AIA LRGV Studio Awards 1 The University of Texas–Pan American College of
by TA Staff
Two awards were presented by AIA Lower Rio Grande Valley in the chapter’s 2011 Studio Awards program. Carolina Civarolo, AIA, of Boultinghouse Simpson Architects in McAllen, received the Spark Award for Digital Media for the proposed renovation and expansion of the University of Texas–Pan American’s College of Business Administration in Edinburg. Ortiz Architecture & Environment in Weslaco was recognized with a Design Award for an Unbuilt Project for its Weslaco Family Care Center & Occupational Medicine Clinic. The jury was composed of architects whose buildings were previously recognized with 2011 Design Awards from the chapter. Jurors represented ERO International in McAllen, Frank Architects in Laredo, Megamorphosis Architecture and Interior Design in Harlingen, and Negrete & Kolar Architects in Edinburg.
16 Texas Architect
2 Weslaco Family Care Center & Occupational
Business Administration Expansion
Carolina Civarolo, AIA, of Boultinghouse Simpson
Ortiz Architecture & Environment
The concept for Weslaco Family Care Center & Occupational Medicine Clinic grew out of the client’s need for more space than the 8,000 square feet currently occupied. Juan Carlos Ortiz Jr., AIA, the principal of Ortiz Architecture & Environment proposed a new 20,000-sf facility with overlapping circulation paths dedicated to each of three primary services—family medicine, occupational/ physical therapy and chiropractic, and a medical spa/aesthetics clinic. The overlapping paths allowed the programmatic functions to co-exist effectively. The project, expected to be built this spring, incorporates rainwater collection and provisions for future harnessing of wind and solar energy. The site is an undeveloped 3.5 acres where similar healthcare or wellness services may be developed. Pre-engineered structural framing will be used for the clinical portion of the program and will be offset by traditional steel framing for the administration and medical spa functions of the program. Separate entries will segregate patients based on the services they seek at the clinic, with 75 to 125 patients expected each day. The clinical side of the building will be wrapped in split-faced or burnished CMU. Canopies will provide deep shade along the west elevation. Above-ground cisterns will collect rainwater for on-site irrigation.
The client asked Boultinghouse Simpson Architects to develop a building concept in order to seek funding for the project. The proposal consisted of renovating the existing 49,000-sf facility, built in 1977, and the design of a 75,000-sf multi-story expansion with classrooms, areas for graduate studies and student organizations, and offices for faculty and administration. The project’s cost was estimated at $46 million. Civarolo took into account the strong influence of Louis I. Kahn on UT-Pan Am’s architecture and the uniformity of its material palette, including a standard color brick and brightly colored tile accents strewn about the campus. While maintaining the spirit of the campus vernacular, she sought to create a more progressive architecture that incorporates the use of glass for natural light. Site constraints – including a major utility corridor running between the existing building and the proposed expansion – allowed for the creation of a courtyard between the two buildings, which responded to the client’s specific request for space where students could interact and a location for formal gatherings. Additionally, the site is constrained by an access road on the north and east sides and existing buildings on the west and south. To accommodate the program requirements, the design team massed the building into four stories and linked the old and the new buildings with two “bridges” at the second-floor level. The building also serves as a gateway to the campus, which led the architect to design its large glass facade along the north side to function as a visual canvas for the College of Business to promote its identity and ideas.