Traces of UTSOA’s First Century
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.”
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.”
For their deep involvement in community-based organizations promoting architecture, art, and education, the AIA this year confers honorary membership on Howard and Cindy Rachofsky of Dallas.
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.
Among the recipients of 2011 AIA Institute Honors are two projects with Texas connections and the Dallas Architecture Forum.
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 concept by two UT Arlington School of Architecture graduate students – Sarah Kuehn and Nakjune Seong – shared first place in an international urban design context to explore “live, work and play” opportunities in the heart of Fargo, N.D.
With the help of a local group of Latino architects, the west Dallas neighborhood known as La Bajada has organized to retain its cultural identity and single-family homes. The efforts are in response to plans by the City of Dallas to explore redevelopment scenarios that would transform an area along the Trinity River near the downtown into a high-density urban village. The area currently includes several small neighborhoods, one being La Bajada.
A diverse jury with a broad spectrum of interests and experience met at the Architecture Center Houston on Feb. 25 to evaluate a wide variety of submittals in this year’s AIA Houston Design Awards competition. Eligibility was limited to projects completed within the last five years and located in the Houston metropolitan area or designed by an architect working in the Houston metropolitan area.
What began as a small furniture project undertaken by architecture students in a studio at Texas A&M ultimately evolved into an intricate plywood sculpture of curved components that now hangs in the Langford Architecture Center. Permanently installed in the ceiling on the first floor of Building A, the 18x16-foot Plywood Mesh #002 was produced with advanced digital fabrication technology available in the College of Architecture.
The $1.27 billion Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas is currently under construction to replace the existing 54-year-old Parkland Memorial Hospital. HDR Architecture partnering with Corgan Associates, both based in Dallas, was selected as the design team for the new 17-story, 862-bed hospital and master-planned campus, which includes expansion zones for future additions.
All legislative sessions require good attention and vigilance, and the 2011 Session of the Texas Legislature has more than its share of issues and challenges. As the new Executive Vice President for the Texas Society of Architects, I was impressed and encouraged with the large turnout of architects for the first-ever Advocates for Architecture Day at the Capitol on Jan. 25.
This edition’s featured projects strike a balance between a building’s unique program and the desire for synthesis with its surroundings. The design of the U.S. Courthouse in El Paso directly relates to the region’s geography and history, while adhering to stringent security standards; the restoration of Ancient Oaks near Bastrop recaptures a once-lost sense of place through sensitivity to existing conditions; the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg demonstrates how to tell a heroic story through architecture without overwhelming a small town’s historic fabric; and Singing Bell Ranch quietly nestles in its rural grassland setting to offer its city-dwelling owners a getaway of “ranch pragmatism” and prevailing breezes.
The face of federal architecture was certainly revamped under the auspices of the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program inaugurated in 1994 under the leadership of Ed Feiner, FAIA. Without question, the GSA’s revised protocol for the design of federal facilities represented a radical departure from the concrete bunkers and sterile buildings developed during Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society domestic programs era.
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.
After the war, following his service with the U.S. Naval Engineers, Hal Box returned to Texas to restart his architecture career. Having shared an apartment while studying architect at the University of Texas, we were reunited in the early 1950s when we worked together for Don Nelson in Dallas.
Think you’re a better designer than a third grader? Think again, suggests Michael Imbimbo, AIA, of San Antonio. Having recently spent a semester working with a class at San Antonio ISD’s Hawthorne Elementary, Imbimbo came away from the experience with renewed respect for a child’s unbridled eagerness for exploration. “As creative as we architects think we are,” Imbimbo says, “we’re no match for a bright, happy, and enthusiastic third-grader.”
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.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have grown up a short drive from the Kimbell Art Museum. While it might be a bit of a stretch to say that Louis Kahn’s vaulted masterpiece was the reason I decided to become an architect, it certainly did provide a compelling example of what great architecture could be.
The overarching idea behind the popular term placemaking is that thoughtful architecture can transform the public realm by establishing an interconnectedness within a community. This edition features five recent projects that represent successful placemaking on both large and small scale. The common thread running through all of them is how they each have created new or recreated lapsed relationships to their surroundings.
A recent t our sponsored by Houston Mod, a design advocacy group, highlighted the residential architecture of Beaumont’s leading mid-century modernists. The day trip was the culmination of a series of events highlighting April as Modern Month, in which affiliates of the international DoCo-MoMo (Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement) celebrated modern heritage locally and regionally.
Every year since 1939, the statewide architecture community has gathered for professional development, fellowship, and the opportunity to see the best its host city has to offer. This year’s convention of the Texas Society of Architects builds on that long history.
As architects and urban planners, let’s congratulate ourselves for what we are doing today as we glance back to the recent past. In the 1960s, community planning, particularly at the federal level, was sorely lacking. At that time, there was a widespread feeling that a building’s function was enhanced when isolated by typology with others of its kind. Codes specified zones – Industrial, commercial, or residential – and in many cases still do. But back then, the codes were reinforced by a climate of opinion that believed isolation was efficient and socially relevant.
Our nineteenth-century Texas forebears lived more closely with nature than we do, but of course they had little choice in the matter. Though we sometimes romanticize that close relationship, most early Texans probably would have traded the romance for a window unit air conditioner. Nevertheless, they made the most of their situation and there remains much that we can learn from them about the intersection of daily lives, architecture, and nature.
On May 20, the 2011 design awards jury met to review the 257 entries submitted in this year’s program. The distinguished jury consisted of three exceptional professionals with diverse practice and professional experiences, along with a considerable love of architecture and design.
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.
Bridges are a cherished design problem. The clear span represents a common exercise for architecture students exploring essential concepts of structure, tension, and compression. Regrettably, architects are seldom commissioned to design a bridge project.
As we observed in Part I (published in the previous edition) of this two-part series, the term “the Work” in the construction contract comprises more than labor and materials. In fact, the success of a project relies heavily on the contractor’s ability to plan, coordinate, and execute the means, methods, techniques, sequences, and procedures required to put the Work in place. This is not a new concept. Ten Books on Architecture, written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in 30 BC for Roman Emperor Augustus, emphasizes planning as being integral to good building construction. In Part I we identified many of the components of the contractor’s Work Plan. We referred to several available resources and pointed out various indicators to look for as one administers the construction contract, including how to tell if a plan is in the works. In Part II we take the next step to examine alternatives and actions to take if there is a weak or nonexistent plan, including a look at efforts by some contractors to manipulate work scope to avoid conformance. We will conclude with a successful case study followed by suggestions for managing the risks and liabilities that so often arise when the Work is not properly planned or managed.
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.
The best architecture combines the rigor of scientific inquiry with the inspired explorations of art. Equal amounts of science and art produced the four projects profiled on the following pages—two designed for scientific research and two related to the arts.
The prairie has returned to Fort Worth’s Cultural District. Evicted long ago by urbanization, native flora have again taken root along University Drive where revived grassland heralds the emergence of a unique enterprise. So surprising is the sight of children at play in this field of prairie grasses that one may not immediately see the new building on the site.
This edition covers a broad sweep of variations on the “Design for Education” theme, from new facilities for private and public schools to an award-winning architecture course at UT Arlington that is now improving the everyday experiences of Arlington residents. There’s also a news article about a green roof on the campus of UT El Paso, an unlikely – but so far successful – attempt at sustainable design in a desert climate.
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.
Patricia Belton Oliver, FAIA, who served from 2001-2008 as senior vice president of educational planning and architecture at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., has been named dean of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. Oliver succeeds Joe Mashburn, AIA, who held the post for the last 11 years.
One year after her course, The Everyday City, was recognized with an AIA Education Honor Award, University of Texas at Arlington Assistant Professor Wanda Dye has tasked her architecture students with improving the everyday life of all Arlington residents. Through collaboration with City of Arlington staff, their work is a natural extension of the investigations they undertook for The Everyday City. In that class, Dye asked them to re-imagine the most mundane and banal aspects of the suburban environment.
While other prominent universities in the U.S. comprise a fusion of signature stylistic expressions, Rice University has focused on architecture that reinforces the well synchronized, harmonious feel of its campus. Aside from some unique buildings – such as Thomas Pfeiffer’s Brochstein Pavilion and the school’s off-site Data Center and the Library Service Center by Carlos Jimenez – that provide interesting drama to the otherwise prevailing architectural uniformity,
One Texas project – the Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University by Thomas Phifer and Partners – is among 14 projects recognized with 2010 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture.
One of Houston’s landmarks of modern architecture has been rededicated after a $16 million renovation. The historic Farnsworth & Chambers Co. building, designed by MacKie & Kamrath and completed in 1957, has been the home of Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department since 1977. Known as the Gragg Building after the donor of adjacent parkland, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Registered Texas Historic Landmark and a City of Houston Landmark.
Bastrop is among this year’s Dozen Distinction Destinations as named by the National Trust for Preservation. The nonprofit organization compiles a list annually to call attention to cities and towns that “offer an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes, and a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability, and revitalization.”
Austin architect W. Eugene George’s classic work, Lost Architecture of the Río Grande Borderlands, has returned to print in a handsome new edition.
In premodern cities, the architecture of the public domain – the temples, cathedrals, monuments and the deliberately shaped spaces around them – conferred status to citizens and communicated authority to the outside world. Central Park and Bryant Park in New York City; Golden Gate Park, Market Street and the Embarcadero in San Francisco; and the venerated Emerald Necklace in Boston are public spaces in more recent cities. In the best examples of all worlds, cities are continuous networks of humanized space.
Built last year, the St. Stephen Deacon + Martyr Sanctuary of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso represents the final phase of a project designed by Alvidrez Architecture. Comprising a total 42,000 sf on 7.5 acres, the project took 10 years to complete. The 25,745-sf sanctuary, its design inspired by the themes of light and journey, accommodates a capacity of 1,000 people and was completed on a $3.6m budget.
By broadening the theme for this edition to encompass wellness, TA’s staff expanded the range of feature projects beyond medical facilities. That allowed us to include The Bridge, a new homeless assistance center on the southern edge of downtown Dallas that addresses the well being of that community’s neediest residents. The Bridge, recognized for design excellence by the AIA and other national organizations, is a collaborative effort between CamargoCopeland Architects in Dallas and Overland Partners Architects in San Antonio.
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 American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded honorary membership to Gail Thomas, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Trinity Trust Foundation. Honorary membership is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow on any person outside the profession of architecture. Thomas, a Dallas resident, was recognized for her efforts to improve cities and for her support of the arts and architecture.
With the deadline having passed on April 23 for the 2010 TSA Design Awards, three jurors have been selected to review this year’s entries on May 21 at the TSA offices. The jurors are Adèle Naudé Santos, FAIA, dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and a principal of Santos Prescott and Associates in San Francisco; Tom Phifer, FAIA, of Thomas Phifer and Partners in New York; and Edward Bosley, director of the Gamble House in Pasadena, Calif., and an art historian on the faculty of the USC’s School of Architecture. They were chosen by the TSA Design Awards Committee, chaired by Michael Malone, AIA.
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.
Originally built in the mid-1950s, City Bank Auditorium in Lubbock is about to undergo its first major update since opening 60 years ago. Kirkpatrick Architecture Studio in Denton and Westlake Reed Leskosky in Cleveland, Ohio, have partnered to complete renovations and additions to the auditorium located adjacent to the northeast corner of the Texas Tech campus.
Over the last few years my wife, Amy Ladner, and I have photographed several of Corbusier’s buildings in France. Before these trips together I had been to India to see his work at Chandigarh, and I can honestly say after photographing architecture for over 40 years, Corbu’s buildings are among the most powerful structures I have seen. St. Pierre in Firminy is typical. It is not only an example of Corbu’s genius, but a wonderful story of the persistence of those who understand and love great architecture, and are willing to preserve it.
The 56,700-sf Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS ) building in Dallas replaces two separate USCIS offices. Completed in 2008 and designed by 4240 Architecture of Chicago, the two-story building includes a waiting room, information counters, a processing office, and a ceremony room on the first floor.
The idea of extremes, of designing the tallest or most outlandish work of architecture, seems appropriate in a state as celebrated as ours for audacious gesture. Unfortunately, we also live in a place where the art of architecture criticism has left the building. Currently, no daily newspaper in the state employs a critic solely dedicated to assessing architectural design and reporting his or her reflections, and the continued demise of architecture criticism bodes ill for our entire society.
Volunteer members of AIA Brazos inaugurated the chapter’s first “Architecture in Schools” program earlier this year, taking lessons about potential career opportunities to a total of 39 fourth-grade students.
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.
This year’s TSA Studio Awards will be judged by three Arizona architects, each respected for design work and commitment to sustainable architecture. Comprising the jury is Wendell Burnette, FAIA, of Wendell Burnette Architects in Phoenix; John Kane, FAIA, a founding principal of Architekton in Tempe: and Philip Weddle, AIA, of Weddle Gilmore Black Rock Studio in Scottsdale.
Though ravaged by periodic hurricanes and economic doldrums for over a century, much of Galveston’s magnificent architecture survives. The island city’s glory days, the three decades that preceded the devastating storm of 1900, are recalled in its richly detailed commercial edifices and stately Victorian-era homes.
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.
(Shell)ter for Home, designed by Jeffrey Brown, AIA, of Powers Brown Architecture in Houston, is a 1,400-sf affordable housing solution based on Quonset hut construction (prefabricated, arched steel buildings introduced during WWII for their easy transport and assembly). Brown’s plan places the building on an east/west axis to respond to solar orientation and create public/private exterior space, along with “curb appeal.”
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.
In a famous Letter to the Editor in Architectural Record, architect Andres Duany labeled the four types of architectural consumers—patrons, clients, customers, and martyrs. Although he was writing in reference to housing, let’s (with apologies to Mr. Duany) apply the same categories to municipal architecture.
Integrating architecture into any given context while maintaining design integrity is a fine art. Architects must constantly walk the line between over- or under-contextualizing a building to support its strength as a unique entity within its environment. Somewhere between total disregard to surroundings and cliché facsimiles of geologic or biologic imagery, a good architect can find a project’s meaning without being overt. Such sought-after balance has been gracefully achieved by Overland Partners with the firm’s new Overlook Pavilion at Penn State University.
In recognition of its distinguished architecture and significant contributions to the architectural profession and the community, Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio was presented with the 2010 TSA Architecture Firm Award on Oct. 15 during the Texas Society of Architects/AIA convention.
As a young man fresh off the farm and poised to begin his university studies, Ray Bailey couldn’t decide between architecture or commercial art as his future career. He had always liked to draw and saw things in three dimensions.
A project by architecture students at the University of Texas at San Antonio to document the Heermann Store, a single-story commercial building erected in 1892 in rural southwest Bexar County, has been recognized with a 2010 Charles E. Peterson Prize.
Two juries – one judging the built projects and another the unbuilt – for AIA Dallas’ 2010 Design Awards program presented 16 awards following deliberations in late September at the Dallas Center for Architecture. A total of 117 submittals, 74 built and 43 unbuilt, were entered by members of the local chapter.
Six projects by members of AIA Northeast Texas were recognized in the chapter’s 2010 Design Awards program. Jurors viewed a total of 15 entries before making their selections on Oct. 14 at the Center for Architecture in San Antonio.
The renovation and expansion of San Marcos’ Texas State University Student Recreation Center, designed by San Antonio firm Marmon Mok, is the first campus project to adhere to new guidelines that call for Spanish Colonial architecture and a specific material palette.
AIA Fort Worth has joined the ranks of progressive chapters in establishing a new home and a venue for public outreach on issues of architecture and design. Located one block from the Cultural District, the new Center for Architecture is a neighbor to several world-famous destinations for art and architecture.
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.
Reconsidering the Houston Astrodome was the primary focus for the Practicum + Studio at Texas Tech University this past fall. Graduate students of the College of Architecture gain professional experience with local firms while engaging in a studio project that responds to identified community needs.
The jury in AIA El Paso’s 2008 awards program recognized seven projects for design excellence. From more than 25 entries submitted in four categories – commercial, interiors, residential, and future projects – the jury presented two Honor Awards, four Merit Awards, and one Honorable Mention.
After 11 years as architecture dean of the University of Houston, Joe Mashburn, AIA, has announced that he will step down prior to the start of the Fall 2009 semester.
In the lab, we students are gathered in a tight group around Philip Johnson listening while he tells us of his recent visit to Taliesin West for a meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s almost as if we are walking with him as he describes in vivid detail his approach to the compound and begins making his way through the masterfully orchestrated series of rooms and passages; we take each turn with him, see each vista, revel at every ray of light, and feel in our viscera every quickening, every slowing through space and time.
The monumental architecture of the University of Texas at El Paso, featuring creamcolored, battered walls and red clay tile roofs with sweeping overhangs, is unique yet foreign to its surrounding environs.
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
Andy Dekaney High School recently received the 2008 Caudill Award, the highest honor given in the TASA /TASB Exhibit of School Architecture. Based on findings that students perform better in small groups, “Instruction Should Drive Construction” was the guiding philosophy for SH W Group’s design of the 486,000-square-foothigh school sited on 80.7 acres in Houston’s Spring Independent School District.
Walnut Bend Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District received the 2008 TASA /TASB Exhibit of School Architecture’s “Special Recognition for Outstanding Primary School” commendation.
Waxahachie Global High School received the 2008 TASA /TASB Exhibit of School Architecture “Special Recognition for Outstanding School Renovation.” Huckabee and Associates restored the three-story, 1917 T.C. Wilemon building, transforming the 79,356-square-foot space into a high-tech campus equipped with the latest technology.
The architecture CLUSTER at Skyline High School began in 1972 as one of the magnet career programs offered by the Dallas Independent School District to help prepare students for a variety of professions. From the outset, the objective was to provide students with the essential concepts of the practice of architecture.
Robert R. Bruno, known for his idiosyncratic Steel House that evolved over three decades of design and construction, died Dec. 9 at the age of 63 from complications of cancer. A member of the faculty of Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture in the late 1970s, Bruno later taught courses there periodically.
“Dallas is a place where the future looks better than the past,” states Ed Baum, the former dean of the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture and longtime Dallas resident. His description succinctly sums up both the regret of missed opportunities and the promise of better things to come. At the same time both sad and optimistic, his quip also captures the essence of the American city over the last 100 years or so—a place always expanding outward and leaving behind what came before, not just its downtown, but also its history. In short, the American city is forever searching for “a better future.” Dallas is a good example.
Lake/Flato Architects’ Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange is among the Top Ten Green Projects for 2009 as recognized by the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE). Each year the national award celebrates excellence in sustainable architecture and design solutions that protect and enhance the natural environment.
In 1958, architect Vernon Helmke inaugurated a program at San Antonio College to prepare students for careers in architecture. Since offering those first classes in design, graphics, freehand drawing, and construction, SAC’s architectural curriculum has grown in size and reputation.
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.
Gisue Hariri of Hariri & Hariri Architecture in New York City, has been selected to lead the 2009 Texas Society of Architects Studio Awards jury. This year’s TSA Studio Awards will be judged separately from the Design Awards, and the deadline for entries has been set later in the year to encourage more students to participate in the competition.
AIA Houston honored 12 projects at its 53rd annual Design Awards Dinner held on March 26 at the Rice Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom. Winners were selected from 115 entries in six categories: architecture, residential architecture, interior architecture, renovation/restoration, urban design, and on the boards.
The opportunity to offer one’s knowledge and skills to young people can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. When such an opportunity arose recently, I joined several members of AIA Dallas’ Women in Architecture in preparing a presentation for middle school-aged girls to help them realize their potential for professional careers. Our presentation was part of the national “Expanding Your Horizons” program sponsored by the American Association of University Women.
In early 2004, a group of prominent local philanthropists negotiated a landmark deal with Houston Mayor Bill White. As outlined in the pact, the City of Houston contributed several downtown parcels in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the philanthropists agreed to fund the design and maintenance of a world-class park that promised to breathe new life into the urban core. Named through a public competition, the non-profit Discovery Green Conservancy opened the $122 million park in April 2008 to widespread acclaim. The 11.8-acre urban amenity is located near the southeast edge of downtown, between the Toyota Center basketball arena and Minute Maid Park baseball stadium.
Amongst the challenges and tribulations of the day, we are compelled to make one parting comment about young people in architecture and their future.
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.
Lars Lerup stepped down as dean of the Rice University School of Architecture on July 1, a move that leaves two of Texas’ eight accredited schools of architecture searching for replacements. Earlier this year Joe Mashburn, AIA, announced that he would depart the dean’s office at the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
Designed by Marmon Mok Architecture, the 15,000-sf Stone Oak Branch Library will serve San Antonio’s growing population on the far northwestern edge of the city. The crescent-shaped building will be sited in a clearing among existing live oaks and will provide views of the Hill Country prairie’s native grasses, prickly pears, and elms, as well as neighboring limestone escarpments and a dry creek bed.
Architectural historian Virginia McAlester; architect and historian Willis Winters, FAIA; journalist Prudence Mackintosh; and photographer Steve Clicque have produced an extraordinary work on the history and architecture of Dallas’ two best-known twentieth-century residential communities, Highland Park and University Park.
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 Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas has shown a significant interest in architecture during its relatively brief history.
Sarah Whiting, a member of the Princeton University School of Architecture faculty and an expert in urban and architectural theory, has been named dean of the Rice University School of Architecture. Whiting officially takes command on Jan. 1.
Rice University graduate students Zhan Chen and Brantley Highfill (with faculty sponsor Douglas Oliver) recently received second place for their design Constructed Ecologies in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture “Concrete Thinking for a Sustainable World” International Student Design Competition.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Amsterdam and Paris, and one of the things that surprised me – besides $20 chicken salad sandwiches washed down with $15 glasses of vin ordinaire – was the number of architecture and design magazines for sale in airports, train stations, bookstores and sidewalk newsstands.
The program of the Rice School of Architecture (RSA) – encouraging students to create conceptual apparatuses for investigating contemporary urban phenomena – is outlined in its latest publication, Everything Must Move, released on the occasion of the fifth Kennon Symposium honoring Dean Lars Lerup as he steps down this year.
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.
This word painting by Rand Elliott, FAIA, explains how he wants people to understand his latest award-winning project, ImageNet of Houston. Employing poetry or manifestoes to describe one’s work is not uncommon these days. Indeed, such material appears to be a prerequisite of the current media culture that promotes “starchitects,” “signature architects,” and one-hit wonders. Supportive text is, we are led to believe, required reading. If a building appears mundane, baffling, or otherwise underwhelming, just refer to the narrative. Within the architect’s words, we are told, lies the true meaning which will assure in our prosaic times that, yes, this is Architecture.