Friday, February 25, 2011

Advocacy Update: Week 6

by Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

This week, we covered a variety of legislative issues. We met with stakeholders in high performance design and construction legislation to discuss refining the legislation to make it as fiscally neutral as possible, given the state budget deficit. We also spent some time negotiating on the language in HB 958, by Representative Workman, which would have increased liability exposure for architects in favor of contractors. In the end, we persuaded the sponsor, who was very gracious, to amend the bill to make the outcome equitable for architects. HB 611, by Representative Murphy, proposes to keep state government from competing with the private sector; great bill – but some substitute language was included that created questions for us about the possibility of any steps backwards for architects who provide “project management services.” It appears we’ve got a solution to this issue through legislative intent. 

Lastly, this week, a good bit of brainpower and legwork at the Capitol was spent working with key leadership and lobbyists on the continued negotiations with engineers. We’re hopeful for a positive outcome and pleased to see some progress. Bills continue to be filed at a frantic pace, TSA now has 151 bills on its bill track for monitoring.

Investments in Heritage

Brantley Hightower
TSA Publications Committee, Chair
Lake|Flato, San Antonio

In 1999 the Texas Legislature created the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP) that charged the Texas Historical Commission with devising a process by which individual counties could apply for grants to execute appropriate restorative work. In the 12 years that have passed since its inception, the results of the program have been remarkable. In all, 138 grants have been awarded to 82 counties. By the end of 2011, a total of 55 courthouses will have been rededicated following complete restoration funded through THCPP grants.

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.

Wharton County Courthouse
The 1889 courthouse by Eugene Heiner was significantly “modernized” in the 1930s and 1940s when the exterior brick was encased in stucco, additions built, and the tower, clock, and other significant roof elements were removed. The interior and exterior of the courthouse were restored in 2007 by Bailey Architects in the most extensive project in the THCPP.

(before and after image courtesy Bailey Architects)

Milam County Courthouse
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.
(before image courtesy TxDOT and after image courtesy TWC Architects)

Llano County Courthouse
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.

(before image courtesy TxDOT and after image courtesy Larry D. Moore)

Bosque County Courthouse
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.
(before image courtesy TxDOT and after image courtesy ArchiTexas)

UT Arch Student Asks Architects to Take Survey

Greetings Texas AIA Architects,

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).

Thanks Much,
Amy E. Jones
UT School of Architecture
MSCRP/ MSSD (Expected 2011)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rooftop Architecture Film Series at Austin's Arthouse

The Rooftop Architecture Film Series proposes a dialogue between the new architecture of Arthouse and the built environments of the past and present through film. These documentaries investigate not only celebrated architects and their projects, but also the people who activate their buildings. All screenings take place on Arthouse’s new rooftop deck, weather permitting.

Wednesday, February 23 | 7pm
Free for Arthouse members
$10 General public

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

Advocacy Update: Week 5

David Lancaster, Hon. AIA
TSA Senior Director of Advocacy

Unless the Governor has declared them an “emergency,” measures can’t be passed during the first 60 days of a session. So far, with the exception of eminent domain, none of Governor Perry’s emergencies have a direct impact on professional practice. (Please note the distinction, however: anything and everything can be considered during the first 60 days, it just can’t be passed unless it’s an emergency.)

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

City Performance Hall Takes Shape In Dallas Arts District

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.

Construction in November 2010; photo courtesy Corgan Associates

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.

Preservation Texas Names Latest ‘Most Endangered Places’

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

You can view the nonprofit’s previous annual lists at

Texas Projects by 2011 AIA Firm of the Year

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 Centerare 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 [].

Monday, February 14, 2011

AIA Media Scan: Architecture in the News

Coverage of the Profession
Washington Post
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

Sustainability Coverage
How Smart Are Smart Cities Getting?

The AIA daily 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. The daily media scan 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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Advocacy for Architecture Update: WEEK 4

We’re 31 days into the 140-day legislative session and no heart-pumping news to report yet; however, we now know a few important things that give us pause and comfort:

• 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.

• 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

2011 TSA Design Awards and Studio Awards

The Texas Society of Architects/AIA invites submittals for its annual Design Awards program. April 22 is the deadline for entries into the Design Awards program, and June 3 is the deadline for entries into the Studio Awards program. The 2011 Call for Entries are posted here. Winning projects will be featured in Texas Architect magazine and recognized during the TSA Convention in Dallas in October. The sponsor for this year's awards program is Blackson Brick.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Economic Outlook for Architects

In a nutshell, the architectural billings index indicates a positive upward trend since November 2009, which means we expect construction spending to increase in the next 9- 12 months. In Texas, the data shows the loss of about 20,000 jobs in the A/E industry from November 2008 to November 2009. That plunge of employment seems to be steadily trending upward (albeit gradually) as of November 2010. See AIA Economic Forecast one sheet below for details. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Event: Architecture as Found Object

Historic Preservation Symposium to Focus on Adaptive Reuse Research

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

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Call for Entries: 2011 Holland Prize

The Heritage Documentation Programs (includes the Historic American Buildings Survey, the Historic American Engineering Record, and the Historic American Landscapes Survey) seeks submittals for the 2011 Leicester B. Holland Prize. Open to students and professionals, the prize recognizes the best single-sheet measured drawing of an historic building, site, or structure prepared to HABS, HAER, or HALS standards. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, a certificate of recognition, and publication of the winning drawing in Architectural Record. For more information, click here. Entries must be completed by MAY 31

Advocates for Architecture Day Recap

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.

Photos below by Thomas McConnell and Holly Reed.

San Antonio delegation on the Capitol lawn.

Gerard Kinney and others preparing for visits with legislators .

TSA EVP James Perry and Tommy Cowan, FAIA, of Austin.

David Rodriguez, AIA, of Dallas.

Filo Castore, AIA, and Caryn Mims-Ogier, AIA, Houston, briefing themselves for a visit.

Donna Kacmar, FAIA, Houston, speaking with a colleague while waiting to visit a legislator.

Tommy Upchurch, AIA, and Elizabeth Price, AIA, Brazos, meet with legislative staff.

Discussing the issues at the Capitol.

Rep. Sarah Davis, Houston, visiting with architects.

Charlie Burris, AIA, and Andrew Hawkins, AIA, Brazos, gather in the extension of the Capitol prior to a legislative visit.

Allen Swift, AIA, Imad Abdullah, AIA, and Thomas Jackson, AIA, from Houston, speak about the importance of the architectural profession.

Architects review their schedules for the day.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, of Austin, speaks with Paul Bielamowicz, AIA, Emily Layton, AIA, and Heather McKinney, FAIA, all of Austin.

Houston architects take a break to appreciate the Capitol extension addition.

McKinney signs a limited-edition print of the Capitol for the TSA office.

Limited-edition poster signed by participating architects of the first TSA Advocates for Architecture Day 2011.

2011 AIA Fellows Announced

The 2011 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elevated 104 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. Fourteen Texas Society of Architects members were recognized with Fellowship.

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.

David C. Bucek, FAIA, Houston

David J. Calkins, FAIA, Houston

Elizabeth R. del Monte, FAIA, Dallas

Gary E. Furman, FAIA, Austin

Guy F. Hagstette, FAIA, Houston

Thomas H. Hatch, FAIA, Austin

Manuel Hinojosa, FAIA, Lower Rio Grande

Dohn H. LaBiche, FAIA, Southeast Texas

Brian Malarkey, FAIA, Houston

Juan Miro, FAIA, Austin

Morris J. Neal, FAIA, Austin

Roksan Okan-Vick, FAIA, Houston

Mardelle M. Shepley, FAIA, Houston

Carrie G. Shoemake, FAIA, Houston