Monday, November 29, 2010

In the News Now

The following is provided from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) daily media scan, which was developed out of a growing interest among AIA leadership to connect with media coverage of topics of interest and current trends in the media landscape that relate to the architecture profession. This media scan is not a comprehensive round-up of daily articles related specifically to architecture, but more of a synopsis of current issues or specific events/topics that are relevant to the design industry.

Sustainability coverage:

Building Online
International Code Council Releases New IGCC Public Version 2.0

Wall Street Journal
One Green Design Fits All

Component coverage:

The Salt Lake Tribune
Recognizing beautiful buildings

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 TASA/TASB Convention

El Paso Community College Culinary Arts Facility (Parkhill Smith & Cooper)

The jury for the 2010 Exhibit of School Architecture sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASA/TASB) recently recognized  five projects for overall design excellence out of  99 projects submitted for the competition. The jury evaluated all the entries in six categories (value, process of planning, design, educational appropriateness, innovation, and sustainability), with each of the top five winners receiving the highest marks in all six areas. The five winners are Turlington Elementary School for Waller ISD (SHW Group), Dubinski Career High School in Grand Prairie (Corgan Associates), Giddings High School/Middle School (SHW Group), Ennis Junior High School (SHW Group), and El Paso Community College Culinary Arts Facility (Parkhill Smith & Cooper). Read about these projects in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Texas Architect magazine.

Below, Erin Smutz and Andrea Harrington from VLK Architects discuss their experience at the 2010 TASA/TASB Convention from a marketing perspective.

2010 TASA/TASB Convention

Every year, like clockwork, we run around in circles to hunt down the perfect photo, fix floor plans, design PowerPoint presentations, write mounds of project text, and rush to make everything perfect just in time to submit projects by VLK Architects for the TASA/TASB Convention. 

For many, TASA/TASB might be second nature to them. However, if you don’t participate each year, here’s some insight and tidbits to explain the event we know as TASA/TASB.

What is TASA/TASB?
TASA/TASB is an acronym for the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards. In 1960, the two partnered to create a convention that brings both administrators and board members together.

Who attends?
Attendees range from school board members and superintendents to business managers and administrative staff. The TASA/TASB Convention allows them to earn Continuing Education credit and explore the tradeshow with a variety of exhibitors. One event included in the tradeshow is the Exhibit of School Architecture.

Exhibit of School Architecture
The exhibit provides an opportunity to showcase new educational construction and renovation projects in Texas that were completed within the past five years. The projects are judged by a six-member jury, which includes two school board members, two school administrators, and two representatives from the Texas Society of Architects.

As part of the tradeshow, exhibitors design boards to display the schools entered in the competition, as well as list the awards they’ve won. Booths of different shapes and sizes stand tall, one right next to the other, covered with company logos, photos, phrases, etc. All with the same mission: To get the attention of school board members and administrators.

TASA/TASB Convention 2010
At this year’s convention, held in Houston in August, administrators and school board members from across the state came together to network, learn, and reconnect. The convention center was packed with vendors exhibiting their services and products, while school personnel had opportunities to learn about topics ranging from employee surveys to social media and just about everything in between.

General Sessions featured Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind; former NFL star Emmitt Smith; and gubernatorial candidate Bill White. Attendees also had distinguished lecturers, economist and author Todd Buchholz; educational correspondent John Merrow; and Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, to fill their days’ agendas.

Inside the exhibit hall, the Exhibit of School Architecture showcased projects from across the state. Each year, architects have the opportunities to submit school designs, which are judged on design, educational appropriateness, innovation, process of planning, value, and sustainability. This year, 99 projects were submitted. 

For a complete list of entries and awards, click here.

For more information about the TASA/TASB convention, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interview with Architect Arthur Andersson

In September, Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects in Austin sat down with Texas Architect Art Director Julie Pizzo and Assistant Editor Noelle Heinze to talk about Stone Creek Camp, winner of a 2010 TSA Design Award. The project, located in Big Fork, Montana, is a backwoods hideaway built on a ridge overlooking Flathead Lake in rural northwestern Montana. The encampment comprises eight small buildings strategically arrayed across the steeply sloping site, each positioned to foster an individual and collective sense of refuge. Read about the project on page 68 of the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Texas Architect magazine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Blog: New Accessibility Standards, Part I

by Jeromy G. Murphy, AIA, RAS

The U.S. Department of Justice has adopted the new 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 SAD) effective March 15, 2012, for the design and construction of State and local government facilities and public accommodations.

In future posts, I will cover the major technical changes to be found in the new Standards. But first, what does this mean for the current Texas Accessibility Standards?

The Texas Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee took the first step towards adopting new State standards at their public meeting on Nov. 15, 2010. All committee members were present. The Advisory Committee consists of nine building professionals and persons with disabilities who are tasked with reviewing and commenting on any proposed changes to Architectural Barriers rules or procedures.

On the suggestion of Architectural Barriers Program Manager, Robert Posey, the Advisory Committee divided the task into three workgroups: Technical, Administrative Rules, and Implementation.

The Advisory Committee will meet again in January 2011 to review their progress. The stated goal is to have a new Standard to coincide with the March 15, 2012 date set by the Department of Justice for the 2010 SAD.

It was my misconception that a new State accessibility standard would require legislative action. However, TDLR general counsel, Brad Bowman, clarified that rulemaking at the agency level is not predicated on legislative action. Chapter 469 of the Texas Government Code gives the authority to adopt “standards, specifications, and other rules ...that are consistent with standards, specifications, and other rules adopted under federal law.” Prior to adopting the new Standard, there will be a 30-day period for public comment.

John Torkelson, representing the Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist Association, spoke in favor of adopting the 2010 SAD as is with no State-specific changes. This received support from TDLR Staff and Advisory Committee members. Often national chains must alter their store designs to conform to State-specific accessibility standards. A State standard consistent with the Federal standard would benefit architects, owners, and contractors that do work in multiple States.

In his report to the committee, Mr. Posey suggested that TDLR would allow, through the variance process, the use of the 2010 SAD prior to the planned implementation in 2012. The caveat is that should a designer choose to use the new Standard, they will be expected to apply the Standard in its entirety and not pick and choose technical requirements. For example, the 2010 SAD only requires that 50% of single-occupant toilet rooms in a group be accessible, but it prohibits the lavatory from overlapping the clear floor space at the water closet. The Texas Accessibility Standards permits the lavatory to overlap the water closet clear floor space, but requires all of the toilet rooms to be accessible. TDLR will not allow mixing these to have only 50% accessible with lavatories overlapping the clear floor space.

To hear the latest from TDLR, subscribe to the TDLR List Server

And check back here on the TSA blog to learn more about the upcoming changes.

Jeromy G. Murphy, AIA, RAS

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And So It Begins...

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

Yesterday was the first day for pre-filing bills for the 82nd Regular Legislative Session and already my head is spinning after reviewing the first day’s damage totaling about 350 bills and resolutions! The bill topics ranged from immigration issues (which last I checked were federal issues but what do I know) to states rights issues to naming the “hamburger” as the official Texas sandwich, and to more relevant issues relating to high performance building standards – the bill we’ve been pushing to pass for the last two legislative sessions (House Bill 51).

Bottom line, it’s going to be a whirlwind this legislative session that will most definitely keep the TSA lobby team on its toes. If you haven’t signed up to attend the first ever “Lobby Day” for architects, click here to find out more and to register for the event!

For more information on the bills filed, go to

The Owner's Dilemma

The Nov/Dec issue of Texas Architect magazine features an excerpt from the book The Owner's Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry by Barbara White Bryson, FAIA, and Canan Yetmen. The authors explore the role of owners and clients in remaking the building industry.The book was published this year by the Ostberg Library of Design Management.

Bryson wrote, "This book was conceived to document and communicate those things we have learned on our projects at Rice (to make sure we do not forget these lessons), but soon the idea grew into a broader mission of knowledge sharing and knowledge building with other owners and professionals."

With illustrations by Bryson and photographs by architect David Rodd, the book features case studies that illustrate the real-world innovative practices of architects working with a variety of building types and clients.

Bryson also hopes that the book will help facilitate a change in intellectual approach to designing and delivering projects and prepare more professionals to participate in projects in a collaborative and innovative manner.

Barbara White Bryson, FAIA, is the associate vice president for facilities engineering and planning at Rice University, where she has overseen design and construction projects totaling over $1 billion over ten years. 

Canan Yetmen is principal of CYMK Group, an Austin consulting firm that provides writing services exclusively to architecture and design firms around the country.

The authors invite you to join the continuing conversation at www.owners, where they will post updates and provide links to the tools presented in the book.

Studio Awards Featured in Texas Architect

On July 16, 2010, a jury of three Arizona architects  selected four unbuilt projects to receive 2010 TSA Studio Awards. The following projects were awarded and are featured in the current issue of Texas Architect magazine. Pick up the Nov/Dec issue to read about the innovative projects and view more images.

Color Clock House
Color Clock House, by Max Levy, FAIA, of Max Levy Architect, is a plan for a 2,400-sf speculative house in Dallas. According to the architect, the project is a "small house [that] connects with something big: sky and sunlight."


Warren Ranch Visitor's Center
Warren Ranch Visitor's Center, by students of Architecture Design VI Studio at Prairie View A&M School of Architecture (including student Gary Fondel, faculty advisor Heidi Dellafera Eagleton, and teaching assistant Adam Boutte), is designed for the Katy Prairie Conservancy for a site in Hockley on the largest cattle ranch in Harris County. The 20,000-sf compound includes the adaptive re-use of a 90-year-old barn.

edgeHouse, by C. Graham Beach, J. Brantley Hightower, and Jennifer Young, is a concept for a house located on a standard residential lot on the northwest side of Marfa that creates spatial conditions to accommodate both solitary retreats and social gatherings.

Pegboard, designed by Bengie Daniels, AIA, and Derek Keck, both of Latitude Architects; and Jon Gately and Michael Day, both of Object 31, envisions a house in Ghana assembled with a kit of light-weight concrete components poured on site. Other elements are handcrafted by local artisans with bamboo and wood.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Open Letter to the 112th Congress from America's Architects

George H. Miller, FAIA
President, American Institute of Architects
Washington, D.C.
November 8, 2010

On behalf of the nearly 80,000 members of the American Institute of Architects, we would like to congratulate you on your election and re-election to Congress. This has been a hard-fought election season; you should feel a sense of pride that the American people have entrusted you to serve as their representatives.

You face big challenges when you are sworn in on Jan. 3. But those challenges pale when compared to those faced by your constituents. As community leaders, architects have seen first-hand the challenges that our nation faces. Since more than 90 percent of AIA architects work for small businesses, they know all too well how the economic crisis has affected Main Street. In fact, the Department of Labor reports that the architecture profession has lost a fifth of its workforce since 2007; in some regions, the number is far higher.

America’s architects are Republicans, Democrats and Independents, working in major metropolises and small towns alike. They are problem solvers who offer common-sense solutions to the challenges our communities and country face.

When it convenes in January, the 112th Congress has a chance to make real strides on moving the country forward – if it adheres to these three priorities:

Restoring Small Business as the Engine of our Nation’s Economy. Congress must do more to help the private sector create jobs. Every million dollars invested in design and construction yields 28.5 full-time jobs. And yet the credit crunch has left blueprints on the shelf because building owners and developers cannot get the financing they need. The AIA supports polices that make financing available for design and construction projects that put people back to work and tax and regulatory reforms to cut red tape and help small entrepreneurs get ahead.

- Returning Economic Vitality to Our Communities. Architects know all too well that a 21st century economy cannot thrive with a 19th century infrastructure. Yet in too many of our communities, aging buildings, roads and bridges have left Americans less safe and our nation lagging behind the infrastructure of its global competitors such as China. Studies have shown that our economy loses $80 billion per year in lost productivity due to congestion on our roadways. Worse, the foreclosure crisis has riddled neighborhoods in urban, suburban and rural areas with abandoned properties and rising crime. The AIA urges Congress to pass legislation that empowers communities to plan more vibrant and sustainable futures that give people real choices about where they live and how they travel.

- Improving America’s Energy Independence. Buildings account for 70 percent of electricity use in the United States and nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions. Rising energy prices mean higher bills for homeowners, small businesspeople and taxpayers - who foot the bill for energy costs in government buildings. Architects have solutions that make buildings use significantly less energy. The AIA believes that the next Congress will have an important opportunity to pass legislation to promote energy efficient buildings that cost less to run and are better for the environment.

In summary, my organization, the American Institute of Architects, has long worked with policy makers from both sides of the political aisle to advance policies that foster prosperous, safe and sustainable communities. The time for campaigning is over, and the time for working together in a bipartisan fashion to get things done has come.

We stand ready and willing to work with you and your colleagues in the next Congress to rebuild and renew our nation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TSA Has a New Home!

(from left) Rick Bolner, TSA Controller; Ryan Noyce, of Ironstone Bank; Tommy Cowan, FAIA, TSA Interim EVP; James T. Perry, TSA's new EVP; and Richard Fatheree, Ironstone Bank, pose for a picture after closing on TSA's new headquarters at 500 Chicon in Austin. TSA will move to its new home in January 2011.

Take a virtual tour of 500 Chicon, winner of a 2002 TSA Design Award.

500 Chicon was featured twice in Texas Architect magazine in 2002. Click on the images below to view an enlarged, readable version of the articles.

The building was featured in the Sept/Oct 2002 Texas Architect issue as a TSA Design Award.