Texas Architect May/June 2012: Urban Design
This “Urban Design” edition’s four features do not deal with urban design as typified by comprehensive plans for large swaths of urban environment. Rather, they represent four works of architecture that, by virtue of where they are, play important roles in a broader urban context.
Texas Architect 5 5/6 2012 Editor’s Note F irst things first. Regular readers of this magazine will notice that the name attached to this column is not the same as the one appearing here for almost 12 years now. Indeed, the tenure of Stephen Sharpe as editor of Texas Archi- tect has come to an end — as even good things must do. But it is abundantly clear that his legacy will endure. No single individual deserves more credit than Stephen for the publication’s ascen- dency to its current stature as an illuminating record of architecture in Texas, and a compel- ling voice for the architectural profession. As I assume the role of guest editor during the search for Stephen’s replacement, I not only wish him well, but I thank him for his help in conceiving the content of this May/June edition on urban design. And I encourage readers to note his farewell remarks in “The Big Idea” on the following spread. Meanwhile, it seems right to observe that the “Urban Design” label for this issue may imply a certain focus, a type of content, that — for the most part — is neither intended nor included here. Our primary features do not deal with urban design per se, as typified by comprehen- sive plans for large swaths of urban environment. Rather, we discuss the design of four different works of architecture that, by virtue of where they are, play important roles in a broader urban context. Fort Worth campus as gateway to downtown. Houston high-rise as CBD catalyst. Large Dallas hotel as civic anchor. And boutique Austin hotel as contextual gem. Design and Full Circles Observations from a former Texas Architect editor who is back for a while as a guest by Larry Paul Fuller All these projects make for interesting discus- sion in conventional architectural terms that capture how a building looks — its image. But they also underscore the potential for a richer design dialogue that goes beyond image. Ideally such discussion would be based on the premise that design properly considers a wider range of issues — such as the impact of buildings on their communities and their users; effectiveness in meeting client goals; sustainability and energy efficiency; and the sheer appropriateness of a building’s visual character. It is this richer form of design dialogue that the magazine aspires to embody more completely in future editions. On a personal note , it was March of 1985 when — after a 12-year stint as editor of Texas Architect — my name last appeared on this editor’s page. Even as I bade farewell to pursue other paths, I believed that elevating architecture to a more prominent level of public discussion was a worthy ambition. And after all those years, I still do. It is this richer form of design dialogue that the magazine aspires to embody more completely in future editions. Larry Paul Fuller cradles a copy of the issue that marked his farewell as a 12-year editor of Texas Architect in 1985. His current engagement as guest editor of the magazine brings him back, not only to the present-day home of his first employer, but to the recent headquar- ters of fd2s inc. — the en- vironmental graphic design firm in which he remains a founding principal. P H OTO B Y J U L I E P I Z ZO