Texas Architect May/June 2006
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.
Nature of a Movement
Call it boldly ambitious or utterly absurd, but the AIA’s Board has set 2010 as the goal for cutting in half the amount of fossil fuels used to construct and operate buildings in the U.S. While proponents prefer to describe the initiative as aggressive, they hasten to point out that radical measures are absolutely essential to forestall the continued warming of the planet’s atmosphere.
S.A. Considers New Plan for Main Plaza
Current plans proposed to redevelop what is arguably Texas’ most historic urban space, Main Plaza in San Antonio, raise a multitude of questions regarding the nature of urban space, mobility, historic character, the public design and review process, and even municipal governance.
The Grace and Disgrace of Weathering
Drive between any two Texas cities and you’ll be surprised at what often emerges as the most engaging building alongside the highway. It likely won’t be the truck stop or the fast-food franchise or the awkwardly expressive church. More often than not, the most affecting building will be some rural ruin, a farmhouse or a barn or an equipment shed, marooned out in a field, long abandoned, and weather-scoured.
Renaissance for Dallas Parks
The “evil” to which Jackson referred in his 1979 essay concerns the changing public perception of municipal parks. Jackson, our era’s eminent observer of the American landscape, was lamenting the fact that city parks were no longer viewed as neighborhood assets. As he observed in his essay, the nation’s city parks attained their ultimate prominence in the early twentieth century as attributes of a community’s economic health and vitality. However, less than a hundred years later, public perception had fallen to the point where they were seen as unsightly liabilities to neighborhood security.
Architect: Miró Rivera Architects
With the delightfully unexpected and resourceful use of materials, Miró Rivera Architects has designed and supervised construction of a footbridge over an inlet of Lake Austin that pays homage to the site’s sensitive wetlands. The footbridge is the firm’s third completed project of a master plan for an eight-acre lakefront site that includes a three-acre inlet/lagoon. Preceding the bridge were a boat house and a guest house, with the main house planned as the next – and largest – component of the complex. Half of the residential site is designated as wetlands that serve as a migratory stop for egrets, cranes, and swans, and as such the site is regulated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Prospect and Refuge
Architecture is the practice of optimism in the face of the destructive powers of nature and man. It is a defiant standing of ground between the whim of nature and the will of man. Architects seek to design places of meaning and permanence, but we are constantly reminded of the forces at work against the built environment.