and Rio Grande streets in downtown Austin, includes a street-level retail banking lobby, four drive-through lanes, and two upper floors for offices of commercial banking. Marmon Mok designed the $5 million project.
The local chapter of the AIA recognized four projects in the General Design category and one project in the Mayor’s Award category in ceremonies that took place at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The members of the 2007 jury were Julie Eizenberg, AIA, of Koning Eizenberg Architecture in Los Angeles; Errol Barron, FAIA, of Errol Barron/Michael Toups in New Orleans; and Kevin Alter, Assoc. AIA, of Alterstudio Architects in Austin.
The Lower Río Grande Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects kicked off its fifteenth annual conference on Sept. 27 with a day-long tour of nineteenth-century architecture in the border cities of Brownsville and Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Called “A Tale of Two Cities,” the tour was led by Gregory Free, principal of an Austin design firm specializing in historical restoration.
The study of campus architecture in Texas is truly a lesson in cultural diversity. Just by sampling schools in the University of Texas System, one would observe everything from a Beaux-Arts rendering of Spanish Mediterranean motifs on the Austin campus to a playful reinterpretation of Bhutanese monasteries in El Paso.
Commuter rail is returning to Austin, bringing with it several transit oriented developments (TOD) that will drive the creation of new live/work/play neighborhoods centered around at least eight train stations. Perhaps as early as this fall, Austin will join Dallas and Houston in reviving urban rail travel as a means to reduce traffic congestion and as a catalyst for thoughtful intracity planning. That means more people in and around Austin will have the option of leaving their cars at home.
Anthony Nak Flagship Store, a high-end jewelry boutique designed by MJ Neal Architects of Austin, has been recognized with a 2008 AIA Honor Award for Interior Architecture. Located in downtown Austin, Anthony Nak represents the only project with a Texas connection among this year’s slate of winners.
When hundreds of architects and urban planners convene here in March for the Congress of the New Urbanism’s CNU XVI, one of their main topics of conversation will be: Can Austin be a truly great city?
The project will extend the James D. Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge northward to connect the Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail to the Lamar Corridor and downtown. The bridge, completed in 2001, is named in the memory of James D. Pfluger, FAIA, who helped push the City of Austin’s development of the popular lakeside trail system.
Anyone who has visited Austin’s eclectic strip of retail and restaurants along South Congress knows the SoCo entertainment district to be a vortex of bohemian conviviality. The city’s head-long rush to grow and densify is readily apparent along the wide avenue that stretches below downtown. SoCo encompasses a few commercial blocks comprised of small buildings, none more than three stories tall. Residential neighborhoods back up to the businesses, and the homeowners are notorious for opposing the slightest change in the street frontage.
The jury for the 2008 TSA Design Awards will be arts writer Judith Dupré and architects Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA. The three are scheduled to meet June 27 in Austin to review entries and make their selections. The deadline for entries is May 30.
Healthcare architecture has made significant strides over the past 20 years to provide environments that are more sensitive to the needs of patients, families, physicians, and staff. There is a greater understanding that wellness and healing are supported not only by advances in medicine and technologies in diagnostics and treatment, but also by the quality of the building’s environment. Designed for the Seton Healthcare Network by Karlsberger of Columbus, Ohio, the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin builds on these improvements to the healthcare environment and takes its design to an even higher level while also achieving ambitious goals for environmental stewardship.
Built on the banks of Lake Bastrop this interfaith chapel forms a contemplative moment within the pine forest just east of Austin. Commissioned by the Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council, the open-air structure hosts all manner of religious gatherings. The gate-like structure, oriented east to west, frames a view across the lake of the setting sun.
A recent article in the real estate section of the Austin American-Statesman called attention to a growing demand among homebuyers for “Texas contemporary.” The interest is such that even production homebuilders are beginning to introduce spec models patterned after the regional vernacular of the Hill Country.
The Austin Museum of Art’s announcement in February of a joint venture with Hines of Houston marks the third time since the 1980s that hopes have been raised for a new downtown AMOA home.
AIA Austin honored seven projects during the chapter’s 2008 Awards and Honors Gala held on April 19 at the Mexican American Cultural Center. The projects were selected from a pool of 65 entries submitted by local firms.
The Los Angeles team of Amy Wynne and Mark Leveno received the Grand Prize (including $1,000) in the Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space (TOGS) Ideas Competition sponsored by Art Alliance Austin and AIA Austin.
To drive the backroads of rural Texas is to travel through history. Just below the surface of many small towns, a palpable immigrant heritage dwells. The signs are sometimes obvious, the annual festivals celebrating a community’s cultural origins and the museums dedicated to preserving the locals’ ethnic roots. Also, the old churches, many built by the hands of those who settled the area, often serve as tangible reminders of the unique narrative of a peoples’ journey from faraway native lands in their quest for a new, more tolerant home.
The recently completed first phase of the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) for the Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department is dedicated to the creation, preservation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican-American cultural arts and heritage. Envisioned as a resource both for the local community and visitors through education and community participation, the center focuses on fostering an understanding and appreciation of Hispanic culture, as well as ambitiously featuring indigenous cultures of Americas. The programs and educational curriculum at the MACC includes the visual arts, theater, dance, literature, music, multi-media, and the culinary arts.
The new 30,374-square-foot mixed-use building, named 6th & Brushy, is part of the first generation of live-work properties to be built in east Austin. The project is located at the corner of 6th and Brushy streets, two blocks east of Interstate 35.
Lisa Germany’s latest book, Great Houses of Texas, was published this year by Harry N. Abrams Publishing Company illustrated with photographs by Grant Mudford. The author recently answered questions posed by Austin architect Heather McKinney, FAIA.
“Lessons from Rome” explores the enduring impact of the ancient metropolis on Robert Venturi, Tod Williams, Thomas Phifer, and Paul Lewis. The four architects are Fellows of the American Academy in Rome (AAR) whose experiences there continue to inform their design work. Curated and produced by Smilja Milovanovic-Bertram, an assistant professor at the UT Austin School of Architecture, the exhibition juxtaposes photographs of Rome with images of the architects’ subsequent work. The exhibition, funded through grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Visual Studies and UT Austin, opens on Oct. 20 at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture.
Last February TSA’s Design Awards Committee, with representatives from almost all of the 17 AIA chapters across Texas, gathered in Austin to elect a jury for this year’s program. Texas has been privileged to host a variety of astounding critics throughout the Design Award’s 57-year history. This year was no exception. Billie Tsien, AIA; Steven Ehrlich, FAIA; and Judith Dupré accepted the challenge of reviewing 267 Design Award entries and 87 Studio Award entries. The ensuing deliberations showcased each juror’s individual perspective and approach to their work.
Located in downtown Austin ’s fledgling 2nd Street District, the new 18-story AMLI II integrates 35,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, four and one-half levels of above-ground parking, an activity deck on the fifth level above the garage, and 231 rental apartments on 17 floors.
Located just two blocks from the State Capitol, the three-story 20 x 150-foot sliver at 811 Congress represents one of the few remaining historic buildings in downtown Austin. The structure, originally built in 1874 and used over the years to house a series of retail establishments, had been ravaged by fire and abandoned when Dennis Karbach bought the property to turn it into a residence. He hired Tim Cuppett, AIA, to help him realize the potential for the 9,000-sq. ft. shell hidden beneath an outmoded 1950s-era perforated-metal brise soleil.
Designed as a “village by a canal ,” this waterside residence integrates a series of small-scale, gable-roofed buildings with a narrow site along an inlet of Lake Austin. The architects of Lake/Flato once again have exhibited their adroit touch with materials and adeptness for capturing abundant outdoor views. Clustered like a rustic encampment, the individual buildings are designed to seamlessly blend their interiors with the exterior environment.
As one of two Miró Rivera projects selected for Design Awards this year, the renovation of this 1940s house required a fine balance between modern updates and traditional aspects of the original design.
Seton Medical Center, the largest medical and surgical acute care center in Austin, was in desperate need of a facelift. In 2005, Seton commissioned PageSoutherlandPage to expand and renovate its 1970s-era brick building. The scope of the expansion included 110,000 square feet of new facilities, including a day surgery center, a chapel with adjacent garden, a main entranceway, and a “front door image” for the hospital. When the work was completed, both the physical identity of the building and its capacity were improved.
An assemblage of 49 Corten steel plates arrayed in a coil-like shape, Miró Rivera Architects’ Trail Restroom is a captivating work of brutal simplicity.
The U.S. Courthouse in Alpine was universally admired by this year’s Design Awards jury for its simplicity of form and masterful response to the setting. The courthouse was a product of the U.S. General Service Administration’s Design Excellence Program with PageSoutherlandPage’s Austin office as the architect selected for the project.
The SHW Group, an Austin-based architectural and planning firm best known for its educational building design, developed the University of Texas at Brownsville’s Biomedical Research Laboratories and Community Sciences Building.
Located adjacent to Lady Bird Lake in Austin’s developing 27-acre Waterfront District, The Shore is a 22-story residential complex combining the luxury of lakeside living with the convenience of downtown accessibility. Designed for High Street Residential, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company, the complex sits within walking distance of the public hike and bike trail, Sixth Street’s nightlife, and the central business district.
Ever since 1962, when construction was completed on Interstate 35 through downtown Austin, the elevated highway effectively bisected the city between a prosperous west and a neglected east. Commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance to devise a solution to that perceived division, local firm Cotera + Reed Architects has imagined a permanent installation for a two-block section between Sixth and Eighth streets.
The complex development issues affecting Austin and the surrounding region are best understood when viewed as interwoven layers of culture and history suffused with equal amounts of enlightened leadership, misguided policies, good fortune, and poor planning.
It is hard for most of us to imagine the range of emotions and needs that a family experiences when a child is sick enough to require hospitalization. The staff and designers of the new Ronald McDonald House in Austin have clearly given this a lot of thought. The project offers a welcome refuge for parents and loved ones who keep vigil as their child undergoes treatment nearby at the Dell Children’s Medical Center. The latest of a national network built by Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Austin facility also merges purposeful design with sustainability. The architects’ success in creating an energy-efficient building has been recognized with the highest rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, making the Ronald McDonald House in Austin one of only three buildings in Texas to achieve LEED Platinum.
McKinney Green was the first LEED Platinum pre-certified shell and core project in Texas, to date one of only three in the state to achieve the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainability was established as a priority at the outset of the project by developer West World Holding Inc., a division of a Netherlands-based company. Advocating an integrated process, their intent was to build on knowledge gained from this project in future U.S. projects. After HDR was selected as the architect, Austin Commercial Construction was engaged early in the process for its experience in managing information as well as its record of completed projects.
When the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport shut down in 1999, the Austin City Council chose Catellus Development Group to transform the 711-acre site into a mixed-use “urban village.” As part of the development, local architectural firm Studio 8 was commissioned to design the first component—the renovation of an existing building that housed a private air terminal and an administrative office building.
Miró Rivera Architects’ Pedestrian Bridge was among three projects receiving top tier recognition in the 2006 The Architectural Review Awards for Emerging Architecture. Considered the best international award for young architects, the annual program celebrates the work of designers under the age of 45 who are at the start of their independent careers.
The new middle school building at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin represents one more step in a journey begun more than 15 years ago when school officials first collaborated with Austin architects Susman Tisdale Gayle. Over the years, STG has worked with the school to create a gracious campus composed of buildings set among large oaks and centered around what STG principal Jim Susman, AIA, calls “the community green”—the school’s athletic field.
IF all goes according to plan, on the morning of Feb. 25 the five-story structural frame that was once part of a planned $124-million office building for the Intel Corporation will be imploded to make way for a new federal courthouse. The skeletal remains of the unfinished project, abandoned by Intel in 2001 after a downturn in the technology sector, loomed for six years over the southwestern quadrant of downtown.
In constructing the $72 million Ullrich Water Treatment Plant expansion, the design team faced the challenge of addressing the community’s concerns while still adhering to the programmatic requirements.
On June 27, the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will open its doors as the first hospital in the world expected to achieve platinum LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council. Located on approximately 32 acres of the site formerly occupied by Austin’s Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, the four-story pediatric facility will replace the downtown Children’s Hospital of Austin with a complex three times its size.
The jury for the 2007 TSA Design Awards has been confirmed, with jurors scheduled to meet June 22–23 to review entries. The jury’s selections will be published in the September/October 2007 edition of Texas Architect. The awarded projects’ architects and owners will be honored during ceremonies at the TSA annual convention set Oct. 18-20 in Austin.
Breaking ground later this year, Ziegler Cooper Architects’ 55-story highrise of luxury condominiums will tower 680 feet above Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The $200 million project, scheduled to be completed in 2009, is expected to be the city’s tallest building.
In the early 1940s, the strip of asphalt known then as Austin Road served as a lively portal to the city that many San Antonians fondly recall for its many amusements. Lined on both sides by diners, motor courts, and nightclubs, Austin Road was a place where families enjoyed chocolate malts on a hot summer day and young couples danced the night away. Now called Austin Highway, visitors and locals alike headed there back then to lose themselves in the simple pleasures that San Antonio is still known for today.
AIA Austin honored 17 projects during the chapter’s 2007 Awards and Honors Gala held on May 12 at the Texas Memorial Museum on the University of Texas campus. The projects were selected from a pool of 65 entries submitted by local firms
The growing trend toward mixed-use developments in the United States is a welcome change from developments of the recent past where zoning more or less dictated single-use districts and led to an overall homogenization of our urban environment. And while they have much to offer, these new mixed-use developments have challenges to overcome if they are to thrive. It is clear that for them to function as relatively self-sufficient, sustainable communities, lessons must be incorporated from urban neighborhoods that have grown up over decades or, in some cases, centuries.
Art is important to Austinites, says Lauren Harris, director of mall marketing at the Domain, so the project’s developer installed 22 works by local artists to enhance the uniqueness of the setting
A prestigious Congress Avenue address and the excitement of living in the middle of downtown Austin wasn’t enough for Dennis Karbach. He also wanted suburban amenities in his five-bedroom townhouse, including a three-car garage, an outdoor swimming pool, and a yard. His architect was unfazed, despite the daunting challenge of meeting those needs in an old 20 x 150-foot, cave-like building.
The Texas Society of Architects has announced its annual Honor Awards to recognize significant contributions to the architectural profession and the quality of the built environment. The Honor Awards will be presented during the TSA annual convention to be held Oct. 18-20 in Austin.
Students at the University of Texas at Austin have a unique opportunity to design, fabricate and test the possibilities of combining renewable energy and contemporary dwelling design through their participation in the Solar Decathlon house competition. The program began in 2000, and UT students have participated in each of the three events that have taken place since then.
The Texas Society of Architects is pleased to announce the list of companies participating in the 2007 Expo in Austin (current as of August 1). Expo dates are October 18-19 at the Austin Convention Center. Make plans now to visit their booths, pick up new product information, ask a question, or just see a friend. Keep and use this handy guide as a reference tool. With over 200 companies listed, you will find products to fulfill your architectural needs.
While its exact site on the SMU campus remains undeclared, the architect of the future Bush Library is known—Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City. The architect selection was made public in late August. Stern’s office beat out two Texas firms that also had been short-listed, Lawrence W. Speck Studio of Page Southerland Page in Austin and Overland Partners of San Antonio.
Redevelopment of the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant (built 1950-1958) in Austin will transform the 7.8-acre site with a mix of office space, retail shops, condominiums, a boutique hotel, and special event space along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake).
Ballet Austin has been a fixture in the Austin arts community for more than 50 years. So when the ballet company and its academy, the fourth largest classical ballet academy in the nation decided to relocate to Austin’s ever-emerging Central Business District at the corner of 3rd and San Antonio, the idea fit like Cinderella’s slipper.
Following its return home in October from the 2005 Solar Decathlon, held in Washington, D.C., the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture’s SNAP House began phase two of an already remarkable life. The 800-sf experimental, pre-fabricated dwelling has been donated for use as affordable housing in a neighborhood not far from the university campus. The house will be hooked into the Austin Energy grid, supplying enough power to eliminate the utility bills for its tenants while also supporting the needs of two adjacent homes.
Clara Driscoll’s spirit looms over Laguna Gloria, her 1916 Mediterranean-style villa set along the banks of the Colorado River in Austin. Though she died in 1945, her personal touch remains palpable throughout the five-story house she and her husband Harry Sevier, a former state legislator, built on 28 acres formerly owned by Stephen F. Austin. The grounds in particular still bear her imprint, featuring landscaping inspired by gardens she had enjoyed while traveling in England and Italy.
AIA Austin honored 11 projects during the chapter’s 2006 Awards and Honors Gala held on Feb.25 at the Seaholm Power Plant. The projects were selected from a pool of 69 entries submitted by local firms.
Located on one of Austin’s arts magnet school campuses, the LBJ High School Theater establishes a revitalized arts presence within a setting of utilitarian academic buildings. The theater building, designed by Austin-based LZT Architects, is composed of inner and outer shells, with the baffled walls of the interior expressed as colorful planes on the building’s exterior.
With the delightfully unexpected and resourceful use of materials, Miró Rivera Architects has designed and supervised construction of a footbridge over an inlet of Lake Austin that pays homage to the site’s sensitive wetlands. The footbridge is the firm’s third completed project of a master plan for an eight-acre lakefront site that includes a three-acre inlet/lagoon. Preceding the bridge were a boat house and a guest house, with the main house planned as the next – and largest – component of the complex. Half of the residential site is designated as wetlands that serve as a migratory stop for egrets, cranes, and swans, and as such the site is regulated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A close look at the masthead on the opposite page will clue alert readers to the departure of Art Director Rachel Wyatt and Associate Publisher Linda Trinh, as well as the promotion of Ashley St. Clair from assistant editor to art director. Rachel, who joined the TA staff in November 2004, is the new associate art director at Texas Monthly. Linda, after almost two years with the TA staff, has taken a position with Bulldog Solutions in Austin as a marketing campaign manager
Yoshio Taniguchi, best known in the U.S. for his recent expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, will unveil his latest schematic design for Houston’s Asia House later this summer. The client, Asia Society Texas, has acquired two facing parcels totaling 78,000 square feet along one block of Southmore Boulevard between Caroline and Austin streets in the city’s Museum District. The 35,000-sq. ft. facility is expected to open in summer 2009 and will serve as a venue for cultural, artistic, educational, and business exchange.
In April 2005, Advanced Micro Devices announced plans for a new campus on a 59-acre tract at the southern edge of Austin to house its design and administrative staff. AMD hired Graeber Simmons & Cowan Architecture of Austin to design a masterplan as well as the individual components.
The 2002 expansion of the Austin Convention Center, a near doubling of the facility’s size, as well as the concurrent construction of a new convention center hotel, prompted city officials to consider an important question: Where will all those additional people park? Ultimately, the officials decided on a project that paired the city’s Convention Center Department and Austin Energy, the municipal electrical utility, and created 650-plus parking spaces while also providing chilled water for downtown customers.
University Federal Credit Union’s new Brodie Lane branch in Austin illustrates the institution’s rethinking of its marketing strategy. According to the architect, the goal was to design a visually striking landmark that would reflect the advances in technology within the banking world while not alienating UFCU’s long-standing, less digital-savvy members.
A team of faculty and students from The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture (UTSOA) has been invited to contribute its research and design ideas for the revitalization of New Orleans to the Venice Biennale. The exhibition, organized under the theme “Cities, Architecture and Society,” will run from Sept. 10 to Nov. 19.
This 82-unit, 14-story tower provides an anchor and landmark for a new mixed-use district in the southwest quadrant of downtown. A three-story, horizontal, stone volume houses the entry lobby, deep stacked porches, and a modest retail strip off a shady arcade. Parking for 164 vehicles is tucked behind and below.
Cup City, a temporary interactive lounge sponsored by Starbucks, was constructed over the course of the three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival using 41 (6 x 15-foot) fence panels, zip ties, and approximately 25,000 pieces of garbage.
Surrounded by a grove of more than 200 live oaks, the house is located just outside Austin and stands between the city’s new urban skyline and its rural past.
With a design inspired in the reeds that line the edges of the lake, this pedestrian bridge is a light structure integrated with its setting. The bars/reeds intertwine at the abutments and “grow” over the bridge, camouflaging and turning it into a symbiotic, almost invisible link.
The design focused on two principal goals—to orchestrate an inviting building that would encourage students to venture within and to create a place where spirituality would be part of everyday life, not something removed to a sacred sphere.
The review of Studio Award entries followed the jury’s finalizing its selections for Design Awards. From the 48 submittals, the jury kept 14 for a second round before deciding to award seven projects. Three of them in particular garnered praise from the jurors—Square of Circles by Jay Smith, AIA, of Dallas; Houston Skyscraper by Michael Kross, an architecture student at Rice University; and Design>Build>Texas by architecture students at UT Austin.
Planned as the third-tallest building in downtown Austin, the 30-story building will include a hotel and condominium tower, as well as street-level restaurants, a 30,000-sq. ft. children’s museum, and a 1,000-seat studio for live recordings of public television’s Austin City Limits.
In the ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) the City of Austin has a facility that invites its transient residents to join the community. Designed by LZT Architects of Austin and completed in 2004, the building is located at a busy downtown corner (just four blocks from its central corridor, Congress Avenue) and makes the most of its multi-faceted character, housing an impressive variety of resources within its stout concrete frame. Indeed, the uncommon facade it presents to the street is testament to the many parties involved in realizing such a project.