Texas Architect July/Aug 2006: Color
Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other editorial content largely written by AIA members in Texas. That collective participation was the basis of Texas Architect’s recognition by the national AIA with a 2010 Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
texas architect 28 7/8 2006 by DONNA KACMAR, AIA Graphic Design THE new Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is hard to miss: its imposing form and graphic detailing rise above the trees along Allen Parkway just west of downtown. While its exterior appears heavy-handed from a distance, one must experience the inner workings to fully appreciate the facility’s design. The architect selection process was lengthy. After a two-tiered nationwide search narrowed the field to three firms, the team of Michael Graves and PGAL was selected. Federal Reserve officials were seeking to build a classically derived landmark, and they appreciated the historical references in much of Graves’ work. Initial sketches by Graves from July 2001 depict a colorful acropolis adorned with some nautical references. The Houston Branch is part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, one of 12 regional reserve banks that operate collectively as our nation’s central bank system. Dallas is the headquarters of the Eleventh Federal Reserve District – encompassing northern Louisiana, southern New Mexico, and all of Texas – and has three branch offices (in El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston). The Houston Branch serves as a cash depository for banks in southeast Texas and as a center for regional economic research and education. Its operations are overseen by a seven-member board of directors appointed to represent a variety of economic interests in the region served by the Houston Branch. A large portion of the 300,000-sq. ft. Houston Branch facility is dedicated to the storage and han- dling of U.S. currency. Money that comes into the facility is inspected and stored for recirculation, unless it is deemed unfit to continue to circulate and is then destroyed on site. In addition to the handling of currency, the building houses administration areas, meeting rooms, a public exhibit area, and a conference center. Within the conference center are training rooms, a business center, a videoconference room, and a multipurpose room, all of which help the Federal Reserve fulfill project Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch client Federal Reserve Bank architect Michael Graves & Associates with PGAL design team Thomas Rowe, AIA; David Andrews, AIA; Paul Bonnette, AIA; Kathy Dy; Jenna Ford; Marcia Mink contractor Linbeck consultants Walter P. Moore (structural); I.A. Naman + Associ- ates (MEP); PGAL (civil); Kroll Schiff & Associates (security); IRM International (telecommunications/IT); WJHW (acoustics/AV); Clark Condon Associates (landscape) photographer Richard Payne, FAIA