Friday, December 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, February 1957

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

February 1957

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, January 1957

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

January 1957

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, December 1956

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

December 1956

Friday, September 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, November 1956

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

November 1956

Thursday, September 8, 2011

AIA Fort Worth: 2011 Design Awards

AIAFW Excellence In Architecture:
Design Awards 2011


September 15: Entry form and fee due
September 29: Submissions Due
October 18: Jury deliberations and Announcement of Winners at The Modern Art Museum, in conjunction with "Tuesday Night at the Modern Lecture Series".

Julie VandenBerg Snow, FAIA / & Keynote for the Lecture
Chris Carson, FAIA
Mark Wellen, AIA


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Access Board to Hold Public Meetings in Dallas on Sept. 12

The Access Board will hold public hearings and discussions on various topics in Dallas on September 12. The agenda for the day includes a public hearing on the Board’s proposed guidelines for public rights-of-way, panel discussions on ADA certification of state codes and access to self-service transaction machines, and an open forum where members of the public can raise accessibility issues of interest or concern.

September 12, 2011
Sheraton Dallas, Houston Ballrooms A and B
400 North Olive Street Map
Dallas, TX 75201

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome by former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Board Members
9:30 – 11:30 Public Hearing on Proposed Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way
2:30 – 4:00 Panel Discussions (ADA State Code Certification, Self-Service Machines)
4:00 – 5:00 Open Comment Session

All events are open to the public. Registration is not required, but those who wish to provide comments at the hearing on the proposed rights-of-way guidelines are encouraged to contact Kathy Johnson at, (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Regulatory News and Updates

David Lancaster, Hon. AIA
Texas Architects
Senior Manager of Advocacy
August 29, 2011

TDLR—New TAS Hopes to Track 2010 ADA Accessibility Guidelines
Based on the recommendation of its Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee (ABAC), the Texas Licensing & Regulation Commission authorized publishing the agency’s proposed new Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) in the Texas Register for public comment. The deadline for public comment is October 2, 2011.

The ABAC and TDLR staff both committed publicly to keeping the language for any update of the state’s accessibility standard as close to the exact wording of the 2010 ADAAG as possible, a goal that the Society is also on record of supporting. Click here to go to the TDLR website where a PDF of the official posting is available for download.

Texas Facilities Commission—Public-Private Partnership (P3) Standards
At its August 17 meeting, the Facilities Commission (TFC) approved the staff’s recommended language setting out rules and standards for proposing joint private-public projects, as required in SB 1048, which became effective September 1.

TFC is charged with establishing the general state guidelines. Other public entities that wish to take advantage of a P3 development opportunity must either use TFC’s specific language, or adopt its own guidelines following a similar process to this. Click here for a link to the TFC web site.

Comptroller of Public Accounts—IECC News and Opportunities
Check out the State Energy Conservation Office’s (SECO) new IECC web-site. There are various Texas-specific reference documents, notices, announcements, code history, key dates, training registration and an online workshop which covers changes in the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code – the code SECO adopted by reference for commercial construction. For more information, contact SECO through links from the web-site above or call 512/463-8352.

TBAE—“Engineer Window” Opens September 1; Closes January 1, 2012
Another 82nd Session bill that became effective September 1 is HB 2284, which specifies things that are both unique and common to the practice of architecture and engineering. While the bill adds language to the Engineers Practice Act that clearly says architecture is not a subset of engineering, and that an architect must prepare the architectural plans and specifications for structures intended for human use or occupancy,” it provides a process for certain engineers to be grandfathered to continue providing those service instruments if they can demonstrate they’ve done so on at least three (3) qualified projects prior to 2011.

Following a four-month application period that runs from September 1 through the end of 2011, the agency has four months to determine each applicant’s eligibility to be included on a TBAE list, which will be publicly posted on its website or available upon request, of engineers who are exempt from the Architects Practice Act, and subject to regulation only by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE).

For more information, contact David Lancaster ( or 512/615-7735) or Glenn Garry ( or 512/305-8536).

Congressman Brady Meets with Architect Constituents

(from right) AIA Houston President Ian Powell and Coulson Tough, FAIA, share one of the Texas Capitol dome cutaway prints from Advocates for Architecture Day with US Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas’ 8th Congressional District.

August 23, 2011
The Woodlands
Texas Society of Architects

Congressman Kevin Brady, of the 8th District, an 11-county area just north and east of Houston, met for an August-recess lunch with architect constituents to discuss HR 940, the Covered Bonds Act, and HR 1356, the Credit Access for Main Street Act. Both bills are aimed at spurring credit availability for business loans to help create jobs and stimulate the economy. (To find out more about the bills, go to and search by bill number under “Legislative Activity/Bills & Reports.” There you can also find links to contact your Congressional representative to let them know that easing credit is not only good for Texas architects, it’s good for your clients…in Texas and nationally.)

First elected to Congress in 1996, Brady currently serves on the key Ways & Means committee and so he’s in a position to be a significant player in shaping, stopping or advancing both bills. When pressed on his position for the measures, Rep. Brady reacted positively, but said he needed to do additional research before staking out his formal position. We’ll let you know what that is as soon as we hear.

While federal legislation is not the primary focus of either the Society or local Texas AIA chapters, the Society’s David Lancaster, Hon. AIA, and Rusty Bienvenue, AIA Houston executive director, were more than happy to help Adam Melis, the AIA’s Director of Advocacy Outreach, with meeting logistics to ensure a lively crowd demonstrating to Cong. Brady broad local-professional support for the bills. Among those attending were 15 members, including several AIA Houston board members.

Whether it’s local, state or national in nature, this is all ADVOCACY…and it’s all POWERFUL (or GOOD). Thank you AIA and AIA Houston!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

IDP Firm Award and IDP Outstanding Firm Award Applications Now Available

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is now accepting applications for the 2011-2014 IDP Firm Award and the 2011-2014 IDP Outstanding Firm Award on behalf of the IDP Advisory Committee (IDPAC)—a committee co-chaired by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the AIA.

Granted annually to firms that engage with and enhance the internship process, these two awards bestow a three-year recognition to organizations that embrace and support the Intern Development Program (IDP) and the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).

Applications are available now on the IDP Firm Award Program page and will be accepted until 12 October 2011. The IDPAC will review applications beginning in October and announce the recipients in late November. Detailed explanations for both awards are available in the IDP Firm Awards Program Guidelines.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, October 1956

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

October 1956

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Join Us at the 2011 Convention

Dan Hart, AIA, President of Texas Society of Architects invites you to Dallas for the Texas Society of Architects' 72nd Annual Convention and Design Products and Ideas Expo.

Be sure to register online for the convention before September 28. It won't be the same without you!

72nd Annual Convention and
Design Products and Ideas Expo
27-29 October 2011
Dallas Convention Center

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Exploring Dallas during the 2011 Convention

Michael Woods, AIA, a principal at RTKL Associates in Dallas, wants to take you on a tour of his hometown.

Map out your visit of the host city.

View Texas Architects Tour of Dallas in a larger map

Take a walk downtown from the convention center:

Main Street Garden Park - Thomas Balsley Associates
Wilson Building- Sanguinett & Staats/Corgan Associates
Mercantile Building - Walter Ahlschlager/ BGO Architects
Third Rail Lofts - Good Fulton & Farrell Architects
Gables Republic Tower - Harrison & Abramovitz/ RTKL Associates
The Joule Hotel - Coburn & Smith/Architexas
Dallas Museum of Art - Edward Larrabee Barnes
Nasher Sculpture Center - Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Museum Tower - Johnson Fain Architects
Margot and Bill WInspear Opera House - Foster + Partners
Wyly Theater - Rex/OMA

Venture off the beaten path:

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge - Santiago Calatrava
Cistercian Chapel - Cunningham Architects
Whiterock Lake
7035 Lakewood Blvd - CD Hutsell
Dallas Arboretum - Lake/Flato Architects

Purchase the AIA Guide to Dallas Architecture online at

Be sure to register online for the convention before September 28. It won't be the same without you!

72nd Annual Convention and
Design Products and Ideas Expo
27-29 October 2011
Dallas Convention Center

Monday, August 22, 2011

Authors Read from Literary Houston

As part of the “Authors in Architecture” lecture series, two writers involved with Literary Houston, published in 2010 by TCU Press, will read from the book on Sept. 21 at the Clayton Library, 5300 Caroline St. The event is co-sponsored by the Architecture Center Houston and the Houston Public Library. Admission is free.

The presenters will be the book’s editor David Theis and local arts writer Lisa Gray, who is among the 60-plus authors represented in Literary Houston. Theis will discuss how architecture, planning, and historic preservation are addressed in the book. The collection includes a well-known Ada Louise Huxtable piece from The New York Times, a Joel Garreau excerpt from Edge City, and an article on the Astrodome by Douglas Pegues Harvey originally published in Texas Architect.

A reception and book signing will follow the presentation. Find more information about the event at Architecture Center Houston (ArCH) is a collaboration of AIA Houston and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation.

At 5:30 p.m., attendees will be offered a brief tour of the recently renovated library given by Ernesto Maldonado, AIA, of Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects. Maldonado will talk about his firm’s recent award-winning renovation and addition to the historically significant building.

Literary Houston is an anthology of writing about Houston and Houstonians. The content is categorized in sections titled “Memoir and Biography,” “Visitors,” “The City Itself,” “Events,” “Poetry,” and “Fiction.” A good deal of Houston history is included, dating back to the days of Cabeza de Vaca and continuing through the Battle of San Jacinto and up to Enron and Hurricane Katrina. Works by local writers are included, along with articles by writers with national and international reputations, including Larry McMurtry, Norman Mailer, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Simone de Beauvoir.

David Theis moved to Houston in 1984 to study in the creative writing program at the University of Houston. Upon graduation, he became a journalist writing for Houston City Magazine, The Houstonian, Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, Cite, and numerous other publications. From 1989 to 1994, Theis was a staff writer for the Houston Press where he wrote news, features, and film reviews. In 2002, his novel Rio Ganges was published by Winedale Press. He is currently at work on a second novel.

Lisa Gray is a member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board and a weekly columnist covering things that contribute to Houston's peculiar sense of place—the city's environment, urban design, architecture, history, and whatever else seems interesting that week. She is a former managing editor of Cite, the Rice Design Alliance's quarterly magazine; a former managing editor and columnist at the Houston Press; and a former managing editor of Washington City Paper. Her work has appeared in Business Week, People, Good Housekeeping, O at Home, and Slate.

The Clayton Library was built in 1917 as a family home. It became a part of the Houston Public Library System in 1966 when a special collection for genealogical research was relocated there and the building was opened to the public. Glassman Shoemake Maldonado’s recent project included renovating and remodeling the guest and carriage houses on the property. This included an addition to the carriage house allowing for national conferences on genealogical research to be hosted onsite.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2011 Texas Architects Honor Awards

Melissa C. Brandrup, AIA, El Paso, Building Solutions
2011 Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA

Celebrate passionate leadership, inspiring achievement, and design excellence as the Society recognizes those who have made exceptional contributions to the built environment during the 72nd Annual Convention in Dallas, Oct. 27-29. The presentation of the 2011 Honor Awards demonstrates the efforts of members, individuals, and organizations that have improved the profession and their communities. Recipients of the 2011 Design Awards receive their awards and brief jury comments are provided. Learn about the significant contributions being made and be enlivened by all that is being accomplished. Sat., Oct. 28, 11:45 am - 1:15 pm. Click here for more information about the Texas Society of Architects Convention.

Awards luncheon sponsored by Haddon & Cowan Architects Collaborative

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Texas Architects Board Member Serves on 2016 Olympic Park Jury

Gabriel Durand-Hollis, FAIA, principal of Durand-Hollis Rupe Architects in San Antonio, recently served as the sole U.S. juror among a panel of seven for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park Competition. The jury met in August for the prestigious international design competition. Durand-Hollis serves on the Texas Society of Architects Board as an AIA Regional Director.

British firm AECOM, a London-based building design and management company was announced as the winner of the competition on August 19.

Texas Architects at the NCSL

Speaker Joe Straus at the AIA booth
Posing with Rep. Jim Murphy of Houston

David discussing issues with Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the 50 states, commonwealths and territories, held its annual convention in San Antonio, August 8-11. In attendance, in addition to a large group of Texas legislators, was David Lancaster, Sr. Manager of Advocacy.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was there with a booth to ensure the voice of architects across America was heard loud and clear…and no one is better than David in doing that—at least the loud part! To provide more local expertise and connections at these national events, AIA invites local and state component staff to participate, so representatives from Florida, Michigan, New York, and California joined David and AIA staff at the booth.

David welcomed a number of key officials to the booth, including Representatives Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen, Jim Murphy of Houston, and San Antonio’s native son, Speaker Joe Straus.

We’re told the big hit of the booth were the insulated drink coozies made out of recycled wet suits (GO GREEN!). Certainly, wet suits haven’t been needed in THIS state for quite some time!

Advocacy Update

David Lancaster, Hon. AIA
Senior Manager of Advocacy
Texas Society of Architects

On August 3, the 3rd Court of Appeals (Austin) affirmed the Legislature’s wisdom in clarifying the architectural and engineering practice acts in passing HB 2284. The Appeals Court “noted and affirmed” the district court’s ruling that “remanded the case to the Architecture Board for further proceedings and receipt of expert testimony, holding that the record is insufficient to determine whether the plans and specifications at issue constituted the practice of architecture, engineering, or both.”

In affirming the district court’s decision – something that both sides had claimed as a win – it is clear that disputes over responsibility and overlap could have continued to consume resources without any definitive resolution or closure to the broad dispute. HB 2284 clearly distinguishes between the practice of architecture and the practice of engineering, and plainly identifies areas of overlap between the two professions. It offers clarity where, in the past, ambiguity led to disputes between the two professions regarding responsibility and overlap.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, September 1956

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

September 1956

Friday, July 29, 2011

13 Recipients Selected for Texas Architects Honor Awards

The Texas Society of Architects (Texas Architects) announces its 2011 Honor Award recipients. The awards recognize significant contributions to the architectural profession and the quality of the built environment and will be presented during the 72nd Annual Convention, Oct. 27-29, in Dallas. 

Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Honor of Llewellyn W. Pitts FAIA

Tommy Neal Cowan, FAIA – Austin

Architecture Firm Award

Richter Architects – Corpus Christi

Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA

Melissa C. Brandrup, AIA – El Paso – Building Solutions

Award for Community Service in Honor of James D. Pfluger FAIA

J. Sinclair Black, FAIA – Austin – Black + Vernooy Architects

Award for Outstanding Educational Contributions in Honor of Edward J. Romieniec

Diane Berry Hays, FAIA – University of Texas at San Antonio College of Architecture

Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media in Honor
of John G. Flowers Honorary AIA

Richard Payne, FAIA – Architectural Photographer – Houston

Associate Member of the Year
Yesenia M. Blandon, Assoc. AIA – Dallas – Perkins + Will

Citation of Honor

Brownsville Historical Association
Sundance Square Management, Fort Worth

Artisan Award

Kathleen Ash –Studio K Glassworks, Manchaca – Austin
Brad Oldham, sculptor – Brad Oldham International – Dallas

Honorary Membership
Rosemary Castillo, CEO. Bienvivir Senior Health Services – El Paso
Jim Walker, AICP, Director of Sustainability, University of Texas – Austin

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cast Your Vote for Old Nueces County Courthouse


Click here to read the full article excerpted below and to cast your vote for what to do with the Old Nueces County Courthouse (tear down, restore, leave to deteriorate until collapse).

Old Nueces County Courthouse Structurally Unsafe, Report Says

by Mary Ann Cavazos
Corpus Christi Caller Times
July 27, 2011

CORPUS CHRISTI — A study of the old Nueces County Courthouse found that the structure is unsound and has severely deteriorated from more than three decades of exposure to the elements.

The findings were revealed to county commissioners Wednesday by officials from LNV Engineering, a company hired to conduct the two-phase analysis.

The 1914 courthouse has sat idle since 1977 and is protected from demolition until 2027 because of a stipulation attached to state grant funds.

It would cost an estimated $34.7 million to renovate only the 1914 building. To renovate the entire 86,400 square-foot structure including the 1930 addition, it would cost about $41.1 million.

By comparison, the nearby federal courthouse, which has nearly twice the square footage, was built in 2001 for $27.3 million.

“This county doesn’t have $40 million to spend on this project nor does the city,” Commissioner Mike Pusley said. “I think the point and time when we could have saved this building has passed.”

Buildings designated historical such as the courthouse are exempt from being brought up to current standards but there is an exception if they become safety hazards.

Pusley, who twice toured the site, plans to use the study’s findings to petition the Texas Historical Commission to lift the deed restriction. That would allow commissioners to decide whether to tear it down, which could cost $2 million to $3 million.

Pusley said that while he understands the building’s historical significance, it doesn’t change the circumstances: The building’s condition is unsafe and the lack of any foreseeable funding to renovate it has sealed its fate.

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dallas Arts District Tour in October

The Dallas Center for Architecture, Nasher Sculpture Center, Winspear Opera House, and Wyly Theater are among projects to be highlighted on the Dallas Arts District Tour (Tour A, Thurs., Oct. 27, 9:30 am to noon) during the Texas Society of Architects Annual Convention and Design Products and Ideas Expo, Oct. 27-29, 2011. 

Several of the projects on the Dallas Arts District tour were featured in the March/April 2011 issue of Texas Architect magazine. Read about these projects in the issue posted below.

Winspear Opera House
Winspear Opera House

Wyly Theater
Wyly Theater

The Arts District is one of twelve tours that will showcase innovative designs by regional and nationally renowned architects. Stay tuned to the Society's blog and other communication outlets for more information on tours, Continuing Education sessions, and events.

Convention registration opens mid summer.

Below is a complete list of the 2011 Texas Society of Architects' convention tours:

Tour A: Walking the Dallas Arts District
Tour B: Classic Modern Dallas - The Rose Residence
Tour C: Oak Cliff Community Renewal
Tour D: Victory Park - Urban Redevelopment
Tour E: Backstage Pass - Winspear and Wyly Performance Venues
Tour F: On Campus at SMU - Past, Present, and Future
Tour G: Trinity River Audubon Center
Tour H: Designed for Learning - Three Special Schools
Tour I: Mind, Body, and Soul (a library, research lab, and chapel)
Tour J: Urban Reserve - A Modern Neighborhood
Tour K: Cowboys Stadium
Tour L: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Friday, July 1, 2011

Texas Architect in Fayetteville, Ark.

By Stephen Sharpe, Hon. TSA

I had the honor of representing the Texas Society of Architects in late June when I traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., to facilitate the jury for the 2011 Studio Awards. The primary outcome of my two-day visit was the selection of four unbuilt projects for Studio Awards, which was especially notable because the winning entries were either the work of student teams or practicing architects who also teach. The common thread running through all four of the awarded projects was a well-thought-out visual explanation of research that prefaced the design solution. The jury’s selections were announced June 30. The four projects can be seen at:

A secondary outcome of the trip was my learning more about the architecture of northwestern corner of Arkansas, particularly the work that has emanated over the last 50 years from the creative minds of educator-architects connected to University of Arkansas. I wish to thank Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, for introducing me to many fine buildings that comprise a menagerie of modernist structures well worth driving out of one’s way to see in person. My thanks also go to Chris M. Baribeau, AIA, and Santiago R. Pérez, who both participated in the Studio Awards jury and showed me interesting projects in and around Fayetteville.

Thorncrown Chapel (see photo above) is the best known building in the area, so that was a good beginning point for me after landing at the regional airport just outside Bentonville (home of the late Sam Walton and his Walmart empire). Thorncrown, designed by Fay Jones for client Jim Reed, is situated in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains near Eureka Springs. Jones’ intricate timber construction allows for two-story-tall walls of glass along both sides of the sanctuary, so visitors feel directly connected to the surrounded forest. When I stopped by on a Tuesday afternoon, Reed’s widow was seated just inside the sanctuary where she handed out brochures and invited visitors to take a seat in a pew to enjoy the serenity of the chapel in the woods. (“We’re not a walk-around church,” she gently advised.) Soon it was just me and her left inside, so I introduced myself and heard the story of how she and her husband, both schoolteachers, worked through the financial and logistical travails of realizing her husband’s vision.

Back in Fayetteville, Marlon Blackwell invited me to his family’s home near the university. In addition to running his own small practice, Blackwell is the head of the architecture department at the Fay Jones School of Architecture. As a practitioner, he consistently produces excellent architecture that has been widely published and recognized with regional and national awards. Among those award-winning projects is his own home, known as the L-Stack House (see photo below), that he designed for a problematic lot with a creek running diagonally through the site.

The office of Marlon Blackwell Architect is within a former public library near downtown Fayetteville. The Fullbright Building (see photo below) was originally designed by Warren Seagraves (1925-1978), who also taught at the U. of Arkansas, and completed in 1962. Blackwell respectfully renovated it for commercial offices, replacing the second level’s exterior brick walls (which Seagraves capped with ribbon clerestory) with floor-to-ceiling glass and exposing the building’s perimeter steel frame.

Blackwell’s office was where the jury met on Wednesday, June 29, to select the winning submittals in the 2011 Studio Award program. Blackwell invited two associates – the aforementioned Baribeau and Pérez – to round out the jury. Prior to that morning’s meeting, the trio had reviewed the 50 entries and culled their choices into individual short lists. While they were not in complete agreement at the onset, the jurors went through the complete list of entrants before narrowing the field to 14 deemed worthy of a second look. They then spent about 90 minutes reviewing the PowerPoint presentations for those 14 projects and discussing their relative merits. Their commentary was erudite and pointed, with little time wasted on slide shows that didn’t answer their questions through images or text. By noon they were in unanimous agreement on four projects—Bat House Visitor Center by Matt Fajkus, AIA, Bo Yoon, and Jesse Rodriquez; Living Module Deployable Housing by Andrew Ball and Noah Marciniak; OutHouse by Andrew Daley, Jason Fleming, and Peter Muessig; and SEEPZ Mumbia by William Truitt.

With the jury’s work done, we drove to the Blessings Golf Clubhouse (see photo below) that Blackwell had designed. A stand-alone structure set at the base of the hill, with its footprint minimally contacting the land, the Blessings Golf Clubhouse acts as a type of covered bridge. This bridging creates an entry portal that operates as a breezeway framing the eighteenth green, acts as a threshold to the golf course beyond, and is an event space for golf tournaments.

Touring around Fayetteville that afternoon, we saw several other notable projects by Blackwell. One of the most intriguing was St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church (see photos below) in neighboring Springdale. The project, completed last year, shows how a thoughtful architect can provide a client with an exquisite design on a very small budget. Blackwell repurposed a three-bay garage as a small church. The “before” and “after” images don’t tell the whole story, which also entailed trading two cases of beer for a satellite dish that was embedded in the ceiling to fulfill the Eastern Orthodox Church’s liturgical requirement for a dome within the sanctuary.

The Courthouses of Central Texas

Thursday, October 27th
7:45 PM–8:45 PM
The Courthouses of Central Texas
Brantley Hightower, AIA, Lake|Flato Architects, San Antonio

The 254 county courthouses of Texas represent a rich and enduring architectural legacy. While the 50 courthouses of the central Texas region exhibit an endearing collection of historical styles, they remain relevant for the contemporary architect. They provide lessons about meaning and modernity as well as sustainability and community. Come along for a unique look at these structures as architectural artifact.

Sponsored by Talex Engineers
111019 LUHs 1

Design Products & Ideas Expo
27-29 October 2011
Dallas Convention Center

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jeff Johnson Comic Series, August 1956

Texas Architect magazine debuted the "Jeff Johnson, Architect" comic in April 1956. The comic, which was based on an architect, was created by David C. Baer, II, commercial artist and son of TA's former editor, David C. Baer. Patrick J. Nicholoson, consultant to TSA, collaborated on the series. Architectural Forum ran the cartoon in its publication in the fall of 1956.

The comic will appear once a month on the TSA blog until the end of the series. Enjoy!

August 1956

Monday, June 27, 2011

Narrow Escapes in West Texas Wildfires

Extremely dry conditions around Texas and the Southwest have fueled numerous wildfires since April, and the weather forecast doesn’t offer much relief to reduce fears of further conflagrations through the summer. While the efforts of firefighters have so far protected populated areas, flames have destroyed a number of homes and other buildings in rural locales.

One of this year’s worst wildfires occurred in April in the Davis Mountains near the McDonald Observatory. Dramatic photos posted on various astronomy websites ( showed glowing flames in the vicinity of the telescopes, but that fire was a control burn taken as a precaution to alleviate the threat of a larger disaster. Another blog post ( reported that the fire caused a temporary power outage at the observatory complex. And while another wildfire at the same time damaged buildings in the nearby town of Fort Davis, there were no reports of harm to the nineteenth-century military structures at the Fort Davis National Historic Site.

(The top photo, taken on April 17, shows the control burn on Black Mountain behind the Hobby-Eberly Telescope dome. The other photo, taken on April 9, shows the Smith Telescope with the control burn on the horizon. Both photos taken by Frank Cianciolo courtesy of the McDonald Observatory.)

In late June, the Texas Forest Service ( reported that elevated fire weather conditions continued to be in effect northwest of a line from Fort Worth to Del Rio including the southern half of the Texas Panhandle. The report also mentioned that state firefighters had recently responded to two new fires, one in Wichita County and another in Hardeman County. In addition, the report stated that three wildfires – the Miles Fire in Wheeler County (500 acres), the Boyken Fire in Howard County (5,067 acres), and the Mitchell Ranch 2 Fire in Crockett County (3,212 acres) – had been contained.

As of June 27, burn bans were in effect in 230 of the state’s 254 counties, which dampened hopes for fireworks in celebration of the July Fourth holiday.

2011 Session Summary (Updated!)

In previous ADVOCACY blogs, we reported that all our priority bills had passed so, barring a veto from Governor Perry, they would become law. We’re delighted to say that, for the first time in four sessions, the Governor didn’t veto a single bill we identified—and supported—as architectural practice priority. Since we previously described those priority bills in some detail, this report will focus more on when those changes become effective, etc., as well as providing a link to more detailed information, including a link to the Enrolled version of each bill. (Click on bill numbers in the sub-titles.) In reverse numerical order, they are:

HB 2284 (see May 25, 27 and June 6 blogs)

Summary—A/E “Peace Accord” bill that settles 20+-year scope-of-practice disputes between the professions. In trade for creating a process by which certain licensed engineers can be “grandfathered” (between September 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012) to continue practicing architecture without an architecture license, language was added to the Engineering Practice Act stating that an architect must prepare the architectural plans and specifications for any building intended for human use or occupancy, as well as “the practice of engineering does not include the practice of architecture.”

Effective Date—September 1, 2011

Exemptions or Exclusions—See those previously reported on the TSA Blog regarding an engineer’s eligibility to apply for “grandfathering.”

HB 2093 (see May 25 and 27 blogs)

Summary—Makes broad-form indemnification clauses “void and unenforceable.” In other words, as a matter of public policy, after the effective date most contracts will require each party to be responsible for its own acts, and will not allow one party to dictate to another that a “second party” must indemnify and defend the “first party” against the first party’s acts of negligence. The “void and unenforceable” limitation also extends to any requirement to purchase additional insurance for such indemnification contingencies.

Effective Date—January 1, 2012

Exemptions or Exclusions—Specific classes of exempted construction contracts include residential (single family house, townhouse or duplex, including any related land development) and municipal projects. In addition, language for common or current exemptions such as bodily injury or death of an employee, breach of contract, general indemnity agreements required by sureties or in loan or financing documents, general “benefits and protections” language under state workers comp or governmental immunity laws, etc., are included.

HB 1728 (see May 25 and June 7 blogs)

Summary—Establishes parameters for energy-performance or energy-conservation contracts, including available sources of funds to pay for them. Of particular interest to architects is the language limiting K-12 public education entities from disallowing “proper allocation” of available tax credits added to Section 44.902 of the Education Code (See page 3). Similar language for other public entities is found in HB 51.

Effective Date—September 1, 2011

Exemptions or Exclusions—None

HB 628 (see May 25 and May 27 blogs)

Summary—Consolidates the language dealing with Alternative Project Delivery methods now found in three different codes (Education, Government and Local Government) into a single chapter of the Government Code. It also provides a bit of needed tort reform by requiring that money received by a school district as the result of a construction-defect lawsuit—regardless whether a settlement or verdict—be spent to fix the problem for which the lawsuit was filed.

Effective Date— September 1, 2011

Exemptions or Exclusions—While the bill has almost universal impact on all public entities, there are notable exceptions like the Texas Department of Transportation and institutions of higher learning (although community and junior colleges are included).

HB 51 (see May 25 and June 7 blogs)

Summary—Requires state buildings to be designed and constructed or renovated to achieve certification under a nationally recognized program such as LEED or Green Globes, or a comparable program developed by a municipally owned energy producer. Also includes language that says a design professional’s services to achieve such third-party certification are not to be considered “basic services,” and that public entities may not disallow proper allocation of potential tax credits. (See page 5, lines 15-24 of the bill.)

Effective Date—September 1, 2011

Exemptions or Exclusions—Higher education buildings may be exempted in cases where the governing board has already adopted another, reasonably equivalent, set of energy-conservation standards, or requests and is granted an “undue hardship” waiver from SECO, which includes providing documentation demonstrating need for the waiver. Also, buildings for which a Higher Ed entity advertises seeking RFQs, RFPs, bids, etc., before September 1, 2013 are exempt. Only their buildings or projects initiated after that date are covered. For state buildings, the effective date is September 1, 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Texas Architect Contributor: Mario L. Sanchez, PhD

Mario L. Sanchez, PhD became interested in architecture during visits to modernist construction sites in his native Havana with his architect-uncle Antonio Fojo. Since 1987, he has focused on historic preservation and its link to community development. Recently, he wrote the South Texas section for the Society of Architectural Historians’ Buildings of Texas (edited by Gerald Moorhead, FAIA), which will be released by the University of Virginia Press in 2012. See page 42 for his article on Ancient Oaks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Texas Architect Contributors: Jim Atkins, FAIA & Grant Simpson, FAIA

Grant A. Simpson, FAIA, is an accomplished Southern cook taught by his Cajun grandmother. This aging warrior can usually be found listening to Hawaiian music in his backyard tropical paradise; cultivating frangipani, enjoying his tiki torches, or constructing a bamboo trellis…(for which he carefully prepared a work plan); red beans and rice anyone? See his Practice article, co-authored by Jim Atkins, on page 79 of the Texas Architect July/August edition.

Jim Atkins, FAIA, likes to fish, whether it is fighting blue marlin in the Bahamas, working the snapper banks in the Gulf, or wading fishing the Laguna Madre. When he can't make it to the big water he settles for a more serene endeavor. His goldfish are the winners. See his Practice article, co-authored by FAIA member Grant A. Simpson, on page 79 of the Texas Architect July/August edition.

The Work, Part I: The Contractor’s Work Plan
Understanding contract documents for managing and directing the Work

This two-part series will take a look at the contractor’s sole responsibility for the Work and how to evaluate the contractor’s approach to its supervision, coordination, and direction. Part 1 examines the planning that is logically and often contractually required, including the primary organizational framework—the Contractor’s Work Plan. The second and final installment (scheduled for publication in the Sept/Oct 2011 edition) will examine the contractor’s obligations for delivering conforming work, common approaches by contractors to alter work scope and avoid conformance, and suggested actions to take to confirm the existence of a Work Plan if indications appear otherwise.

This series does not purport to invent new ways for developing a contractor’s plan for implementing the Work. Many of the tried and true elements of an effective and adequate Work Plan already exist and can be readily found in common construction contracts, general conditions, and guide specifications.

Below are consolidated references from AIA Document A201: General Conditions.

Who’s Responsible for the Work?
In its capacity as supervisor, coordinator, and director of the Work, the contractor must obviously develop and implement a reasonable and prudent plan for organizing, phasing, coordinating, scheduling, and implementing the Work.

This responsibility is clearly stated and repeatedly emphasized in the AIA’s General Conditions of the Contract for Construction.

• Section 1.1.3 identifies the Work as the contractor’s responsibility: “The term ‘Work’ means the construction and services required by the Contract Documents, whether completed or partially completed, and includes all other labor, materials, equipment and services provided or to be provided by the Contractor to fulfill the Contractor’s obligations.”

• Section 3.3.1 states that the contractor is in complete charge and control of the Work and is the only contracted entity that bears such responsibility: “The Contractor shall supervise and direct the Work, using the Contractor’s best skill and attention. The Contractor shall be solely responsible for, and have control over, construction means, methods, techniques, sequences and procedures and for coordinating all portions of the Work under the Contract, unless the Contract Documents give other specific instructions concerning these matters.”

• Section 3.1.3 states that the responsibility is absolute and cannot be assumed or circumvented by the actions of the architect, or deferred upon the architect: “The Contractor shall not be relieved of obligations to perform the Work in accordance with the Contract Documents either by activities or duties of the Architect in the Architect’s administration of the Contract, or by tests, inspections or approvals required or performed by persons or entities other than the Contractor.”

What Comprises a Work Plan?
The elements of a Work Plan can vary based on the contractor’s expertise and approach, but the minimum services and components required of the contractor can be found in the AIA General Conditions, which include:

• Section 1.2.2: “… dividing the Work among Subcontractors or … establishing the extent of Work to be performed by any trade.”

• Section 3.2.2: “…the Contractor shall, before starting each portion of the Work…take field measurement of any existing conditions…for the purpose of facilitating coordination and construction.”

• Section 3.3.3: “The Contractor shall be responsible for inspection of portions of the Work already performed to determine that such portions are in proper condition to receive subsequent Work.”

• Section 3.7.2: “The Contractor shall comply with and give notices required by applicable laws, statutes, ordinances, codes, rules and regulations, and lawful orders of public authorities applicable to the performance of the Work.”

• Section 3.10.1: “The Contractor…shall prepare and submit…a Contractor’s construction schedule for the Work.”

• Section 3.10.2: “The Contractor shall prepare a submittal schedule…coordinated with the Contractor’s construction schedule…”

• Section 3.11: “The Contractor shall maintain at the site…one copy of the Drawings, Specifications, Addenda, Change Orders and other Modifications…to indicate field changes and selections made during construction, and one copy of approved Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar required submittals.”

• Section 3.12.1: “Shop Drawings are drawings, diagrams, schedules and other data specially prepared for the Work by the Contractor, or a Subcontractor, Sub-subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier or distributor to illustrate some portion of the Work.”

• Section 3.12.4: “Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals…purpose is to demonstrate the way by which the Contractor proposes to conform to the…Contract Documents…”

• Section 3.12.6: “By submitting Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals, the Contractor represents…that the Contractor has…reviewed and approved them,…checked and coordinated the information contained within such submittals…”

• Section 9.2: “[Preparing]…a schedule of values allocating the entire Contract Sum to the various portions of the Work…[to]…be used as a basis for reviewing the Contractor's Applications for Payment.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'NCARB Talks' Video Series

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has launched a new video series entitled “NCARB Talks,” featuring short, informal conversations with architects on staff. 

These videos give viewers a glimpse of individual triumphs and challenges on the path to licensure. They discuss their experiences with the Intern Development Program (IDP), the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), and the importance of getting licensed and ultimately NCARB certified.

Whether you are a student considering the profession, or are an intern currently in the process of becoming licensed, this series provides insight into the licensure process. These videos are also a resource to illustrate the realities of the profession for those mentoring the next generation of architects.

All videos are available at and NCARB’s YouTube channel at

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Student to Architect: The Path to Licensure

Earning a license to practice architecture is an important career milestone. Watch a short video as NCARB architects discuss the path to licensure and the essential steps involved.

Texas Architect Contributor: Lauraine Miller, Hon. TSA

Lauraine Miller, Hon. TSA has been the producer/editor of The Shape of Texas radio program since 1999. She fell in love with the built environment as a child in Brooklyn, where, on clear days, she could see the top of the Empire State Building from her bedroom window. Read her article on page 50.

Monday, June 13, 2011

McNay Spotlights George Nelson

by Stephen Sharpe, Hon. TSA

The newly installed retrospective of George Nelson’s work at the McNay Art Institute in San Antonio offers a comprehensive look at the extraordinary range of a consummate designer. The exhibit encompasses Nelson’s early journalism, his iconic designs for furnishings by Herman Miller, and his elegant architectural projects. “George Nelson: Architect/Writer/Designer/Teacher” remains on view through Sept. 11.

I attended a media preview on June 8, led by staff curator Rene Barilleaux, who did not assemble the show but nonetheless is well versed in Nelson’s oeuvre and his place in the pantheon of American designers. Almost all of the pieces on display are on loan from the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Vitra – perhaps best known for its tiny replicas of famous chairs by twentieth-century designers – owns the European copyrights for Nelson’s work.

The exhibit, sponsored by Herman Miller, has been traveling for a couple of years, having come from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to the McNay’s Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions. The companion book, published in 2008 by the Vitra Design Museum and available at the McNay’s gift shop, neatly organizes Nelson’s multiple and overlapping careers. Also on sale are several reproductions of his classic designs, including the Ball Clock and a miniature Marshmallow Sofa.

Following the media preview, invited guests were treated to an informal “conversation” between Vitra CEO Rolf Fehlbaum and Bill Lacy, FAIA, whose personal recollections included an observation of Nelson’s “wicked sense of humor.” To demonstrate Nelson’s satiric wit, Fehlbaum quoted some of the headlines of Nelson’s articles—“Design Technology and the Pursuit of Ugliness,” “A Problem of Design: How to Kill People,” and “Does It Really Matter What Color You Paint a Nuclear Bomb?”

In his brief remarks, Fehlbaum said he wouldn’t be in business if not for George Nelson. He credited Nelson for showing him how to organize operations in a manner very different from the way most European companies did. That business model has proved successful for Vitra, which maintains a compact corporate campus just across the border from Basel, Switzerland. As Fehlbaum illustrated in a short slide show, he has collected a menagerie of buildings by internationally known architects. They include a fire station by Zaha Hadid, a petrol station by Jean Prouvé (relocated to the campus), a geodesic dome by Buckminster Fuller, a conference pavilion by Tadao Ando, and the Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry.

An erudite connoisseur of design, Fehlbaum suggested that Nelson’s body of work is less appreciated by the general public because he was an inventor of typologies rather than single pieces (with a few exceptions). The exhibit supports his conclusion, with displays that focus on Nelson’s concepts for the domestic storage wall (depicted in a humorously staged photo shoot for Life magazine) and modular "office systems" that were ahead of their time and sometimes failed in the marketplace. On that latter subject, Lacy recounted how he worked within the federal government to help bureaucrats accept the trend away from requisitioning individual desks and chairs for each employee in favor of ordering a workstation.

In closing, Lacy thanked Fehlbaum for raising the public’s awareness of Nelson’s work by loaning the pieces for the traveling exhibit. The show, he said, “is like Rolf brought the museum.” Fehlbaum responded with a compliment to the McNay, saying, “It looks better here than at our museum."