Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cooper’s Hawk Rescued

A TSA Staffer’s Personal Story

Tuesday morning (January 26) after pulling into my regular parking place on the 8th (top) floor of the parking garage, I immediately saw a large and beautiful bird struggling to find its way toward the sky.  Of course, it had no way of succeeding since the garage is a concrete and glass structure with no openings above the second floor.  I went first to the security desk in the lobby to make sure someone was aware of the bird’s plight and to learn what steps were being taken to safely remove the bird.  Later that day, building management made a call to a city agency but were told the agency doesn’t do this type of work, and in fact, should employees of the management company attempt removal, they would need a permit.

 Some of you will remember the pair of Redtail Hawks that took up residence on the outdoor fire escape of the Society’s offices in Norwood Tower in 1996.  Former TSA employee Gay Patterson developed a keen interest in the hawks’ well-being and began a relationship with a local volunteer group, Austin Wildlife Rescue.  I called Gay early Wednesday and she set wheels in motion that led to the bird being safely lured into a cage and removed from the garage this morning.  Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

 Ed Somes, the volunteer who drove into downtown Austin from Cedar Park to help, called me just after the rescue.  He told me the bird is a Cooper’s Hawk, described how the job was done, and then confirmed that I work with architects.  He asked me to convey the importance of planning an escape hatch for birds in atriums, parking garages and other tall structures where birds may stray.  If just one window is made operable at the top-most area of the structure, birds will typically (and fairly quickly) find their own way to safety and freedom.  I visited with building management and asked if them to consider retrofitting a window in the garage to prevent future bird entrapments.  We’ll see.

So, considering the role of the Society supporting architects in creating safe, beautiful, sustainable environments, as the new mission statement indicates, remember to design for the safety of Mother Nature and all she provides for our enjoyment.

Gayle Pickering

TSA Senior Director

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Will Keep Architects Busy During This Decade?

Shaping the City
by Roger K. Lewis
The Washington Post
January 16, 2010

What will keep architects busy during this decade? And will people be as interested when less exuberant, less idiosyncratic projects are completed and opened, given the propensity of the media and the public to focus on the exuberant and the idiosyncratic?

Part of the answer springs from the quest for sustainability and projects with ever-smaller carbon footprints, the goal being to conserve energy and curtail global climate change. Architects are especially committed to achieving sustainability through design. And, fortunately, more of their clients -- property owners, government agencies, cultural institutions -- share that commitment.

Read the full article here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

TSA Grassroots 2010

AIA Lower Rio Grande Valley Executive Director Carmen Perez Garcia, Hon. TSA, and AIA Fort Worth Executive Director Suzie Adams, Hon. AIA,  pause for a photo during a reception at TSA Grassroots in Austin, Jan. 15 and 16. Texas AIA component leadership gathered to share their chapter's best practices, challenges, and strengths and to discuss ways to increase communication among the 17 Texas chapters and the AIA.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Architecture Community Supports Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts

George H. Miller, FAIA
President, American Institute of Architects

Christine W. McEntee
Executive Vice President/CEO,
American Institute of Architects

The utterly devastated lives and communities of Haiti bring into sharp focus how closely connected we are. This unthinkable tragedy cries out for a humane and swift response to help alleviate the suffering and salvage the remaining fabric of families, friends, and loved ones.

We’ve been in contact with our partners from the Red Cross who have been sending us reports on what is happening on the ground and they confirm that what’s needed most now is your financial assistance to organizations already in place in the rescue operation. We’ve included a list of the organizations in the best position to provide direct assistance.

Also, as a profession, we know that once the humanitarian relief efforts are stabilized the next phase of rebuilding begins. So we’ve been in contact with our colleagues at the U.S. Green Building Council and will be sending a joint letter to United Nations Envoy to Haiti Former President Bill Clinton offering our profession’s technical and professional expertise when the initiative begins focusing on rebuilding. Additionally, we are discussing ideas with Architecture for Humanity on how architects can provide on-the-ground design guidance in Haiti so local citizens can seek qualified counsel as they rebuild their homes, businesses, and lives. We will continue to keep you informed as our discussions progress. In the meantime, please visit the Architecture for Humanity Web site for more information on its mission and ways you can contribute.

Find more information here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Introducing Heather McKinney, FAIA, 2010 TSA President

Heather McKinney, FAIA, is the founding partner of McKinney York Architects, which she started in Austin in 1983. Both the firm and McKinney have been recognized for design achievements and service to the profession and community. McKinney was an early recipient of the TSA Young Professional Achievement award in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA and in 2007 McKinney York was recognized with AIA Austin’s Firm Achievement Award for producing distinguished architecture and for outstanding contributions to the community and profession. McKinney received her Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects for design in 2008. Her community work includes long-time tenures on the boards of CASA of Travis County, Texas Fine Arts Association (now known as ArtHouse), the Charles Moore Foundation, and the Munson Foundation.

Raised in Denison, Texas, McKinney attended St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Mechanical Engineering, and received her Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

McKinney has served TSA in multiple capacities: sitting on the Publications Committee, chairing the Honors Committee, serving as a director and for three years as a vice-president (Advocacy Commission and Operations Commission). At AIA Austin, McKinney chaired the Design Awards and Homes Tour committees and served in several capacities on the Board including President.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Design for Education

The January/February issue of Texas Architect, Design for Education, features projects at Rice University, Houston; Oak Hill Academy, Dallas; Texas A&M University, College Station; Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches; and Frisco ISD Career and Technical Education Center. Read the issue online or in print, and learn more about what's happening in architecture around the state.