Friday, February 25, 2011
With Texas' looming budget shortfall in the neighborhood of $25 billion, the future of the popular program is unclear. In his State of The State address on Sept. 8, 2010, Governor Rick Perry went so far as to call for the elimination of the Texas Historical Commission in its entirety.
The following images show some of the more remarkable transformations brought about by the THCPP. The images attest to both the value of the program and the critical need for the Texas Historical Commission to oversee our state’s unique historical heritage.
Completed in 1892 and designed by Larmour and Watson, the Milam County Courthouse stood as a fine example of Renaissance Revival Courthouse design. The tower and mansard roofs were removed in the 1930s. TWC Architects oversaw restoration efforts that were completed in 2002 including the central clock tower reconstruction,Victorian floor tile imported from England, and unique district courtroom restoration.
1892 was a busy year for Larmour and Watson for it also saw the completion of another of their county courthouse designs in Llano. The building’s unique asymmetrical tower was simplified and shortened in 1913. Volz and Associates restored it along with the rest of the courthouse to its original configuration in 2002.
In 1886 J. J. Kane and Roy E. Lane created one of the finest examples of gothic courthouse design in the state. An unfortunate modernization similar to the one in Wharton saw its tower and ornate roof elements removed in 1935. ArchiTexas undid that damage with their 2007 renovation.
I am a dual Master's student at the UT School of Architecture, and I am conducting research for my thesis. I have been conducting a survey and would greatly appreciate gaining access to more professional architects to participate. I invite you to take just a few moments of your day to take the following survey. It relates to research associated with architectural education and the profession. By doing so, you will be helping out some fellow colleagues, and you may find the survey results REALLY INTERESTING! (You have the option to be emailed the results once tallied, although responses will remain confidential).
Amy E. Jones
UT School of Architecture
MSCRP/ MSSD (Expected 2011)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wednesday, February 23 | 7pm
Koolhaas Houselife (2008, NR) directed by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine
running time: 58 minutes
Filmmakers in attendance, Q&A to follow screening
Koolhaas Houselife is a comprehensive stroll through a complex architectural icon created by Rem Koolhaas/OMA in 1998 in Bordeaux, to accommodate a man confined to a wheelchair. Unlike most movies about architecture, this feature focuses on letting the viewer enter into the invisible bubble of the daily intimacy of an architectural icon. This is accomplished through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe, the housekeeper and caretaker, and others who maintain the property.
Future dates and films TBA on the Arthouse Web site.
Friday, February 18, 2011
While committees have been named in both chambers, and bills are now being referred and hearings scheduled on a variety of topics (our tracking list is up to 132 bills), the emphasis is still clearly on the budget. Legislative leaders have committed to balancing the budget through cuts rather than increased revenues, which is hopeful news when it comes to taxes affecting the profession.
That could change soon, however, because the first draft of census numbers was released this week, so the difficulties of political self-preservation are quickly coming into sharper focus. Legislators not only heard first-hand how painful many of the proposed budget cuts will be to constituents when they went home last weekend, they’re now seeing how many new constituents they will likely have due to both population growth and where that growth occurred.
What does that mean for you? It means the “legislative attention span” has been compressed even more than before…so the importance of your participation—making your voice clearly heard—is greater. Each week from now until May 30, legislative intensity will increase, and so will the number of specific bills that impact the way you practice. Please be ready to make your voice heard—clearly and personally. Future posts here will list details of the who, how and when to do that.
This week, staff dropped by legislative offices to offer proposed amendments for HB 628, our Alternative Project Delivery (APD) bill, and a liability protection bill, HB 958. We also discussed A/E overlap concerns, the benefits of “life-cycle costing” over “first-dollar expense” in analyzing public building costs, and why investing in design is far more economical than making changes during construction.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Stephen Sharpe, Hon. TSA
Construction continues on the SOM-designed City Performance Hall, the final public component of the recently re-invigorated Dallas Arts District. Originally planned to open in 2010, the multipurpose venue is now scheduled for completion in mid-2012. The project was funded through a City of Dallas bond package approved by voters in 2006.
The two-story structure will include a 750-seat theater, two 200-seat theaters, art galleries, a café, a bookshop, an enclosed garden, and educational and meeting spaces. Corgan Associates is the architect of record.
Sited at the southeast edge of the Arts District, the City Performance Hall is rising next door to the Wyly Theatre (REX/OMA with Kendall/Heaton Architects) and cater-corner from the Winspear Opera House (Foster and Partners with Kendall/Heaton Architects). Those two buildings, both completed in late 2009, brought international prestige to the city and their owner, the AT&T Performing Arts Center. In fact, the Wyly is the only Texas building receiving an AIA Honor Award for Architecture this year.
A visit to the site in February made me eager to review SOM’s rendering to figure out the location of the front door and the building’s various other parts. As you can see from the rendering above, the entrance will open to Flora Street, which is the spine that runs southwest-northeast through the center of the Arts District from the Dallas Museum of Art (1984; Edward Larrabee Barnes with Pratt, Box & Henderson) to the mixed-use commercial complex known as One Arts Plaza (2008; Morrison Seifert Murphy with Corgan).
The City Performance Space will face the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (2008; Allied Works with Booziotis & Company Architects) across the street, with both buildings flanking the southeastern entry to the Arts District.
For the eighth consecutive year, Preservation Texas has compiled a list of the “most endangered places” in the state to call attention to historic properties threatened by neglect, commercial development, or urban sprawl.
The 2011 list was released on Feb. 9 and includes 10 imperiled sites that represent a broad range of the state’s unique cultural heritage, geography, and history.
Among them are:
• a historic Central Texas ranch that reflects our state’s threatened agricultural heritage;
• a Houston cemetery that demonstrates a variety of West African spiritual traditions and is the final resting place for some of the city’s prominent African Americans;
• one of the few institutional structures remaining in Waxahachie’s once-thriving African American commercial district; and
• three structures in the Rio Grande Valley, including the Duval County Courthouse (shown below).
The complete list is posted at http://www.preservationtexas.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=31
You can view the nonprofit’s previous annual lists at http://www.preservationtexas.org/.
Based in Kansas City, Mo., Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects (BNIM) shares the glory of being named the 2011 AIA Architecture Firm Award with its four satellite offices. Among them is the Houston office, which opened in 2001.
From its founding in 1970, BNIM has been at the forefront of developing the art and science of sustainable architecture. That same approach extends to the work developed from the Houston office, which includes two projects recognized in 2006 with TSA Design Awards. Both projects – Fayez S. Sarofim Research Building and the School Of Nursing And Student Community Center – are located at the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center within the Texas Medical Center.
The Sarofim Research Building (shown above), home of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), was designed for a tight urban site. The facility supports research collaboration in the field of molecular medicine, particularly in genetics and proteomics and bioinformatics. The IMM houses dry and wet laboratories, offices, conference areas, and a 200-seat assembly facility. The design is intended to nurture a dynamic, interactive environment conducive to research and learning.
The School Of Nursing And Student Community Center (shown above), designed in collaboration with Lake/Flato Architects, is one of Houston’s premier teaching institutions for health-related professions. The design team and client recognized that the project offered the opportunity to take the lead in the creation of a healthy work environment. Goals of increased air quality, increased natural daylighting, reduction of polluting emissions and run-off, and increased user satisfaction and productivity were achieved using the LEED rating system as a platform. The building includes approximately 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, café and dining room, bookstore, student lounge, student government offices, research laboratory, and faculty offices.
BNIM will be presented with the 2011 AIA Firm of the Year Award during ceremonies at this year’s AIA Convention in New Orleans.
For more information, see the recent article in AIArchitect [http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB086814].
Monday, February 14, 2011
Computers are great tools for architects, but don't let CAD go wild
The architecture of New Orleans' rebuilt public housing gets mixed reviews
Toronto Globe and Mail
Stifling architectural creativity brings no joy
How Smart Are Smart Cities Getting?
Sunday, February 13, 2011
LEADERSHIP IS STICKING TO THE PROMISE OF NO NEW TAXES
• Both House and Senate Chambers have each filed a base budget (HB 1 and SB 1) that includes no new revenue sources but instead proposes significant cuts to state government. The Governor’s proposal does the same – even going so far as to eliminate four agencies: Texas Historic Commission, Arts Commission, Board of Land Surveyors, and Board of Geoscientists. All proposed budgets refrain from using the Rainy Day Fund which is projected to have about $9.4 billion.
o Good News: We’re safe at the moment on the issue of taxing services. Bad News: Tweaks to the underperforming franchise tax are being explored through a number of bills. We don’t know yet how these “tweaks” might impact us. And, with no new revenue streams to make up for the $27 billion shortfall, we should expect to see proposals to allow bidding of architectural services (one has already been filed) and expect to see proposals that would allow for standardizing architectural plans for K-12.
KEY HOUSE COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP IS FAVORABLE TO ARCHITECTS
• Yesterday, the Speaker released his House Committee Assignments. TSA is pleased to see good, smart House members appointed to leadership positions.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Texas A&M's Center for Heritage Conservation will focus on the adaptation of old structures for new purposes during "Adaptive Reuse: Architecture as Found Object," the 12th annual Historic Preservation Symposium set for Feb. 25 and 26 at the Langford Architecture Center's Preston Geren Auditorium.
"Adaptive reuse is one of the most sustainable things we can do," said Robert Warden, director of the CHC. "A lot of data shows that reusing our existing building stock preserves culture and saves energy and materials."
Kansas City's Union Station serves as a good example of adaptive reuse. Abandoned and decaying, renovation of the grand old train station, overseen by Nancy McCoy ('81) an outstanding alumna of the College of Architecture, was completed in 1999. Union Station now houses Science City, a family-friendly interactive science center, an IMAX theater, shops, restaurants, and temporary museum exhibit space.
The symposium begins Friday, Feb. 25, with a public keynote address at 6 p.m. by K.T. Ravindran, head of the Department of Urban Design in the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India.
The symposium continues 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, with presentations by: Ryan Jones, Lake | Flato Architects; Aaron Lubeck, author; Elisabeth Knibbe, Quinn Evans Architects; and Ron Staley, The Christman Company.
A speaker from Brand + Allen Architects, a design and planning firm with offices in Houston and San Francisco, will also make a presentation Saturday.
For more information and registration details, visit the symposium's website at http://archone.tamu.edu/.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
On Jan. 25, over 200 architects convened at the State Capitol to speak with legislators about issues affecting the profession. This was TSA's first Advocates for Architecture Day, and the event was a huge success.
Before heading into the Texas State Capitol to speak with legislators, all the participating architects gathered for a group photo to document the day. See the short video below.
Below is the brochure that was distributed that day, highlighting the importance of architecture and outlining the issues that were discussed.
Thank you to all who participated and who lent their voice to speak for Texas architects and the profession.
The 2011 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2011 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, May 13, 2011.
The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.