Texas Architect Jan/Feb 2008: Design for Education
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.
E d i t o r ’ s As reflected on the masthead opposite this page, considerable changes have taken place in the last few months in regards to the staff of Texas Architect. First, as keen observers of TA have already noticed, a new art director is steering the magazine’s graphic design and the evidence is most noticeable in the feature section. Julie Pizzo started in June while her predecessor, Ashley St. Clair, designed and produced the pages of the July/August edition, her last as TA’s art director. Ashley’s colleagues at TSA and Texas Architect wish her the very best. Julie Pizzo holds a degree from Texas Tech University where she studied mass communication, fine arts, and cognitive science. After graduation she completed an intensive professional studies program on book and magazine publishing at New York University. While in Manhattan in 2003, she interned in the art department at Glamour magazine. Since returning to Texas, she has worked as a creative contributor, art director, and production manager for several Austin-based publications. The second change to the masthead is the addition of Chellie Thompson as TA’s advertising representative. Chellie takes the reins from long-time ad rep Carolyn Baker, who has forged many strong relationships between Texas Architect and its advertisers in her 17 years promoting TA as a venue for companies to reach architects and other design professionals across Texas. Carolyn decided last year to retire and spend more time with her husband. Carolyn’s knowledge of the business side of the design and construction industry is encyclopedic, but the staff will also miss her for her tips on significant architectural projects currently in development. Carolyn is truly one-of-a-kind, and the staff continues to value her for her breadth of knowledge and her enthusiasm for the architectural profession. Chellie Thompson, too, has lots of experience with the design and construction industry. For the past five years she has managed sales of booth space for the TSA annual convention, along with several other important responsibilities as an full-time employee of the Texas Society of Architects. Her colleagues at TSA know her to be extremely capable and always willing to help make any task a successful endeavor. She now transitions to working for TSA as an independent contractor, and the TA staff is very pleased to have her as part of the team. 1 / 2 2 0 0 8 n o t e drawing by max levy, faia TA Staff Changes Child’s Play Drawing by hand renders the intangibles of architecture by Stephen Sharpe The best architects practicing today are essentially grown-up children, says Max Levy, FAIA, without a hint of disparagement. Drawing by hand releases a child-like sense of wonder, he explains. Unfortunately, by the time they reach adulthood, most designers have forgotten that feeling of creative release. To Levy, that’s a significant loss to the practice of architecture because rendering ideas by hand “draws out of you possibilities that you didn’t realize you had in your mind.” He adds, “Children draw to explain reality to themselves. That process should never end. The fact is almost all of the better designers draw by hand [and] the reason their work excels is that they are able to operate along the borderline of being and dreaming.” Architectural education no longer demands the rigorous training of drawing by hand that once was so critical to the skill set of young designers entering the profession. The scapegoat, of course, is the computer, which typically is accused of replacing the pencil as the tool of choice for expressing ideas and exploring possibilities. That accusation, however, is a simplistic response to the shift that has taken place over recent decades. But drawings are not inherently better when rendered by hand. They can confuse and distort because the pencil’s operator has failed to capture the appropriate information. In particular, construction documents require drawings that visually explain how the parts of a building go together. And more critical to the profession than the demise of hand drawing is the omission by many schools of training in construction documents. “The emphasis is on design,” says Dan Espinoza, AIA, who came out of retirement two years ago to oversee construction administration for Halff Associates in Dallas. The result is, he says, “hardly any schools are teaching any kind of construction documents for that reason. That presents a problem for offices.” While the computer can produce very accurate documents, he recommends taking opportunities to draw by hand in the field because it helps one understand the intricacies of a building’s assembly. Observing and drawing an object in situ undoubtedly intensifies one’s focus on the tangible components of a building, but Max Levy stresses the importance of the transfer of information between the mind and the hand that produces something less concrete and more wonderful. “It’s the intangibles that really makes the architecture that stirs us deeply,” says Levy. “Drawing opens a door to your own intuition. Drawing gets you beyond the facts.” t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 5