Texas Architect January/February 2010
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.
Texas Tech’s Green Future
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.
UTEP’s Green Roof Thrives in Desert; Modular System Monitored for Data
As green roofs are increasingly explored and utilized, the range of their application is following suit. No longer only perceived as a technological option for regions with abundant rainfall (the Pacific Northwest, for example), they are making headway in hotter and drier climes, albeit with some tentativeness. Now, with a recent installation at the University of Texas at El Paso, the Lone Star State can claim significant green-roof forays on the institutional level from its east end (near Houston) to its westernmost point.
An Urban ‘Setting for People’
With the opening of the spectacular AT &T Performing Arts Center still ringing in the air, the City of Dallas dedicated an urban park in November that is equally bold for different reasons. Known as the Main Street Garden, the 1.7-acre park did not emanate from a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, nor does it flaunt any enthusiasms for Pritzker Prize-like experimentation. Designed by Thomas Balsley and Associates of New York City, the park is intended to be a richly active urban space for downtown residents—a “setting for people,” in the words of its landscape architect.
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.
Architect: Hopkins Architects with Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company
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,
My four-year-old niece, Jocelyn, compares them to “those pads that frogs jump on” and likes to imagine herself as some sort of energized amphibian as she climbs, leaps, and hops her way to the top. Her description is in reference to the new climbing installation or “climber” at the Children’s Museum of Houston’s recently completed expansion (by Jackson & Ryan Architects). The climber, designed and constructed by Spencer Luckey, frames an almost constant ingress of squealing, gleeful adventurers as they navigate the varied vertical pathways rising from the basement level of the addition. Boasting more than 70,000 linear feet of cable, 120,000 ring connectors, and 130 levels, the intricate assemblage plays a central role in the new exhibition space at the museum.