Texas Architect November/December 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.
Place-Making vs. Sprawl
Conserving open space is becoming more challenging as Texas makes room for another 10.5 million residents by 2030. The state’s population already tops 23 million, and sprawl continues unabated in response to demand. The market for new housing in Texas is currently estimated at 168,000 units each year. At that rate of growth, the natural environment is being overwhelmed and the result is an irrevocable loss of our state’s scenic beauty that diminishes all Texans’ shared heritage.
St. Edward’s Strategy for Expansion Sets High Standards for Architects’ Selection
More than a century after St. Edward’s University traded its make-do wood structures for the Romanesque Revival of Nicholas Clayton, the private liberal arts college once again has set its sights on architectural excellence. University leaders, guided by an ambitious strategic plan that calls for doubling the university’s enrollment by 2010, have so far added four significant buildings to the campus in just four years.
Brownsville and Matamoros
Each year, during an annual conference sponsored by the AIA’s Lower Río Grande Valley chapter, Executive Director Carmen Pérez García and her tour committee send conference participants off on an all-day bi-national journey of discovery. The theme of this year’s conference, “Building on Tradition; Breaking New Ground,” was borne out in a Sept. 28 architectural tour of sites in the border cities of Brownsville and Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
The design of RadioShack Riverfront Campus in downtown Fort Worth is an example of successful place-making achieved on a large scale. The 900,000-sq. ft. corporate headquarters interweaves the workday lives of 2,400 employees into a cohesive community while also leading the city’s efforts to extend its urban core northward along the Trinity River.
Today, most new residential construction adheres to rules enforced by homeowner associations or deed restrictions that dictate paint colors, plant selections, and maintenance guidelines intended to protect property values. But security, orderliness, and predictability are benefits that come with a price: increasingly generic or homogenous landscapes, less understanding and tolerance of “outsiders,” and even a diminished sense of community and long-term attachment.