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B a c k P a g e Bullish on Materials by Malcolm Holzman, FAIA Photos by Tom Kessler Architecture for me is not about concealment but rather about divulging its very nature to the widest possible audience. Materials are not a mystery; they are an essential building ingredient, our heritage, and part of our everyday lives. For the uninitiated, architecture can be impenetrable, involving an unfamiliar history, unknown practices, and arcane technical expertise. However, there is no intellectual or psychological barrier to observing materials. They are accessible, in many cases providing the initial understanding to the architect’s intentions. A sheet metal product not originally produced for architectural application caught my eye as I traveled the highways of Texas, a state where it’s difficult to drive for an hour without seeing a cattle truck. It occurred to me, after many years of encountering these bovine conveyances, that their punched aluminum panels could serve an architectural purpose. In my firm’s Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts (2006) in Amarillo, cattle panels are the finished underside of the billowing roof structure that encloses the lobby and outdoor terrace. First-time visitors to this building usually do not see the panels for what they are, because they are out of their common context. It takes a long, second look before recognition occurs. When it does, there is acknowledgement of their familiarity and their regional significance. This provocative juxtaposition of materials adds drama and a sense of informality to the surroundings. Adapted from A Material Life (Images Publishing Group, 2009) by Malcolm Holzman, FAIA, a principal of Holzman Moss Architecture in New York. 88 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 1 1 / 1 2 2 0 0 9

Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2009: Industrial

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