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...a beautiful breath of fresh air in the industrial park -joy

p r o j e c t ImageNet,

Houston

c l i e n t ImageNet

Office Systems

a r c h i t e c t Elliott

+ Associates Architects

d e s i g n t e a m Rand

Elliott, FAIA; Michael Shuck, Assoc. AIA; Brian Fitzsimmons, AIA

c o n t r a c t o r Mission c o n s u l t a n t s  Cobb,

Constructors

Fendley & Associates (civil); Haynes Whaley Associates (structural); E/B/E (MEP);

Wong & Associates (landscape) p h o t o g r a p h e r Scott

McDonald, Hedrich Blessing

…A building as a book…with pages and memorable thoughts. Words of History or independence or conviction or new ideas formed in concrete…

Illustration by Bryce Weigand

T

his word painting by Rand Elliott, FAIA, explains how he wants people to understand his latest award-winning project, ImageNet of Houston. Employing poetry or manifestoes to describe one’s work is not uncommon these days. Indeed, such material appears to be a prerequisite of the current media culture that promotes “starchitects,” “signature architects,” and one-hit wonders. Supportive text is, we are led to believe, required reading. If a building appears mundane, baffling, or otherwise underwhelming, just refer to the narrative. Within the architect’s words, we are told, lies the true meaning which will assure in our prosaic times that, yes, this is Architecture. Fortunately, Elliott’s body of work speaks for itself. More than a theoretical back-story for the project, his poem serves as a kind of user’s manual for understanding the building. Colin Rowe, in his essay “Ideas, Talent, Poetics: A Problem of Manifesto,” asserted a simple calculus that can be roughly paraphrased as: Do ideas without mediation of talent or craft automatically result in poetics? He explored this formulation by arguing that Richard Meier is an architect dependent upon talent and Eisenman is a manipulator of ideas, while Kahn achieved a synthesis of both in his “poetics.” To summarize Rowe’s rationale, poetics constitutes that sense of presence we recognize collectively as architecture, without mediation. In that sense, poetics emanates from Elliott’s corpus in general and from his ImageNet Houston in particular. Poetics is the key to penetrating the ineffable quality he achieves so consistently in his buildings, an experiential alchemy that can only be perceived firsthand. Sequestered in an otherwise ubiquitous office park in west Houston, ImageNet commands a presence that transcends its private purpose.

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Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2009: Design Awards  
Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2009: Design Awards  

This issue features the 12 projects awarded with the Texas Society of Architects' 2009 Design Awards. Texas Architect, the official publicat...