Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2008: Design Awards
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.
Nasher Center Anniversary The Nasher Sculpture Center of Dallas presents “The Story of the Nasher Collection: A Tribute to Raymond and Patsy Nasher,” the 2008 fall exhibition commemorating the center’s fifth anniversary. Opens SEPT 20 East Texas Historical Association Fall Meeting The East Texas Historical Association Fall Conference will take place at the Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches this September. Register online at www.easttexashistorical.org. SEPT 25-27 Texas Treasure Award The Texas Historical Commission and Texas’ First Lady Anita Perry have collaborated to honor Texas communities that display an authentic “sense of place” through preservation of culture and architecture. Nomination applications are available at www. thc.state.tx.us. Nominations due OCT 1 RDA Announces Fall Lecture Series The Rice Design Alliance will present a four-part lecture series on the increasing creative importance of building engineers in architectural projects and design. Lectures will take place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. For more information, visit www.rda.rice.edu. Through OCT 1 APA Texas 2008 Conference The Texas chapter of the American Planning Association will hold its annual conference and awards ceremony in Galveston. For more information, visit www.txplanning.org. OCT 1-4 Architecture Lecture Series at Umlauf Austin’s Umlauf Sculpture Gardens present the Michael Hsu Design Office as the keynote speaker of October’s session of the Architecture Lecture Series. For more details, visit www.umlaufsculpture. org. OCT 2 TAMU Hosts ‘Lessons from Rome’ Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture presents the “Lessons from Rome” exhibition. The exhibit will be showcased in the Langford A Gallery. For more information, visit www.archone.tamu.edu. Opens OCT 20 TSA Convention & Expo 26 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t f o r t w o r t h In an about-face that came as a surprise to many, officials of Tarrant County College (TCC) have abandoned plans to build a new and eagerly anticipated downtown campus on both sides of the Trinity River. Instead, TCC announced on June 25 that it had purchased the recently completed downtown headquarters of Radio Shack for a retrofit. The additional news that one of the city’s proudest corporate citizens has been reduced to renting leftover space from the community college was in itself an unexpected and demoralizing development. However, the decision by TCC, after years of steadfast support for the new campus project, was truly shocking. Few architects have failed to be inspired by Daniel Burnham’s famous remark to “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood...” And when the design for the downtown Fort Worth campus of TCC was unveiled by Bing Thom (of Bing Thom Architects in Vancouver, B.C., in association with Gideon Toal of Fort Worth), the blood of the local residents was stirred indeed. The sweeping plan moved beyond the basic program of the college by incorporating an urban design strategy intended to alter the relationship between the city center and the Trinity River. The campus actually spanned the waterway, with the central spine envisioned as a public space leading to the water and connecting to other future improvements. That TCC’s ambitious plan elicited more gasps of amazement than howls of protest was a testament to the unprecedented scope of the undertaking, the sound “pay as you go” financing, and the compelling architecture of the campus itself. True, voices were soon heard questioning the idea of building on the bluff in the shadow of Texas’ grandest county courthouse; others felt that the entire concept was far too hubristic for the fundamental educational mission of TCC. And it was long after the plan was in the public domain that influential philanthropist Ed Bass led an unsuccessful effort to change a key component of the design, the “sunken plaza” gateway to the campus and the river. But “on time and budget” is a powerful response to critics of public projects, especially projects that were so well promoted by TCC’s chancellor and the elected board of trustees. So what happened? One could reasonably argue that the project was another victim of Hurricane Katrina, since the scheme relied on a bridge and a major building constructed over the existing levee (in anticipation of its later removal). While the Army Corps of Engineers was involved in the project from the inception, the post-Katrina approval process soon stretched from months to years. The anticipated start of construction on the northern portion was soon far behind schedule and the budget continued to grow as building material costs continued to increase. Finally, the project became an issue in the election of TCC board members, with one outspoken critic winning a seat. Through it all, Thom remained positive and resolute in defense of the campus design and its growing budget, casting the scheme as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the college and the city. But with the final cost and occupancy dates still uncertain, TCC trustees opted to cut their losses and acquire the Radio Shack headquarters. G r e g o r y I b a ñ e z , 9 / 1 0 A I A 2 0 0 8 Photo Courtesy HKS, Inc. TSA hosts its 69th Annual Convention and Design Products & Ideas Expo in Fort Worth. Information on CE sessions, exhibitors, and online registration is available at www.texasarchitect.org/convention. OCT 23-25 Planned TCC Campus a Bridge Too Far