Unity Plaza Station RTKL Associates Like the vestibules and livings rooms of a residence, a city’s plazas are spaces of civic and cultural significance that articulate the urban structure. Plazas are centers of collective activity, as well as connecting instruments of circulation. Unity Plaza Station is unique within the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system. Contrary to stations elsewhere along its lines, Unity Plaza is an underground station located beneath Central Expressway. Circulation follows a pattern similar to that of most subway stations—from train to platform, to stair/escalator/elevator, and finally to station portal at street level. A long, curving limestone-clad wall running north-south delineates the eastern edge of the site, mediating between the plaza and Central Expressway. The station opens itself to the plaza and the neighborhood beyond through a generous glazed wall. The intent is to “blur” the boundaries between station and plaza, and to make these two elements interdependent yet mutually supportive.
Design>Build>Texas UT Austin School of Architecture The architecture school recently initiated and completed Design>Build>Texas, a design/build studio for upper-level architecture students. This course was developed as an educational prototype as well as a prototype for the design and construction of an environmentally responsible house. This project offers a replicable process for architectural education, and also the physical model of a small house. Sixteen students spent the Spring 2004 semester engaged in research that included studies of history, site, climate, land-use, architectural precedents, as well as building technologies. The severely degraded Texas Hill Country ranchland, on which the house project is located, is currently undergoing extensive environmental remediation. Design>Build>Texas integrated the conservation priorities into the site and building design through its attention to materials, systems, and limited landscape development.Constucted over three semesters, the project was completed in early 2005.
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