Bercy Chen Studio’s Self-Sustaining House optimizes rainwater retention, solar radiation, and a turbine-driven generator and compressor to satisfy all energy and water needs.
Bercy Chen Studio’s Self-Sustaining House optimizes rainwater retention, solar radiation, and a turbine-driven generator and compressor to satisfy all energy and water needs.
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.
Texas Architect magazine features the 2014 AIA San Antonio Design Awards.
Lake|Flato Architects' Josey Pavilion aspires to be the first Living Building in Texas.
Galveston Island State Park is shrinking: Scientists predict that the landmass will decrease 22 percent over the next 50 years due to rising sea levels and beach erosion, transforming much of what is dry land into open water or marsh.
For Kathleen English, AIA, of English & Associates, water management is one of the first things she thinks about when approaching a new project.
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.”
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.
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.
Rita Catinella Orrell features a kitchen and bath products roundup.
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.
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.
Shipley Architects designed a house that only boat-builders could detail so effortlessly.
Bercy Chen Studio’s design moves at the Cascading Creek House sleekly conceal extensive mechanics under the hood of a gorgeous space.
Rammed earth wall, rippling Venetian plaster, and colorful-blocks of the Margo Sawyer designed art walls, Page’s Torcasso residence achieves the sublime.
Artist Edward Burtynsky is bringing attention to water and its value to society through his renowned large-format photographs, which include images of irrigation fields in the Texas Panhandle.
The runway terrace at Rockridge Gardens stretches the landscape of the O’Neil Ford designed San Antonio house into the horizon.
Kirksey Architecture restored and rehabilitated Sylvan Beach Pavilion on the Gulf Coast, ensuring that the historic integrity of the building remained while also meeting current hurricane-code standards.
bcWORKSHOP has moved to the Lower Rio Grande Valley and is bringing its public design process to housing developments outside of Harlingen.
Rita Catinella Orrell features a hospitality products roundup.
Everything about bcWORKSHOP’s La Hacienda Casitas addresses how to keep 96,000 gallons of storm water on the property as long as possible so as not to inundate Harlingen’s storm system.
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.
Runa Workshop’s Austin Aquatic Center integrates landscape and architecture to create a water management system with real ecological benefits.
For the design of Atascocita Springs Elementary School in Humble, the architects of PBK integrated elements that support its science and math curricula while also reflecting the town’s rich tradition in energy production. Interactive kiosks allow students to log the school’s consumption of water, natural gas, and electricity—exercises that tie the building’s sustainable design features to grade-level appropriate curriculum.
SHW Group’s design of Garden Ridge Elementary School places the library at the center of campus, with a planted roof above and tubular skylights that draw daylight into the reading areas. Both elements are used as part of the school’s science curriculum, along with above-ground cisterns that collect rainwater and teach students about conservation of natural resources.
Throughout the history of human civilization, water has been revered as a life-giving force. Unfortunately, some modern societies have exploited this essential natural resource to deleterious extents. In El Paso, however, there’s a beacon of hope for the education of future generations about water conservation in the Chihuahuan Desert.
On the evening of May 6, 2008, an electrical short lead to an eruption of flames inside the upper levels of Old Main at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the four-alarm blaze destroyed the building’s dormered roof, top floor, and one of its circular four-story twin turrets. Although firefighters heroically extinguished the flames, water damage ultimately ruined most of the historic French Gothic-inspired landmark that dates to the institution’s late-nineteenth-century origins.
The new Tarrant County College (TCC) campus, situated just northeast of the historic county courthouse, should be on any architect’s Fort Worth visit list. However, some background is required to understand how the placement and form of the buildings were developed and, ultimately, why the project was abbreviated.
On April 19, the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (AIA–COTE) announced its Top Ten projects for 2012. This year’s batch of winners highlights community ties, social equity, and attentiveness to water issues. One Texas firm and three national/international firms with offices in Texas are among the winners.
On October 26, a symposium in El Paso will explore the life and career of architect and artist Charles Ewing Waterhouse, Jr. The occasion, scheduled as part of Tom Lea Month, marks the first time a consideration of modern architecture in El Paso is included in the scholarly festivities.
The Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) building is a collaboration among architecture firm Furman + Keil and an integrated project team that began before the design was initiated and continued throughout the design and construction process.
Founders Hall at the University of North Texas at Dallas campus is a multipurpose academic building that addresses current needs for the students, faculty, and staff, while allowing the campus to expand its curriculum and services. Designed by Overland Partners, the first floor of the 108,000-sf building contains public functions such as a library, open reading room, lecture theater, computer lab, large multipurpose spaces, and food service.
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.
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.
Since its completion in 1986, Fountain Place in downtown Dallas has been praised for both the geometrical precision of its 60-story tower clad in green glass and the extraordinary six-acre urban space that unfurls at its base.
Projecting into the southern end of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana is a small peninsula of scattered ponderosa pines, towering over a terrain of steep cliff, ridges, and ravines, sloping down to the water’s edge.
A game-changer in more ways than one, Rainwater Court inspires hope and creates new opportunities for more than 600 children and other residents of Mahiga, a rural Kenyan community.
On Oct. 30, AIA El Paso recognized seven projects at its 2009 Design Award Banquet held at the historic Camino Real Hotel in downtown El Paso. Four projects received a Design Award and two projects received an Honorable Mention.
On Oct. 6, the jury for AIA Fort Worth’s 2009 Design Awards program convened at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. They viewed 40 projects submitted by local architects before deciding on the nine they selected for distinction.
Built to inform and inspire the students and the local community about conservation, Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School in Boerne ISD is designed with a focus on the intelligent use of natural resources and protection of the natural environment.
In the fall of 2007, Watermark Community Church in Dallas completed phase two of a three-phase project that created an 11.5-acre campus master-planned and designed by Omniplan. First came the renovation of an eight-story office building to provide facilities for the church’s growing congregation, including spaces for adult education and children’s classes.
In 1836, shortly after Texas won its independence from Mexico, two New York real estate developers, John and Augustus Allen, claimed just over 6,600 acres as the site of Houston. The site, located at the confluence of the Buffalo and White Oak bayous, is where Houston’s first port, known as Allen’s Landing, opened for business in 1841.
Richard Ferrier’s life was like a series of his watercolors—transparent at first, then opaque, and finally transparent again as he shared his heart and soul to his students and friends. When painting, he would begin by masking off the borders and soaking the page with water. Then came the magic as he blended cobalt blue and yellow ochre, mixtures that would then bleed into the wet parchment and travel as the angle set by his hands allowed. His life was like that, a magical work of art created from a broad range of hues.
The jury for AIA Fort Worth’s 2008 Design Awards convened Oct. 14 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth where they sifted through 40 projects before selecting nine for distinction.
A few months before the Lower Río Grande Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects held its sixteenth annual Building Communities Conference in September, Hurricane Dolly blew the roof off the South Padre Island Convention Center.
Texas is gifted with many celebrated public landscapes from the modern era, including Philip Johnson’s Fort Worth Water Gardens (1974) and Thanks-Giving Square (1974); Daniel Kiley’s Fountain Place (1986) and Dallas Museum of Art (1983); and Peter Walker’s Nasher Sculpture Center Garden (2005).
The designers of Discovery Green incorporated art installations throughout the park, including interactive pieces that invite visitors to have a little fun. Great care was taken to ensure the installations would be visually prominent yet nestled within the park’s environs. Many of the works are by well-known artists, including Doug Hollis, whose Mist Tree (shown at left) is the latest of his water-jet sculptures designed for outdoor spaces around the U.S. His large interactive Gateway Fountain (at right) entices children to cool down from the heat.
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.
As our planet’s reserves of water and energy sources become increasingly limited, architects must develop forms of architecture that incorporate – even celebrate – sustainability design practices. Toward that end, my students at Texas Tech University are engaged in an ongoing project that focuses on a variety of solutions. The result is a living laboratory designed for the harsh microclimate of Foard County about 45 miles west of Wichita Falls.
The project proposes to redevelop Valencia’s old harbor in Spain that represents the commitment of the city with a modern spirit, rich in options and aspirations. This project of renovation and master planning intends to recover the harbor in a sustainable manner. The project proposes: 1) to create a waterfront where none currently exists; 2) to integrate the port into the city; 3) to suitably separate the port and non-port uses; 4) to order traffic circulation along the seafront; 5) to resolve the area in which the dry river bed joins the sea; 6) to conserve and recover the heritage of the area; 7) to propose a suitable combination of public and private uses; and 8) to consider pre-existing uses for their integration into a sustainable environment.
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.
In 1849, at the confluence of the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River, a fort was erected to protect pioneers settling in an area occupied by Native Americans. There were eight villages that developed around Fort Worth, seven were occupied by Native Americans, and one inhabited by white immigrants. White Settlement became a center of trade, a place of social interaction and mingling of societies, that still retains a strong sense of community.
Weatherford, the county seat of Parker County, is the headwaters of the West. When you imagine cowboys driving cattle through a small townin the “Old West,” Weatherford could easily be that town.
In theory, the task of selecting the TSA 25-Year Award is fairly simple. The jury’s work this year, however, posed a dilemma—to recognize the best of the lot or to reject it because of tragic events in its past. Of the five nominees one clearly stood out. But as magnificent as the Fort Worth Water Gardens is, no one who knows the park’s history can brush aside the fact that six people have died in accidents there since its opening in 1974.
Having enthralled visitors since its opening in 1974, yet despite the grim fact that six people have died there in two harrowing accidents, Philip Johnson’s idyllic Fort Worth Water Gardens is recognized this year with the Texas Society of Architects’ 25-Year Award. The project notably instills the agitated urban landscape with a refreshing serenity at the south edge of downtown, on a formerly blighted site adjacent to the municipal convention center.
The globally acclaimed architectural firm RTKL Associates, of Dallas has designed a pedestrian bridge in Macao, China, called The Helix. Inspired by the cultural intersections of technology and nature, the 161 meter curvilinear footbridge stands 11 meters over a developing tropical garden and water park, connecting two shopping malls within a large mixed-use entertainment superstructure.
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.
The University Research Study , completed by R.B Ferrier, FAIA, expands on traditional methods of architectural representation through a series of conceptual watercolor drawings. Ferrier, an associate professor at UT Arlington, teaches conceptual drawing as part of graduate design studio courses.
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.
t a time when our nation’s financial system seems to be imploding, it’s sometimes distressing to ponder what the future holds for the architectural profession. Our livelihoods are inextricably tied to the fortunes of the building industry, which quickly reacts to any economic downturn and in turn affects our work accordingly. Troubling, too, is the issue of global warming because our profession has an immediate and direct impact on the environment. And considering that buildings in the U.S. consume about 70 percent of the nation’s total electricity output and 12 percent of its water, it is evident that what we do as designers and builders in the future must be increasingly responsive to such grave issues.
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.
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.
ZeroHouse is a 650-square-foot prefabricated house designed to operate autonomously, with no need for utilities or waste connections. It generates its own electrical power, collects and stores rainwater, and processes all waste.
The synagogue and its outdoor courtyard (far left) form the heart of the campus. The water, walkways, and greenery spiraling around the holy space serves as a reminder that all things flow from the school’s religious foundation.
Modernity has not been kind to old adobe structures. Since the 1920s, patching adobe with cement was a common technique to preserve historic churches, forts, and haciendas across the arid Southwest. That practice has turned out to be disastrous for those buildings because the cement traps water inside adobe walls as the sun-dried mud bricks wick moisture up from the ground. Adobe allows that water to evaporate, but it cannot escape if the wall’s surface is impermeable.
From the completion of Robert H.H. Hugman’s River Walk in 1941 to the channelization carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beginning in the 1950s, the San Antonio River has undergone extensive modifications to direct flood waters away from the central city. While these flood-control measures have been essential to the development of San Antonio, much of the work was done at the expense of the river’s ecosystems.
The old Tobin Aerial Surveys headquarters, a conspicuous San Antonio landmark since the 1920s, presents a distinctive profile to the industrial district just south of the downtown. With a concrete water tower standing atop its flat roof and vertical ribbons of red brick accentuating its six-story rise above ground level, the building can be seen for miles.
More than any other aspect of nature, water has forced its way into the collective consciousness of Gulf Coast cities with the threat of frequent floods and heavy rains during each hurricane season. While most designers think of water as something to be shed as quickly as possible from a building and its site, brothers Chung Nguyen, AIA, and Chuong Nguyen of MC_ Architects have conceived a remarkable double residence in Houston whose central feature is a pavilion surrounded by a manmade rainwater pond.
The Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center, designed by Marmon Mok, will be a 30,000-sq. ft. regional headquarters serving Girl Scouts in the San Antonio area and nine surrounding counties. The wooded seven-acre site just north of San Antonio International Airport offered the architect the opportunity to embrace the spirit of the Girl Scouts by taking a “nature in the city” approach that has resulted in several environmental-friendly attributes, including rainwater collection, hiking paths, and native landscaping.
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.
A well-traveled sidewalk on the Penn State campus leads past Hort Woods, the university’s last swath of untouched forest. The path turns slightly at a large water tower before continuing on axis toward Henderson Mall, the historic main quad. When under-designed parking lots abutted this minor turn, it was essentially unnoticeable. Now, though, a great green curtain wall, four stories tall, closely faces this path. The patinated copper southwest facade of the new Stuckeman Family Building for the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture seems to peel away from the structure here, ending in a cantilever.
The School of Nursing enhances human health and productivity while having as little impact on the environment as possible. It is itself a healthy building that was built with 50-percent recycled materials and designed to reduce energy use by 40 percent and water use by 60 percent. The project, submitted for a LEE D Gold rating, was selected by the AIA Committee on the Environment as a 2006 Top Ten Green Project.