superintendent was concerned about leaves from the wooded site falling on the exposed concrete. Appel recalled: “Val turned to me with a gleam in her eye and sketch paper in hand, and a few weeks later we were pounding around 200 custom-cut aluminum leaves into the slab as the concrete began to cure. Her knowledge, professionalism and talent, combined with her funloving nature, made the Unitarian Fellowship a great first collaboration for me, not to mention the beginning of a lifelong friendship.” In 2001, Glitsch began her work with New Hope Housing, and has since designed over 500 affordable housing units. She interprets the single-room occupancy typology in generous and innovative ways, designing communities where individual rooms and gathering spaces have the same level of detail as a custom home. Those
“Val [has] this uncanny ability to hit a problem running, solving it quickly and skillfully.”
opment of Distinction. These projects employ energy-saving strategies but are also sustainable in other significant ways, offering stability and economic security to their inhabitants. In 1995, Glitsch was elevated to the College of Fellows; she was, and still is, the youngest woman in Texas to receive that distinction. She has mentored younger architects who have worked with her in practice. Karen Lantz, AIA, said: “She encouraged me to consider all trades while solving design problems, which has been the cornerstone of my practice. She creates the most beautifully detailed drawing sets and understands how to build.” Glitsch has taught at Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University, and in many ways, the teacher remains a student. Throughout her career, she has sought out art classes that encouraged boundless creativity, and her art pieces are personal narratives that take the form of houses, bodies, books, and boxes.
Elizabeth Chu Ritcher, FAIA, 2014 First Vice President/2015 President of the AIA by Lauraine Miller, Hon. TxA
Glitsch has been visiting the 17 Texas AIA Chapters over the past few months and sharing the importance of the larger network of Texas Architects to her own small practice: “Leave your desk, your own small world, and go talk to your friends about architecture.” And, as she has done in her own work, at every scale and at every level of professional engagement, she will bring her considerable talents to the Texas Society of Architects in 2014. As president-elect,
rooms open to garden areas with ample seating, lush native landscaping, and shaded walkways and are infused with Glitsch’s astute sense of color: At her Perry Street project, a muted moss tone is punctuated by apple green, and at the Sakowitz Street project, she pairs orange masonry with a calm blue siding. Sakowitz was the first affordable housing project in Texas to receive Platinum certification in the LEED for Homes program; the same recognition followed for Perry, and Glitsch’s earlier Canal Street project (AIA Houston Honor Award, 2009) was a finalist for the Urban Land Institute’s Devel-
Nonya Grenader, FAIA, is a Houston-based architect and professor at Rice University.
Val Glitsch, FAIA, elevated to Fellowship in 1995, is the youngest woman in Texas ever to receive that honor. She has completed over 80 houses including the McPike House in Houston (left). Her piece “Hazards of Home” (far left) was on exhibit in Houston in 2006, and her Perry Street project (top) is one of her latest designs.
When Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, closes her eyes, she sees the light, colors, and textures of the parks, harbor promenade, urban plazas, and open-air markets that shaped her childhood in Asia. “In Hong Kong, everyone has to share space,” said Chu Richter. “Public spaces are the landmarks of people’s lives. They are where communities socialize and where memories are built.” Chu Richter immigrated to Dallas at the age of 13, but she credits the vibrant urban spaces of her early years as the inspiration for her many civic projects in Texas. The diverse portfolio of the firm she shares with her husband, David Richter, FAIA, includes roadside rest areas and travel information centers; coastal research and conference facilities; public schools; museums; and U.S. ports of entry, to name only a few. Chu Richter is CEO of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi, and she is the 2014 first vice president/2015 president of the American Institute of Architects. From 1998 to 2011, she also was the creator and co-executive producer of “The Shape of Texas.” The public radio series is now an archive of more than 500 two-minute episodes that promote the importance and impact of architecture throughout the state. “The show talks about gems within communities that citizens help bring about,” said Chu Richter. “We shared the stories with listeners so
Texas Architect 15
Published on Nov 1, 2013
This issue explores the value of architectural diversity and creative responses to context. The discussion begins with a series on the three...