Texas Architect January/February 2008

Published by the Texas Society of Architects since 1950, the magazine has consistently showcased outstanding architectural design from around the state and chronicled significant events relevant to the profession.

Child’s Play

by: Stephen Sharpe

The best architects practicing today are essentially grown-up children, says Max Levy, FAIA, without a hint of disparagement. Drawing by hand releases a child-like sense of wonder, he explains. Unfortunately, by the time they reach adulthood, most designers have forgotten that feeling of creative release.

drawing by max levy, faia
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Houston Set to Expand Ideson Library Based on Cram’s Original Intentions

by: Gerald Moorhead

Eighty-four years after opening as Houston’s Central Library, the Julia Ideson Building will finally be completed according to the plans of its original architect, Ralph Adams Cram. Dedicated in 1926 and named for the city librarian who pressured for a new facility to replace the Carnegie Library of 1904, the Ideson Building is about to undergo restoration by Gensler’s Houston office.

(top) Courtesy Gensler; (bott om) Courtesy Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
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Creole Influence Along the Border

by: Stephen Fox

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.

Courtesy Wayne Bell, FAIA
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A&M’s Vanguard

by: Lawrence Connolly

Texas A&M University is in the midst of the largest building program in the school’s history. Two dozen projects on the 130-year-old College Station campus – new buildings, enhanced infrastructure, and major renovations, including a $120 million makeover of Memorial Student Center – are scheduled to be completed within the next five years. This extraordinary $800 million effort is the result of former A&M President Dr. Robert Gates’ initiative that spawned growth strategies originally outlined in the 2004 campus master plan by Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects in collaboration with Michael Dennis & Associates.

(left) courtesy Perkins+Will ; (right) courtesy Texas A&M University
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Bicultural Expression

by: Jaime Condit, AIA
Architect: Kell Muñoz Architects

What ’s in a phrase? You might ask yourself that question as you stand in front of the main elevator in the newest addition to the Education Complex on the main campus of the University of Texas Pan-American with its myriad of sayings (or dichos) etched into the surrounding clear glass walls. Waiting to step into this mechanical contraption that will not only take you to your destination, but beyond that, will take you on a journey through the delicate intricacies of language and culture—the culture of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, most certainly, but inwardly, the culture of the University of Texas Pan-American, and the culture of UT Pan-Am’s student body with all its complex yet defining ethnic characteristics.

Chris Cooper Photography
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Studies Abroad

by: Nancy Egan

Last spring, 21 designers from WHR Architects embarked on a nine-day tour of Japan. The firm’s principals intended the experience to be more than just a trip to look at buildings. They wanted to create a shared frame of reference, encourage collaboration, and broaden design consciousness among their staff.

Photos by David Watkins, FAIA
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