Austin’s Emerging Projects
Austin's Emerging Projects
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.