Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where's TA Today? (5/12)

The staff of Texas Architect have unique opportunities to travel and visit interesting architecture. Do you know where Stephen Sharpe was when he took these pictures?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 TSA Design Awards Jury Reception

TSA Design Awards committee member, Miguel Rivera, AIA (right) engages in spirited dinner conversation.

TSA President-elect, Heather McKinney, FAIA (right) visits with Chuckwagon attendees.

Stephen Sharpe, editor of Texas Architect (left), joins Philip Freelon, FAIA (right), 2009 TSA Design Awards juror, for a tour of the compound.

This year’s TSA Design Awards jury enjoyed cocktails, conversation, and cool architecture at the combined 2009 TSA Design Awards Jury Reception and Chuckwagon event held at the Charles Moore Foundation in Austin on May 8th.

Jurors, TSA Design Awards committee members, and TSA leaders experienced what Paul Goldberger once described as “mad magnificence,” the place that Charles Moore called home for the last 10 years of his life. Kevin Keim, director of the Charles Moore Foundation, led an informal tour of the compound for TSA guests, revealing anecdotes and stories along the way. Visit for more information on the design of the Moore/Andersson Compound.

Proceeds from the event benefit restoration and preservation projects at the Moore/Andersson Compound. This year’s funds will be devoted to the restoration of the Opium Den window in the Charles Moore House.

Thank you to the 2009 TSA Design Awards Jury Reception sponsor, Architectural Engineers Collaborative.

Friday, May 15, 2009

12 Projects Selected for TSA Design Awards!

Around 3 p.m. today, jurors announced that 12 of 261 entries were selected for 2009 TSA Design Awards! Winning projects will be recognized at an October ceremony in Houston during the TSA convention. Jurors were Philip Freelon, FAIA, president of the Freelon Group in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA, president of San Francisco-based landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates; and Rick Joy, AIA, founding principal of Rick Joy Architects in Tucson, Ariz. 

2009 Design Awards

  • Elements (Dallas) by Buchanan Architecture
  • House in the Garden (Dallas) by Cunningham Architects
  • ImageNet (Houston) by Elliott + Associate Architects
  • International Terminal D, DFW Airport (Dallas) by HKS, Corgan Associates, and HNTB
  • Lenora & Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing (San Antonio) by Overland Partners Architects
  • Light & Sie Art Gallery (Dallas) by Laguarda Low Architects
  • Linda Pace Foundation Offices (San Antonio) by Poteet Architects
  • Long Gallery Carport & Parking Plaza (Houston) by Dillon Kyle Architecture
  • Museo Alameda (San Antonio) by Jackson & Ryan Architects
  • 1400 South Congress (Austin) by Dick Clark Architecture
  • University of Texas Center for Brain Health (Dallas) by HKS
  • Wolfe Den (Austin) by MJ Neal Architects



And the Winners are...

Stay tuned to the TSA blog, Twitter feed, Facebook group, and Web site for today's late afternoon announcement of the 2009 TSA Design Awards!  

House OKs $6.4 Billion To Make Schools Greener

CNN, May, 14, 2009 - 

The House on Thursday passed a $6.4 billion school modernization bill that would commit funds for the construction and update of more energy-efficient school buildings.

The measure passed 275-155 in a largely party-line vote, and will now move to the Senate for further review.

Among other things, the bill allocates substantial funds for improvements along the Gulf Coast, where many school districts are still struggling to repair buildings damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The legislation, according to the House Education and Labor Committee, also makes schools part of the effort to revive the U.S. economy and fight global warming by "creating clean energy jobs that will help put workers in hard-hit industries back to work."

The committee says the bill would require that 100 percent of the funds go toward green projects by 2015, which is the final year of funding under the bill. Read more here.
(Photo by Dominic Alves)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Texas Architect Readership Survey

Texas Architect readers,

We want to hear from you. What do you value most as a reader? What other types of articles would you like to see in the magazine?

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey posted below. Help us learn more about what you want from Texas Architect. Your feedback is important. Click here to begin the survey.

Thank you!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rising at Ground Zero, A Symbol of Resilience

Rick Hampson, USA Today, May 11, 2009 -
NEW YORK — Freedom Tower was going to signify America's determination to rebuild quickly and steeply at Ground Zero after 9/11. It would rise a symbolic 1,776 feet, making it the world's tallest building, and feature an asymmetrical spire that evoked the Statue of Liberty's upraised torch. Fascinated, the city and nation waited. And waited. And lost patience. And interest.

Yet now — after years of redesigns, blown deadlines, bureaucratic snafus and political infighting, and in the midst of a recession when almost no new skyscrapers are planned anywhere — Freedom Tower's frame is almost 20 stories high, finally visible above the blue construction fences around the 16-acre site that was once Ground Zero.

But it won't be the world's tallest building. It won't evoke the Statue of Liberty. It won't open by the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, in 2011. Or the 11th. Or the 12th. And it won't be known, officially, as Freedom Tower. Its tortuous saga shows what can happen when too much is asked of a building, says Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is building the tower.

Freedom Tower had to be a symbol of a political idea, a monument to what stood in its place, and a profitable real estate venture — "as if the Washington Monument had to be rented out," says Michael Mostoller, an architecture professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

And, with its bull's-eye name and site, it had to be safe from terrorism.

"That's a lot of load for any building to carry," Mostoller says. Read full article here.
(Image by Robert Deutsch, USA Today)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hopeful Signs in Architecture Field

Kerry Hall, Charlotte Observer, May 8, 2009 -

Architect Bill Monroe is hearing rumblings from potential clients. They aren't yet ready to build. But they are nosing around, mulling design and construction prices, thinking about planning for the future.

It's a welcome change, he said.

“It got very quiet at Christmas,” he said. “Everything just stopped.”

Architecture firms are considered a leading indicator of construction activity – a sign of what's to come because they are among the first contacted when a developer is looking to build. Construction typically starts 9 to 12 months after architects are hired.

New signs have emerged suggesting the bottom may be near, say half a dozen local architects. And a report recently released by the American Institute of Architects bolsters the slightly sunny view. Read more here.

Texas Architecture Week Comes to a Close

A quiet moment at the State Capitol, where display boards featuring the winners of the 2008 TSA Design Awards line a hallway in the South Central Gallery in celebration of Texas Architecture Week, May 4 - 8.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Case for Architectural-Design Competitions

Roger K. Lewis, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 1, 2009

The stars truly aligned last year for the University of Baltimore. It sponsored an international competition to select an architect and design concept for its $107-million, 190,000-square-foot law school, slated to open in 2012. The five architectural teams that competed and the five jurors invited to judge were all distinguished professionals. The teams were fortunate to have a detailed description of the public law school's needs, and a strategically located site ideal for a highly visible, landmark building. And each competitor received $50,000 to cover part of the cost of exploring and testing concepts, making drawings and models, and traveling.

The competition was a great success: The celebrated German architect Stefan Behnisch, in association with Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross, won and is now developing the law-school design. Other equally well-known finalists were the British architect Sir Norman Foster, the French architect Dominique Perrault, the Boston area's Moshe Safdie, and SmithGroup's Washington office. The competition succeeded because the university sought exemplary architecture from the outset, and because it had secured essential support from constituents, donors, the city, and the state, which rarely sponsors design competitions for publicly financed projects.

Yet why go to the trouble of conducting a time-consuming, costly, logistically demanding design competition just to select an architect and perhaps a feasible concept? Click here to read more. (Image: The winning design for the University of Baltimore's John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Courtesy of

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Urban Land Institute Reports on U.S. Infrastructure

Ethan Butterfield, ARCHITECT Magazine, May 4, 2009 -


Even as the U.S. government pumps billions of stimulus dollars into rebuilding aging infrastructure, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has issued its third annual infrastructure report, which takes the nation to task for not having a comprehensive infrastructure development plan and for not wisely planning the use of stimulus money. The report, "Pivot Point," highlights how China, India, and Europe have invested heavily in modern infrastructure over recent decades, while the U.S. has coasted on its own prosperity, content with patching and repairing its outdated bridges, roads, and other transit and water projects. Read more here.
(Image by Hamed Saber)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TA Roundtable on Austin's Downtown Residential Development

by Stephen Sharpe  

In light of the current economic downturn, I’ve invited six members of the Austin architectural and real estate community to the TSA offices today to discuss the state of the city’s downtown residential development. Prompted by a planned auction of 19 unsold condominiums in one newly renovated downtown building, I thought the time was right to assess the situation in Austin. As anyone who has visited Austin in the past two or three years knows, the building boom – particularly to supply the growing market for “soft lofts” – was on a scale unlike anything we have ever seen in the urban core.

The two-hour roundtable forum will be taped and the edited transcript published in the July/August edition of Texas Architect.

The participants are: Sinclair Black, FAIA, principal of Black & Vernooy Architects; Dean Almy, director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at UT Austin’s School of Architecture; Michael Knox with the City of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office; Kevin Burns, founder of urbanspace; Elizabeth Mueller, director of UT Austin’s Center for Sustainable Development; and Brett Rhode, AIA, principal of Rhode Partners Architects. I will moderate the forum.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Architects Grapple with Economy, Environment

from San Francisco Chronicle, Sun., May 3 --

Like its predecessors, the 141st convention of the American Institute of Architects included vendors hawking everything from glass block to 3-D printers, and sessions on such topics as "Advanced Curves and Surfaces."

But the three-day gathering that ended Saturday at Moscone Center in San Francisco also bore the mark of 2009: a procession of sessions on how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings, and nervous curiosity about the long-term impact of a recession that has hit architects particularly hard. Click here to read more. (Image: AIA 2009 photo gallery/Architectural Record.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sarkozy Unveils Plans for Paris

News and Image: Razia Iqbal, BBC News, Wed., April 29 - 

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has grand designs for his capital city. Today, he unveils what is billed as one of the biggest redevelopments of the French capital since Baron Haussmann carved out those wonderful boulevards in the nineteenth century.

Ten teams of architects have presented blueprints for Sarkozy's project - among them Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, MVRDV, and Jean Nouvel. Futuristic glass towers, an artificial island in the river Seine, and monorails high above the Paris traffic are among the ideas that could transform the city in decades to come. Click here to read more.

TSA Members Honored at AIA Convention

It's day two of the AIA convention in San Francisco, and activities are well underway. During the convention, several TSA members will be recognized with national awards. Read more here.  (Image: Cinco Camp by Rhotenberry Wellen Architects, 2009 AIA Housing Award. Photo by Hester + Hardaway.)

In addition, if you are a TSA member and are attending the convention, stop by the following two events hosted by TSA today:

Fri., May 1
Lone Star Breakfast, 7:00-8:00 a.m.
Pacific Suite J
San Francisco Marriott, 55 Fourth Street

•Fri., May 1
Texas Trailbreak Reception, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Pacific Suite J
San Francisco Marriott, 55 Fourth Street