Talking Shop with Four Under 40
Career building, like any other kind of building, can be a tricky business, but these four under 40 are making their way by starting new firms and by building leadership in small communities.
Career building, like any other kind of building, can be a tricky business, but these four under 40 are making their way by starting new firms and by building leadership in small communities.
The jury for the Lower Rio Grande Valley AIA chapter’s 2011 Design Awards Jury selected four projects for recognition. Jurors were Thomas Hayne Upchurch, AIA, of Brenham; Rick del Monte, FAIA, of Dallas; Donna Kacmar, FAIA, of Houston.
Edward M. Baum, FAIA, seeks to provide an alternative to traditional single-family homes by clustering four 1,350-sf residential units that share common interior walls and rigorously controlling construction costs.
It’s just six weeks away from the much-anticipated opening and Candid Rogers, AIA, is walking through his latest project, a former Magnolia Oil service station from the 1920s that is being renovated as a destination dining spot in San Antonio’s nuevo hip Southtown. Subcontractors are readying the floors for millwork scheduled for delivery in a few days. Rogers and his client, local chef Mark Bliss, are both eager to see the custom dining tables in place.
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.
Preservation Texas’ 2012 Honor Awards program is open to any individual, organization, business, or agency that is involved with historic preservation in Texas. All projects, activities, or individual service must have been completed between January 2009 and December 2011. Nomination forms and information on award categories are posted at preservationtexas.org. Applicants will be notified by May 1, 2012 as to the status of their award nomination. Awards will be based on the quality of the project, its presentation, significance, and uniqueness. The impacts of the nominee’s project on the community will also be considered.
A website maintained by the nonprofit National Institute of Building Sciences offers numerous resources at no charge to advance sustainable design, including online continuing education courses approved by the American Institute of Architects. The mission of the Whole Building Design Guide (www.wbdg.org) is to create successful high-performance buildings through an integrated team approach during a project’s planning and programming phases.
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.
Typical projects use spreadsheets for programming. The program for the new University of Texas at Dallas master plan, however, began with a conversation between Peter Walker, FASLA, and Margaret McDermott, a great patron of Dallas’ cultural milieu and widow of the late Texas Instrument co-founder Eugene McDermott. Walker recalls Mrs. McDermott saying, “Look, this is my husband’s and my life’s work. We want to leave this campus in as first class of an order as we can.”
On March 15, the long-awaited revisions to state accessibility standards become law. That date represents the culmination of efforts to synchronize overlapping federal and state guidelines that respond to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. As a result, Texas practitioners will no longer be required to cross-check two sets of regulations to ensure that their projects are conforming to the appropriate laws.
Among the 105 AIA members elevated this year to the AIA College of Fellows, eight are members of the Texas Society of Architects. The 2012 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony during the AIA convention in May. The AIA fellowship program was developed to recognize architects who have made a significant contribution to society and the architecture profession on a national level.
One Texan – James M. Evans, AIA, of Houston – is among the 13 recipients of the 2012 AIA Young Architects Award. Young Architects are defined by the AIA as professionals who have been licensed 10 years or fewer regardless of their age. The award honors individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers.
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.
Two awards were presented by AIA Lower Rio Grande Valley in the chapter’s 2011 Studio Awards program. Carolina Civarolo, AIA, of Boultinghouse Simpson Architects in McAllen, received the Spark Award for Digital Media for the proposed renovation and expansion of the University of Texas–Pan American’s College of Business Administration in Edinburg. Ortiz Architecture & Environment in Weslaco was recognized with a Design Award for an Unbuilt
Project for its Weslaco Family Care Center & Occupational Medicine Clinic.
Texas ranks eighth among states in the U.S. for the per capita amount of commercial and institutional square footage certified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system in 2011, according to figures released in January by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
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.
On March 29 the first cars rolled across the long-awaited Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas. Designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the bridge joins Reunion Tower and Pegasus as a standout on the icon-heavy Dallas skyline. It is named for the matriarch of the Hunt family which, through Hunt Petroleum, donated $12 million to the Trinity River Corridor Project in 2005.
Preservation Texas, Inc., a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has released its ninth annual list of “Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places.” Of the nine sites listed, three are discussed below as having the potential for becoming important catalysts for economic development in their communities if they can be saved.
For two days in February, a group of designers gathered in Midland to consider the challenges of producing top-flight architecture in a place far removed from the state’s larger urban areas. The event, dubbed “Architecture in the Hinterlands,” included an address by acclaimed Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons that featured his work in remote Nova Scotia.
AIA Houston’s 2012 design awards competition resulted in recognition for 21 projects in eight categories out of a total of 127 entries. Eligibility was limited to projects completed within the last five years and located within the Houston metropolitan area or designed by an architect working in the Houston metropolitan area.
In 1949, when I went to work in the high-profile office of George Dahl, I met Harold (Hagie) Jones. We were both draftsmen working at adjacent tables on the back row, the only degreed architects in a room of 60 architectural draftsmen and a handful of engineers. Hagie was a graduate of Texas A&M and I had my Bachelor of Architecture from UT. While we had our differences, we shared some similarities.
Designed by Kirksey Architecture, Clean Line Energy Partners in downtown Houston is a 6,700-sf space housing an electricity transmission company that develops electrical transmission lines connecting wind farms to urban areas. Several factors guided the design, including a limited budget of $350,000. The client desired a sustainable, historic headquarters building with a design that would reflect the company’s fresh, hip brand.
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.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its annual listing of U.S. metropolitan areas featuring the most Energy Star certified buildings for 2011, and three Texas cities — Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston — have made the list. Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year.
The American Institute of Architects’ 2012 Convention Guide and Daily Schedule are now available online.
After almost 12 years at the helm of Texas Architect, I see even more clearly the truth in Burnham’s oftquoted assertion. Having worked so long with architects on articles about topics important to them, I understand the power of the big idea. That’s what drives the project, the impetus that transforms the concept into physical reality. Big ideas, I’ve learned, are essential to the architect.
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.
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.”
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.
Architects are faced with the reality that we are an Aging Society. Among the challenges of this future is the preference of people to “age in place,” living at home, in the same neighborhood. Our suitable homes today will not accommodate our needs as we age.
Tucked back in the woods, at the end of a winding path, is an architect working outside of time. But David Webster George, FAIA, arranges patterns and places that are timeless. The unassuming approach to his house in Southlake masks the carefully situated environment he created in 1986, followed by a studio addition in 1991. Deer, coyote, and wild turkey roam the property. David is quick to point out that he resides within the Cross Timbers — a densely packed oak and scrub-bush region that extends from North Texas in a broad swath through Oklahoma and up into Kansas. For David, boundaries are set by nature and not by governments.
The wind blows strong across the low, rolling plains of central Oklahoma. Standing quietly and listening to the wind in this place — where a razor-sharp horizon seams together land and sky — one can sense the spirits of Native Americans who for generations lived and thrived on the land. These were a people who found, after torturous travels westward during the Trail of Tears, a place that in its sheer vastness accepted them and offered the opportunity to rebuild their way of life. And so it was, and so it has been for the Chickasaw Nation in this place of raw and expansive beauty.
The story of the Moran Family Health Center is larger than just the account of relocating the San Jose Clinic from its outdated and undersized 50-year-old facility in downtown. Its true telling reveals the comprehensive delivery of a range of services that are interconnected and focused on the overall well-being and soundness of families.
In 2008 the YMCA of Greater Houston announced the imminent replacement of Kenneth Franzheim’s Italian Renaissance-inspired ten-story edifice that had provided classrooms, exercise facilities, and 132 single-room residential units since 1941. Aspiring to move in a more “family-friendly” direction, the organization stated the primary goal of the new 115,000-sf facility would be to assume a stronger community presence in downtown Houston.
In a bucolic natural setting of rolling hills, the Northwood Club was established in 1946 by residents of north Dallas to provide golf and recreational activities for young families in an expanding city. The latest addition to the club — the fitness center, completed in 2010 —houses strength training, aerobics, a yoga studio, and child care services, along with food service for pool users and golfers.
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.
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.
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.
Hope. Simply stated, it is the message of a new facility, on a mission to ultimately end hunger. Nestled in a warehouse district outside of downtown, the Houston Food Bank (HFB) building gleams with its spirited green color and metal cladding. The new 308,000-sf facility is the nation’s largest Feeding America food bank and source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. Beyond feeding the hungry, the Houston Food Bank provides community services and education programs aimed at promoting good nutrition, assistance with federal and state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, job training, and employment help — all in an effort to break the cycle of food insecurity.
At the intersection of Rice University’s historic and growth axes is the BioScience Research Collaborative, a ten-story 477,000-sf translational research facility designed to facilitate multi-institutional research collaboration between Rice and various institutes from Texas Medical Center. This interdisciplinary facility embraces a wide range of disciplines, from chemistry to bioengineering, from organizations supporting startup research companies to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute — all with emphasis on improving human wellness through research.
Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio has served the medical needs of men and women in uniform since the 1870s. During that time, the complex grew incrementally until 1995 when a new facility was built to consolidate the Fort’s hospital operations. Containing over a million square feet of space, the massive Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC – pronounced “Bam-See”) was clad in heavy masonry that gave it a somewhat institutional quality. While BAMC was functional, the needs of contemporary combat medical practice are constantly evolving and when the decision was made to absorb most of the operations of a nearby Air Force medical facility into the complex, a significant expansion became necessary to create what would eventually be known as the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
Haven for Hope Homeless Transformational Center is a groundbreaking project aimed at ameliorating homelessness in San Antonio. It emerged from the shared vision of two philanthropists: business leader Bill Greehey, and Phil Hardberger, Mayor of San Antonio from 2005-2009. Since its first-phase completion in 2008, Haven for Hope’s operational model has inspired other American cities to reassess their approaches to addressing homelessness.
University Branch Library, designed by Bailey Architects, is a two-story, 40,000-sf building on approximately 4.2 acres of the University of Houston Sugar Land campus. The library — for both university and public use — includes a variety of children and young adult services, reference resources, meeting and study areas, and staff work spaces.
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.”
"At once wistful and thought-provoking, light-hearted and profound.” That is how Dallas architect and contributing editor Max Levy, FAIA, described the set of Italy/Texas photo collages represented here in the following selections. We agree with Max that the images, created by UT School of Architecture student Emily Wiegand, are fascinating and promise to be a source of delight for our readers.
“Shaping the built environment.” It’s a well-worn phrase for describing what architects are doing every day. As such, it says a lot, but there’s also more to say. For example, what about the role of the built environment in shaping people?
The Architecture Center Houston (ArCH) hosted a Deans’ Roundtable Discussion in September. Moderated by Larry Speck, FAIA, he opened the discussion with a national statistic that only 35% of architecture faculty are registered architects.