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Interstate 35 Makeover Ever since 1962, when construction was completed on Interstate 35 through downtown Austin, the elevated highway effectively bisected the city between a prosperous west and a neglected east. Commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance to devise a solution to that perceived division, local firm Cotera + Reed Architects has imagined a permanent installation for a two-block section between Sixth and Eighth streets. Comprising 18 curved and tapered galvanized steel poles affixed to existing infrastructure, the project is intended to improve both the freeway’s external appearance and the streetscape underneath. Lights positioned strategically on the underside of each pole will establish a more inviting nighttime atmosphere for pedestrians. The architects describe the effect as analogous to vapor trails and drops of water on a string, creating a visual manifestation of the need to overcome existing divides and connect the opposing factions of the city. Construction is set to start early next year.

LCU Modular Housing SLS Partnership in Lubbock has designed an innovative and economical solution for creating a campus housing community that also may be the largest renovation project in North America using recycled shipping containers. The proposed plans call for gutting and renovating the interior of the Rhodes Perrin Field House, a WWII-era landmark on the Lubbock Christian University campus, then inserting steel containers – known as an ISBU (intermodal steel building unit) when used in construction – along the east and west side of the existing structure. Housing modules yielding four single-occupancy rooms will be constructed from three 8x40-foot containers connected lengthwise. The result will be 224 square feet of living space per room, including a private bathroom and closet. Preparatory work on the 72,000-square-foot Field House began in May. The existing roof was torn off and replaced with an energy-efficient foam roof fitted with 160 skylights. The project is scheduled for completion next autumn.

Sicardi Gallery The new 5,200-sq. ft. Sicardi Gallery, near the Menil Collection and the Houston Center for Photography, will house a second venue to fulfill its mission to facilitate a cultural dialogue between Latin America, the U.S., and Europe through art. As conceived by Brave Architecture in Houston, three interconnected display spaces can be configured to function independently or in combination to accommodate larger shows. The general concept for the building is to provide interior spaces that serve as backdrop for the art installations without interfering or competing with the works displayed. The exterior form, clad in masonry and zinc panels, expresses the building’s internal functions through the folding of materials and inside-out planes. Interior finishes will include smooth, white-painted drywall, concrete and wood floors, drywall ceilings, and stained wood doors. Controlled natural light will enter the building indirectly to illuminate many of the gallery spaces. Construction is anticipated to start late this year.


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Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2008: High-Preformance Design  
Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2008: High-Preformance Design  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...