Texas Architect July/Aug 2008: Regional Response
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 7/8 2008 52 The receNTly coMPleTed firsT Phase of the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) for the Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department is dedicated to the creation, preserva- tion, presentation, and promotion of Mexican-American cultural arts and heritage. Envisioned as a resource both for the local community and visi- tors through education and community participation, the center focuses on fostering an understanding and appreciation of Hispanic culture, as well as ambitiously featuring indigenous cultures of Americas. The programs and educational curriculum at the MACC includes the visual arts, theater, dance, literature, music, multi-media, and the culinary arts. The MAMC was designed by the noted Mexican architect Teodoro González de León, recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 Gold Medal from the International Union of Architects, and is his only building in the United States. Yet this legendary figure in Mexican architecture, whose work is synonymous with monumental modernism, is not well known to most practitioners in the United States or even the American Southwest. Born in 1926, Teodoro González de León studied at the Escuela de Arquitectura at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México from 1942–47. A scholarship enabled him to live in Paris and apprentice in the studio of Le Corbusier from 1948–49 where he worked on the Unité d’ Habitation and the factory at St. Dié. He claimed that this experience “changed his life,” and much of his mature work has echoed Le Corbusier’s proclamation, “architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.” Returning to Mexico, he began his own professional practice, in which he has worked both independently and in collaboration with others. Over the past 40 years, González de León has developed a distinctive formal vocabulary characterized by a concern for abstraction, proportion, massive linearity, terracing, the reinterpretation of regional elements to control light (such as the arcade, shaded patio, and trellis), and the innovative and expressive possibilities of exposed long-span concrete construction. Many of his later works evolved into a highly sculptural language of large asymmetrical volumes of exposed concrete that are linked by a variety of long-span shading and enclosure devices. His work has been highly influential in the design of government and institutional buildings in Mexico since the mid-1960s. Following his breakthrough project of the Escuela de Derecho (1966) at the Universidad de Tamaulipas in Tampico, González de León began his collaboration with Abraham Zabludovsky. They designed dozens of project Mexican american cultural center, austin client city of austin architect casabella architects + del campo & Maru design team jaime beaman, aia; jaime Palomo, aia; Teodoro Gonzalez de leon; Martin del campo, aia; Mark knoerr, aia contractor solis constructors, inc. consultants jose i. Guerra, inc. (MeP and structural); Turner collie & braden, inc. (civil); stanley architects (sustainability); eleanor h. Mckinney landscape architect, inc. (landscape); archillume lighting design, inc. (lighting designer); charles M. salter associates, inc. (a/v and acoustical); Project cost resources (cost estimator) photographer Paul bardagjy cultural Monument by edward r. Burian