Texas Architect May/June 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.

Healing Environments

by: Stephen Sharpe

The studio exercise called for students to design an addition for an assisted living facility for senior citizens in La Porte. The assignment was their first for the Spring 2008 design studio in the master’s program at Texas A&M University’s Department of Architecture.

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Big Spring’s Historic Settles Hotel Seen as Future Mixed-Use Project

by: Lawrence Connolly

The Settles Hotel, a prominent reminder of Big Spring’s prosperity during the oil boom of the late 1920s, still towers over the downtown although abandoned for almost 30 years. Despite several failed attempts within recent years to revive the neglected landmark, the 15-story Neo-Classical/Moderne icon isagain being studied for rehabilitation. This time by a native son who plans to convert the old hotel to commercial and residential mixed-use.

Photo by Anne Read; postcard image courtesy Settles Hotel Development Corporation
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Mosque Design

by: Akel Ismail Kahera, PhD

Over the last five decades more than 100 mosques have been established in Texas to serve the estimated 150,000 Muslims living mostly in its largest cities. The urban mosque, also known as an Islamic center, represents the heart of the Muslim community and provides the most visual expression of Muslim religious identity. The mosque (masjid in Arabic) is where the faithful gather to engage in communal worship, spiritual retreat, matrimony, education, and social activities.

Image courtesy the author
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Sustainable Healthcare Design

by: Stephen Sharpe

Gail Vittori is co-author of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture (Wiley Press, 2008) with Robin Guenther, FAIA. As co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Vittori also helped develop the Green Guide for Health Care (www.gghc.org) and chairs the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Healthcare Committee. TA Editor Stephen Sharpe recently nterviewed Vittori about her book and her purpose in writing it.

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A World of Small Wonders

by: Thomas Hayne Upchurch
Architect: Karlsberger

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.

John Durant; Thomas McConnell
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Nature’s Sway

by: Murray Legge, AIA

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.

images by Murray Legge, AIA
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