Platform The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Architects and Engineers â€˘ Fall 2006
Architects and Engineers by Ulrich Dangel
Above: Ulrich Dangel. Photograph by Tamie Glass. Right: Interior of Gallery of Machines, World Exposition, Paris, 1889. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Cover: Audi exhibition stand at IAA, Frankfurt, Germany, 1999. Ingenhoven Architekten in collaboration with Werner Sobek Ingenieure. Photograph © H.G. Esch, Hennef, Germany.
For centuries, the master builder had been in charge of the design and construction of buildings. Renowned personalities like Raphael or Bernini were trained in several disciplines and combined the roles of architect, engineer, and artist into one. Individual professions in the building trade were not clearly defined. With the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century, the latest achievements in technology made it possible for the first time to determine the strength of building materials and to accurately size and efficiently manufacture structural members. The increasing complexity of the construction process led to a sudden separation between the builders who had knowledge of structural theories and concepts and the ones who did not. As a result, the traditional role of the master builder was divided, and two new professions were born— architecture and engineering. While very different in their educational background and methods, both professions continue to share the mutual task of planning buildings and are
equally responsible for ensuring the ideal outcome of a project. The traditional notion that the architect is solely in charge of the design and detailing of a building, while the engineer merely takes responsibility for structural concerns can still be found today. However, the engineer is increasingly asked to be actively involved in the creative design process and is required to play a crucial role alongside the architect within the design team. At the same time, the architect is challenged to be more familiar with the latest technological and structural developments while pushing the boundaries with visionary concepts and innovative solutions.
As an architecture student in Germany, I was trained in a program with a strong emphasis not only on design, but also technology and construction. Renowned engineers like Werner Sobek and Jörg Schlaich were among the faculty and were very influential in the formative years of my education. I went on to work for architectural practices Foster and Grimshaw that are known for seamlessly integrating architecture and engineering, and where true collaboration results in buildings that are not just functional and efficient, but also well-crafted and beautiful. Throughout my education and career, I have been intrigued by the dynamics of the relationship
Ulrich Dangel is an assistant professor at the UT-Austin School of Architecture. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in design, construction, architectural detailing, and structural design. Professor Dangel’s research focuses on the consideration and integration of structure and envelope early in the design process, with an emphasis on developing design solutions for building skins as components of sustainable, low-energy concepts. He is the recipient of the 2005-2006 School of Architecture teaching award for outstanding studio teacher. Professor Dangel received a Diploma in Architecture from Universität Stuttgart in Germany and a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon. His professional career led him to London where he worked for internationally renowned architecture firms Foster and Partners and Grimshaw. He is a registered architect in Germany and the UK and is co-founder of CRE8WORKS, an emerging design firm in Austin, Texas.
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between the two professions, and I have followed this recent development very closely. As the guest editor, I have dedicated this Platform issue to the theme Architects and Engineers, and I am interested in the question, “How do both professions see their roles today, and how might they develop in the future?” In search of an answer, I have asked educators and practitioners— engineers and architects—to get involved and contribute their thoughts and expertise. Ranging from Shahin Vassigh’s examination of Frank Lloyd Wright’s relationship with his engineer Jaroslav Polivka to Richard Klingner’s article on the current legal situation of architects and engineers in Texas, this issue will attempt to look at the dynamics of this relationship, investigate how both professions can collaborate even more successfully, and explore how together we might be able to discover new opportunities in the future. I hope you will find this discussion enjoyable and stimulating.
Platform Published by the School of Architecture The University of Texas at Austin Architects and Engineers • Fall 2006 Managing Editor: Pamela Peters Guest Editor: Ulrich Dangel Architects and Engineers by Ulrich Dangel
Technology and Green Urbanism by Frederick R. Steiner
UTSOA Participates in the 10th Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale
Bridging the Gap: Reclaiming Structural Thinking in the Design Process of Architects by Juan Miró
A Meeting of the Minds: Collaboration of Frank Lloyd Wright & Jaroslav Polivka by Shahin Vassigh
Case Study in Collaborative Design between Architects and Engineers by Jim Dodson and Stephen Melville
Architects and Engineers: A History in a Blink by Vladimir Kulic
The Wall and the Handover of the Plans by Architects and Engineers by Anne Nichols
What Does It Mean to “Design a Building?” by Richard E. Klingner
Integrated Planning: an Interview with Werner Sobek
The Dissolution of Architectural Boundaries in America by Vincent Snyder
Pushing the Envelope: Atelier One
Katrina Furniture Project: Community Design for Recovery
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Joins UT-Austin
Friends of Architecture
UTSOA Advisory Council: Letter from the Chair
UTsolarD 2007: A House Designed by the Sun
The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture 1 University Station B7500 Austin, TX 78712-0222 512-471-1922 www.soa.utexas.edu To our Readers: We welcome any ideas, questions, or comments. Feel free to share your thoughts with Editor Pamela Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org. Platform • 3
Technology and Green Urbanism
includes both environmentally friendly technology and social equity. One of the best examples is TeamHaas Architect’s J. J. Pickle Elementary School/St. John Community Center, which opened in 2001 in East Austin.
by Frederick R. Steiner, Dean
Right: UT-Austin School of Architecture Dean Frederick R. Steiner. Photograph by Kenny Braun. Opposite page: In response to the urbanization of our planet, the 10th Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale is devoted to the prospect of improving the urban condition. Our School’s Biennale exhibit, led by Nichole Wiedemann and Jason Sowell (with a talented team of students), suggests prospects for the future of the Gulf Coast. These proposals emphasize technological landscape interventions, such as redirecting the Mississippi River and rebuilding wetlands. Together, environmental technologies in buildings and in landscapes can help produce a Green Urbanism essential to our future prosperity.
We use technology to improve our surroundings. Throughout the previous century, various technologies—indoor plumbing, refrigeration, central heating, air conditioning—separated buildings from their surroundings and resulted in unintended social and environmental consequences. As we attempt to employ technology to control our world—to make rooms warmer or cooler, to keep our food edible longer—we can become disconnected from that world. Technology includes both material objects, like machines, and the ever-expanding body of knowledge that shapes our surroundings. A key challenge faced by those of us engaged in shaping the built environment is how to advance knowledge about material objects that reconnect us to nature so that they don’t pollute, are efficient, and contribute to our happiness. The design of our built environment matters to us all. Our neighborhoods and work places affect our health, our welfare, and our happiness. How we design buildings, roads and rails, parks, and water and sewer systems determines energy use and greenhouse gas production. In fact, buildings account for nearly 50% of total energy consumption and produce approximately 46% of the greenhouse gases in the United States. With growing urban populations in Texas, across the nation, and around the world, we will need more roads and parks, homes and offices, and schools and rail lines. We will need to create all these things, even as oil and gas resources become scarcer. We will
need to recreate the built environment while ensuring we can feed ourselves, drink clean water, and breathe safe air. We will also need to find ways to dispose of our waste without fouling our nests. This will challenge our resolve and tap all our creative reserves. The future is in our hands. Architecture matters for that future, as does landscape architecture, community and regional planning, interior design, and historic preservation—all disciplines we offer in our School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. The city of Austin provides an ideal incubator for our disciplines; in return, we strive to improve the quality of the city’s built environment. Through programs such as Austin’s Green Builder and Envision Central Texas, as well as institutions such as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Charles Moore Center for the Study of Place, and our School’s Center for Sustainable Development, Austin is on the
forefront of sustainable design and planning. The city sports increasingly important, contemporary civic architecture such as Austin’s City Hall, Trustee Hall on the St. Edward’s campus, and the Austin-Bergstrom Airport. Austin boasts impressive historic structures like the State Capitol and the Main Building on the university campus, and it offers significant green open spaces such as Zilker Park and the Balcones Canyonland Preserve and National Wildlife Refuge. And the city is offering more and more engaging urban places, such as the new plaza at the Blanton Museum of Art. Austin is a living laboratory for architecture, design creativity, and technological innovation. As participants in the architectural and planning civic dialogue, we contribute to that laboratory, as well. UT-Austin School of Architecture faculty and alumni are responsible for numerous buildings and public spaces around Austin. Many are beautiful, and they are increasingly promoting sustainability, which
August 30, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. A patchwork of roofs pushed through the floodwaters east of downtown, one day after Hurricane Katrina’s march through the Crescent City. Floodwaters left the city a horrific mix of struggling humanity and swamped infrastructure. Photograph by Smiley N. Pool, The Dallas Morning News.
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The combination school and neighborhood center required both considerable inter-governmental cooperation and active community engagement in the planning and design process. The J. J. Pickle Elementary School/St. John Community Center received a grant from the State Energy Conservation Office to encourage sustainable design. The school makes generous use of natural daylight, as schools did before air conditioning and central heating sealed us off from the outdoors. The project includes rainwater harvesting and employs natural and native materials. The school district and the city of Austin expect overall energy costs will be reduced by 25 percent compared to typical projects, which will result in a $4.5 million savings to the taxpayers over a 25year period. Perhaps most significantly, school children, teachers, and local residents enjoy visiting a beautiful facility to learn, to recreate, and to congregate. As architects and engineers improve building technologies, we should remain mindful of the need to advance city and region scale technologies. A century ago, fewer than one in ten people in the world lived in urban areas. Now, at the beginning of this new century, city dwellers outnumber the rural population. The proportion of us living in urban regions is expected to continue to increase. As a result, we need to expand our technological knowledge to shape greener, more sustainable, metropolitan regions.
UTSOA PARTICIPATES IN... 10th Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale The School of Architecture was one of twelve research institutions worldwide invited to exhibit in the Italian Pavilion of the 10th Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the premier international design exhibition in the world, which ran September 10 to November 19, 2006. For the first time ever, this year’s Biennale, titled “Cities, Architecture and Society,” focused on key issues facing large-scale metropolitan areas around the world and on the role of architects and architecture in the construction of democratic and sustainable urban communities. Concerns such as migration, mobility, social integration, and sustainable growth were addressed at the exhibition. The School of Architecture’s exhibit, “Resilient Foundations: The Gulf Coast after Katrina,” presented and explored a range of proposals circulating on post-Katrina reconstruction plans. With numerous insightful strategies to solve the region’s problems largely out of the public eye, the exhibit served to educate people on possible solutions to the issues being faced and to examine the efforts being made by the city and region. The large-scale exhibit (which filled a 75-by-30-foot room in the Italian Pavilion of the Giradini de Castello) incorporated strategies from a variety of organizations and institutions, including submissions from four architectural and planning firms and from 13 universities across the United States, including Columbia, Harvard, Tulane, Princeton, Penn, and Southern California. A team of faculty and students from The University of Texas at Austin contributed its own design proposal for the region and, in particular, New Orleans.
Above: Members of The University of Texas School of Architecture’s Venice Biennale project. From left to right: Jason Sowell, Frederick Steiner, Clayton Fry, Nichole Wiedemann, Emily Scarfe, Edward Kopelson, Lynn Petermann. Photograph by Christina Murrey, UTAustin Office of Public Affairs.
In the process of constructing the exhibit, the School of Architecture collected the best available information about natural hazards in the region, important resource production areas, ecologically significant lands, and valuable cultural resources to suggest the best possible future scenarios for the Gulf Coast. The exhibit integrated expertise from geologists, landscape ecologists, transportation planners, urban designers, architects, landscape architects, water resources specialists, demographers, and regional planners. It provided a close examination of the area at three scales—the building, the city, and the region—during the past, the present (Katrina and aftermath), and the future. The display was divided into four separate areas—Foundations, Propositions, Adaptations, and Projections. The Foundations area focused on the historical development of the city of New Orleans and the surrounding communities. The Propositions segment was composed primarily of the rebuilding proposals that the University team gathered. The Adaptations portion examined architectural alternatives that might better suit the needs of the community. And, finally, the Projections section focused on the proposal submitted by the UT-Austin team. —Amy Maverick Crossette
We would like to thank generous alumni Mike McCall [M.Arch. ‘80] of McCall Design Group and Fred Clarke [B.Arch. ‘70] of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, as well as Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, Arthur Andersson of Andersson Wise Architects, and the University Co-operative Society for their support of this important educational mission. We are additionally grateful to Mike for his leadership with this fundraising effort. For more information on how you can support “Resilient Foundations: The Gulf Coast after Katrina,” please contact either Mike McCall at email@example.com or Annie Laurie Sánchez at 512-4711922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographs at right of the Biennale Exhibition by Wilfried Wang.
Plan above: This map considers institutional viability in relation to post-Katrina demographic shifts. Above right: These diagrams propose infrastructural changes to both commercial and residential zones based on the expansion of the existing canal system. Infrastructure easements and rights of way along the network are appropriated in order to increase the canal’s width. This effectively slows down storm water events and provides greater area for water storage. Housing previously adjacent to flood walls is relocated to higher ground constructed from fill generated by the canal’s expansion. Images produced by UT-Austin Biennale Exhibition Team: Jason Sowell, Nichole Wiedemann (faculty), Rachel Brown, Clayton Fry, Frank Jacobus, Brett Koenig, Edward Kopelson, Jimmy Luu, Lindsey Moyer, Lynn Petermann, Agustina Rodriguez, Emily Scarfe, Andrèa Schelly, Lee Ulmer, Aimee Weber, and Kristine Stiphany Weimer (students). Additional faculty contributing to the overall exhibit design include Wilfried Wang, Barbara Hoidn, Larry Doll, Kevin Alter, and Frederick Steiner. Platform • 5
Bridging the Gap: Reclaiming Structural Thinking in the Design Process of Architects by Juan Miró The professions of architect and engineer as we know them today are relatively new. For thousands of years, the design and construction of buildings was the charge of “Master Builders,” a sort of combination of the modern figures of Architect and Engineer. Master Builders’ responsibilities included: • a good understanding of why a particular building needed to be built and what kind of function, desire, or impetus was behind it; • the technical expertise to decide how to build the building—what materials were best suited, what was the most appropriate foundation system, the best structural system, and best way to make the building comfortable; and, • a third area of responsibility fell upon the master builder when the users of the buildings expected them to be beautiful, pleasant to be in, inspiring. In other words, the master builder was also responsible for what the building was like, its esthetic value.
Nowadays, the modern figure of the architect must still embrace these responsibilities of the master builder—architects must deliver functional buildings and select materials, finishes, and so forth. With more or less input from their clients, architects still are in charge of “what the building looks like.” However, the technical expertise of how the building has to be built is shared now with another profession, the “engineer.” Although the architect still plays the role of the coordinator, some critical areas of the project such as the structural system and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems are considered the responsibility of the engineers. The increased dependence on the structural engineer to design a building has made architects less adept at thinking about the structure, often perceiving the design of the structural system as a necessity, rather than an opportunity. In some cases, it has disappeared from the architectural design process altogether, becoming an afterthought, something that the engineer will find a way to fit in. Accordingly, engineers have become accustomed to follow the lead of the architect, trying not to “interfere” with the architecture. This leaves the potential of the structural system basically in no man’s land, with architects not thinking enough about it and engineers trying to accommodate to what they are given.
Juan Miró was born in Barcelona and obtained his professional degree at the Escuela de Arquitectura of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. In 1989, he earned a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a post-professional master’s degree at Yale University. He has been a licensed architect in Spain since 1988 and is a registered architect in the states of Texas and New York. Miró has taught design, construction, and Mexican architecture at the UT-Austin School of Architecture since 1997. Professor Miró is a founding partner of Miró Rivera Architects, recipient of the AIA-Austin 2006 Firm Achievement Award. The work of his firm has won numerous awards, including twelve AIA design awards at the local, state, and national levels and has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally. Pl at f orm • 6
This situation is a direct consequence of the training of both architects and engineers. Particularly in the United States, I believe architects are not trained well enough in understanding structures or in thinking structurally—not necessarily in the mathematical calculations, but in understanding how they work and their potential. On the other hand, in the education of structural engineers, efficiency and economy are paramount, and there is little or no discussion on beauty, esthetic values, or the critical role of structural innovation in the history of architecture.
I can trace my interest in the potential of structures in the work we do at my firm, Miró Rivera Architects, to my training as an architect in Spain, the influence of my father, architect Antonio Miró, and to having had the privilege of working with two of the most emblematic architectengineers of the past and present, Félix Candela and Santiago Calatrava. The work of these two Spanish architects is a perfect example of total integration of architecture and engineering; but, as the gulf between architects and engineers increases, it also stands out as an anomaly. The formal innovation of their work has clearly appealed to the general public, as well as architects. However, in reaction to the tremendous success of Calatrava, architects look at his work with a certain uneasiness that can range from overwhelming admiration to quiet jealousy. More than any other architect practicing today, his work lies beyond the expertise of the majority of architects. In comparison, even the audacious forms of Frank Ghery seem to be within the grasp of many architects because the “how” to build those shapes is not related to the way they are conceived. One can create those shapes, more or less masterfully, and a series of experts (in computer analysis, structural design, or fabrication) can make them a reality. On the other hand, with Calatrava and Candela, there is a sense that the source of those bold forms comes inherently from an understanding by the creators of how those forms work structurally and how they will be built. When they design a project (both “what to do” and “how to do it”), they are thinking as much as possible as one mind. (Legend has it that Calatrava took the engineering licensing exam in Wisconsin because local engineers refuse to stamp the drawings for his daring addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. I don’t know if this is true, but it illustrates a possibility that would be impossible to even consider for most architects). Calatrava’s clairvoyant genius is unique and comes with its own pitfalls; his structural formalism can easily lead to the kind of structural exhibitionism that even Candela, who was more of a purist, objected to. Moreover, Calatrava’s individuality is impossible to replicate, and in fact, seems to be at odds with the more openly collaborative approach to architecture that is inevitable in an era of extreme specialization. Architects shouldn’t necessarily aspire to be another Candela or Calatrava. However, in an attempt to fill the gap between architecture and structural design, architects working in close collaboration with structural engineers should aspire to incorporate into their design process an awareness of the structure—the kind of structural thinking that can only enrich their buildings. The four projects by Miró Rivera Architects that are shown in this article are the result of an enriching collaboration with structural engineers. Working together with my partner Miguel Rivera, we engaged three excellent engineers (Chuck Naeve, Bill Murrell, and Brad Patterson) in a positive dialog that improved the resulting buildings. The Deck House (Figure 5) was conceived as a plane that hovers over a cliff, supporting a deck above and capturing the space for a house underneath. For that plane, we designed a new kind of structure—a post-tensioned, waffled slab made out of glu-lams, built in a warehouse, disassembled, and put together at the site.
The UT Texas Cowboys Pavilion (Figure 4) expresses an idea of structural balance while providing the desired openness as the cables eliminate the need for columns along both sides of the pavilion.
Photographs provided by Miró Rivera Architects.
The Lake Austin Boat Dock (Figure 2) has also a clear reading of the structural elements—a framed box, a screen, and a canopy. Conceived as a tensile structure, the canopy is a type of project I enjoy because there is no room to hide from thinking about the structure. A tensile structure’s shape, its beauty, is always a direct consequence of its own structural logic. The Pedestrian Bridge (Figures 1 and 3) provides a graceful and tenuous link leading to sensitive wetlands; the reeds along the shore became the inspiration for its deck and railing design. I believe, like Candela, that a numerically correct, well-calculated structural solution has an inherent value, a “potential beauty.” But it is only through the infusion, during the design process, of a sort of “will for form” that the creator can tap into the full expressive potential of a structural system. For me, structures are not only about numbers and rigid certainty; they are also about feeling and instinct.
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A Meeting of the Minds: Collaboration of Frank Lloyd Wright & Jaroslav Polivka by Shahin Vassigh Introduction Architecture, more than any other discipline, bridges the gap between art and science. Since every architectural design effort involves the application of technology and is subject to aesthetic, social, and cultural scrutiny, it invites a potential struggle between functionality and formal expression. Nowhere is this tension more evident than in the production of great works of architecture, because these works almost always push the limits of both art and technology—great architecture requires not merely finding a balance between art and science, it seeks a fusion of the best of both. Prior to the scientific revolution and the industrial application of building technology, the architect was technically capable of managing and resolving all building design issues, including artistic, creative, craft, functional, and engineering problems. Classical architects were often themselves inventors who pushed the limits of known principles of construction technology and engineering. For example, Filipo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), celebrated as the father of the Renaissance, was a sculptor, artist, and blacksmith, with a genius for mechanical engineering, hydraulics, and many other intellectual pursuits. Renaissance art and science, in particular architecture and engineering, were not the realm of separate specialists, but were sometimes indistinguishable subjects residing in a single person—the architect. Classical architects could therefore dictate an expression through their built forms simply because they controlled all aspects of its creation. However, the classical role of the architect was challenged by the industrial revolution and the ever-increasing need for specialized skills, leading to the inclusion (or intrusion) of structural engineers in the
design process. The demand for specialized skills created an artificial division pushing architectural concerns to spatial and aesthetic issues, while putting structural engineers in charge of the structural performance and efficiency of the building. This divide took a toll on architecture, shrinking its territory, and impacting the quality of the built work. Having technical decisions made by the uninspired engineers often meant that more creative architectural solutions were not entertained, accepted, or understood. As a result, many architects soon realized that without collaboration of competent and imaginative engineers, their design ideas could not be realized. For many architects, seeking to work with a creative engineer led to true collaborations and the creation of great works of architecture and landmark buildings. In examining these great works of architecture, the essence of a fruitful collaboration could be traced in a few common ingredients—creativity and willingness to push the limits of technology; a common conceptual understanding of the overall building form and a strong underlying design philosophy and coherent vision of the future wthat underlies all artistic, functional, structural, and construction issues. The following focuses on an example of such collaboration between Frank Lloyd Wright and Jaroslav Polivka—a short, but innovative body of work between two leaders in their respective fields, two men with shared design visions and philosophies. Their joint works and designs stand even a half century later as architecture well ahead of its time. Wright & Polivka: A Natural Collaboration Between 1946 and 1957, Frank Lloyd Wright and Jaroslav J. Polivka collaborated on five major works—the Guggenheim Museum (1946), the SC Johnson and Son Wax Company Research Tower (1944), Seacliff, the V.C. Morris House (1948, not built), the San Francisco Butterfly Bridge (1953, not built), and the Belmont Racetrack Pavilion (1957, not built). Although Polivka’s work with Wright extended over the end of both their careers (Wright died in 1959, Polivka in 1960), their relationship may have been one of the most productive between an architect and an engineer, not for the number of works they produced together, but for the quality, innovation, and beauty of each of these architectural and engineering masterpieces. Without a doubt, Wright was one of the greatest architects of the past century and a leader of the modern movement in architecture. By 1943, Wright had not only established himself as a legendary architect, but also as a cultural icon. Although his persona and work were considerably less public, Dr. Polivka was an authority on intricate structural design, shell structures, bridges, industrial buildings, and the application of new structural materials. Polivka was distinguished among his contemporaries. He was an innovative engineer with outstanding theoretical and analytical skills. Most importantly, his intuitive understanding of structural engineering issues and his innovative photo-elastic modeling capabilities distinguished him from his peers.
Shahin Vassigh is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo and holds a Master of Architecture, a Master of Urban Planning, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the same school. Her research focuses on structural and architectural design and on the application of digital media to structural pedagogy and instructional materials. As a civil engineer, Professor Vassigh has worked on structural, hydraulic, and transportation related engineering projects throughout New York State. She is also the codirector of the Center for Virtual Architecture at the University at Buffalo.
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It would seem that their leadership in their respective fields would make for a natural collaboration, but their professional relationship more likely began because of Wright’s frustration with not being able to complete his stunning spiral design for the Guggenheim Museum. Wright’s landing of the Guggenheim Museum commission in 1943 would eventually result in a landmark design for a public work of architecture. However, in spite of the engineers’ efforts (in 1946), Wright had produced a spiral design that still required more columns than he desired for its interior. As a result, Wright publicly criticized the engineers’ lack of imagination and technical knowledge. Polivka agreed with Wright, noting that most engineers were not willing to experiment and were only interested in the routine type of engineering work. In his letter of February 15, 1946, to Wright, Polivka wrote, “The average engineer knows only slabs, beams, girders, columns etc. and any deviation from his everyday tools is considered as unusual, crazy or dangerous.” Wright asked Polivka in early 1946 to resolve the structural dilemma with the Guggenheim design—to complete a spiral structure using few interior columns. Polivka used innovative and complex mathematical modeling, as well as a series of the (then) new form of photo-elastic models to produce a design suitable to Wright’s desires, and yet still structurally sound. A Shared Approach to Beauty Perhaps what distinguishes Wright’s work from other architects of the era is his holistic approach to form, space, structure, material, and site formed by his conception of “the nature and the natural.” Polivka not only respected Wright as a great architect and builder, but also independently reached many of the same conclusions regarding architectural form and structural beauty as Wright. From Wright’s extensive writings on form and function and Polivka’s published papers and letters written to Wright, it is clear that they both believed that structural honesty provides the most compelling beauty—a beauty that goes beyond pure aesthetic expression including the greater richness of technical clarity.
ingenuity. In his paper, “Making Bridges,” he noted his great respect for John Ruskin, “therefore when we build let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that time is come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them: See our fathers did this for us.” Wright and Polivka also shared a common conceptual understanding and unified view regarding expressiveness. Both Wright and Polivka believed in the immense expressive possibilities and plastic quality of reinforced concrete as a new construction material. In Polivka’s paper on the Butterfly Bridge, he wrote, “The new concrete forms, more simple and sympathetic to nature have arrived to take place of the older ones. Not only a greater economy has become possible, but also a true beauty of feature denied to the old forms. Greater uniformity in nature is possible to human nature.” Similarly, no discussion of Wright’s architecture can be meaningful unless it is within the context of his beliefs and view of nature. Wright held nature and natural principles as a holistic guide for the production of architecture. For Wright, nature constituted more than a metaphor, a source of inspiration, and a contextual setting for situating a building. He saw nature as a source of unlimited intelligent architectural form, a guide for structural principles, and a wealth of inexhaustible suggestions for design. As Neil Levine has stated, nature was Wright’s constant preoccupation. Wright maintained that not only were the
Opposite page: Stress Analysis Model for the Guggenheim Museum, ca. 1946 This page: Frank Lloyd Wright and Jaroslav Polivka, 1954, Taliesin. Courtesy of the University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo.
See “Wright & Polivka,” continued on page 20.
Like Wright, Polivka believed that creativity in structural design and proper use of material in true application of its characteristics could create structures of beauty, economy, and performance. In a letter to Wright, Polivka admired his design for the Johnson Wax Tower as a progressive building with great structural efficiency, “Dear Sir, your article ‘treelike laboratory for research’ published in ENR of April 6, 1950, deserves to be reprinted and distributed among engineers, architects and the contractors as a stimulus of modern design, and to demonstrate that the American ingenuity and originality in progressive methods of design can create structures of high esthetic value, beauty, economy, and performance, all characteristics that we like to admire abroad....” There was also a mutual respect for stability, durability, function, and the maximum result with minimum means that underlined both Wright’s and Polivka’s professional logic. Polivka wrote of monumental architecture and a long-lasting beauty achieved by human skill and
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Case Study in Collaborative Design between Architects and Engineers: Umeå Aquatic Centre, Umeå, Sweden by Jim Dodson and Stephen Melville
Project Background The Umeå Aquatic Centre project is in many ways typical of the atypical way Snøhetta works and receives work. In 2004, Snøhetta was invited to take part in an urban design competition for the renovation of the riverfront in Umeå, Sweden. Umeå is located just off the northern arm of the Baltic Sea on the banks of the Umeå River (63.8° N). The competition was an unusual collaboration between the City of Umeå and Balticgruppen, a local developer who owns most of the land along the riverfront. The competition program included a hotel, conference center, university-related functions such as student housing, and some public facilities. Snøhetta’s competition-winning entry was rooted in Umeå’s extreme northern climate, the power of the river, and a continuation of the city’s existing structure. The design was based on a series of block-long glass-covered buildings surrounded by a green riverside park. The park is extended into the buildings in the form of sloped and terraced interior landscapes facing the river. These indoor park elements function as a year-round park with rich green vegetation even in the coldest Swedish winter. Under this landscape, facing toward the street, are more traditional spaces for shop and office functions with a vertical street façade. Two other functions were located outside of the specified riverbank site. The hotel and conference center were placed on a new artificial island in the river. This freed up area on land and kept the riverfront promenade publicly accessible. The hotel was designed as a tower to reduce the footprint on land, and the conference center was integrated into the island itself. Student housing in the form of a series of parasite structures was placed on the over-dimensioned Kyrkbron bridge at the south of the site. The bridge, four lanes in each direction, was originally designed to accept traffic from a highway that ended up being rerouted outside of town. The housing modules cling to the side of and hover over the bridge along a new pedestrian-friendly access that connects the two sides of the river. After six months without hearing from the city, and no visible movement on the project, Snøhetta was again contacted by Balticgruppen, this time to see if it was possible to incorporate the city’s plans for a new community swim center into the project. The city was currently evaluating three sites in town for a new community pool complex. Balticgruppen realized that a public-related program like the swim center could be a catalyst in the redevelopment of the riverfront.
Jim Dodson [UTSOA B.Arch. ‘95, Member Norwegian Architectural League] is an architect with Snøhetta AS in Oslo, Norway. He has been a member of the Snøhetta team since graduating in 1995. He recently took a leave of absence and returned to UT as a visiting lecturer for the spring semester 2006. In his 11 years at Snøhetta, Mr. Dodson has worked on a number of winning competitions and has helped develop the office’s use of 3D modeling in design. Projects include Turner Contemporary Museum, Hamar Town Hall, Bærum Cultural Center, Umeå Aquatic Center, and the “Lighthouse” in Helsingborg. Current projects include an art pavilion for photography in Sweden and a ski resort hotel in Norway.
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In addition to the new swim center program, a few other changes were necessary for further development of the scheme. Stringent and slowmoving Swedish laws about building in rivers (the process of getting permission takes six years), plus the fact that the river also happens to be in the flight path of the local airport, would make the artificial island and hotel tower extremely improbable, if not impossible. Snøhetta would also have to find a new solution for the conference center and hotel. With the challenge of creating an exciting aquatic complex in near arctic latitudes in a short amount of time, Snøhetta asked two of the design team members from the Turner Contemporary project to collaborate on the development of the glass house structural and environmental concept. London-based Whitby-Bird were consulting engineers for structure and BDSP for environmental controls and sustainability. Architects perspective on the Design and Design Process (Jim Dodson) Designing a modern aquatic center at near arctic latitudes was an unusual challenge. Inserting this within our own urban design scheme made things even more interesting. Our competition documents touted the flexibility of the glass buildings along the river, but would it be possible to preserve the main ideas of the competition with such a radical change in program? The program for the revised project was large and complex. For the sake of brevity, we will look at the aquatic center building in detail, as it was also the most challenging. Snøhetta’s competition entry set the stage for a series of “glass houses” along the river. The original buildings were angular in form, and changed in section along the whole of the riverbank. The design team wanted to use this project not only to show that our design could accomodate an aquatic center, but also to further develop the typology of the glass house in this near-arctic climate. We wanted to keep the angular aesthetic of the original designs, but also create forms that were more responsive to the newly specific program elements inside.
In a series of design workshops we were able to express our desires for a structural system, and our engineers came back with not one, but 15 different possible sketches. At one meeting the engineers pulled a small piece of folded paper out of their pockets. It was stiff, but flexible, and we just couldn’t put it down, convinced that they could turn this into an open system of struts based on tension and compression. The extreme climate was a major challenge to the building skin. With winter temperatures of -30ºF and swimming pool functions inside, the building envelope was designed to withstand up to 100ºF difference between outside and inside. An envelope that combined single layer toughened glass on the exterior with 5 layer ETFE cushions on the interior was developed. The concept of a terraced interior landscape from the competition was transformed into a triangulated landscape reminiscent of glaciers or arctic ice flows. To make the water experience as complete as possible, the entire lower level is covered in water of varying depths with only a few dry islands. Wave pool and climbing walls are incorporated into the landscape. A simple palette of cool blue colors works together with the water and the views out over the river. As a contrast to the open areas above, underneath the angular landscape was a series of smoothly rounded interlocking experience rooms where the visitor would find wind, rain, hot, cold, and perhaps even volcanic climates. The typical tube-slide spaghetti was contained within one super-tube that became the major visual element of the aquatic center. Engineers perspective on the Design and Design Process (Stephen Melville) The most successful projects (from the perspective of meeting the client’s aspirations and making a postive lasting impression on the environment) arise from a close collaboration between the architect and the engineering consultants. Too often an intellectual firewall arises between the two disciplines as each tries to protect their design.
Both Snøhetta and Whitby-Bird reject this approach and the Umeå project is a fine example of enthusiastic designers meeting to swap ideas and debate the nature of the building form. The challenge at Umeå was to design an aquatic complex that was both light and airy and also free of internal columns. A parallel from the past would be the great Victorian glasshouse structures designed by Paxton and others. The design team, however, wished to explore the boundaries of structural and material technology to see what was possible in the modern day. In order for the structure to span the large clear distance of 40 meters, the material had to be used in an efficient manner (arch structures are good examples of this) and in order for it to survive in the caustic environment of a swimming pool, the right material had to be selected in the first instance. We were also interested in exploring ideas of form to see if an economic, repeatable pattern of structural elements of the same shape and size could be used to create a building that was interesting and challenging. Many ideas were bounced back and forth between architects and engineers with all parties eventually favoring a structure inspired by a natural leaf form and one that can be imagined as a flat, rectangular piece of paper that is then folded in different directions to form a light, but stiff structure. The whole folded structure spanned the clear distance from the front to the rear façade as a curved and vaulted roof. The roof structure could be pushed, pulled, and warped slightly to create an undulating appearance while retaining its essential stiffness. The actual structure was formed of a grid of timber struts braced with stainless steel tie wires. If the correct grades are used, timber and stainless steel work well within the swimming pool environment.
Images provided by Snøhetta AS and Whitby-Bird Engineers.
Paper and wire models were made and man-handled before any complicated computer analysis or visualisation was done. This good example of tactile, hands-on design gave the team confidence and allowed everyone to understand the concept more clearly. It is interesting that it is difficult to actually credit any particular organization for these choices. Both architects and engineers started with ideas; after lively discussion these ideas were then developed into new avenues, finally ending up at a light, innovative and iconic building, which is to be constructed in such a way as to be different from the norm. End Note The revised project shown here was presented to the City of Umeå in October of 2005. In the spring of 2006, the city had an invited architectural competition to place the aquatic center on the riverfront, without inviting, or even notifying, Snøhetta of the competition. The newspaper article pronouncing the Swedish firm White Architects as the winners of the competition was the first and only news we have received. The new design disregarded the original urban planning competition and our second round of designs. Although this is not exactly typical, it is certainly one of the dangers of competitions. We will perhaps find a place for the timber origami structure in a future project and collaboration.
Stephen Melville is the Director of Whitby-Bird Engineers in Bristol, England. He has been based at Snøhetta’s Bristol office since November 2005. He is expert in the redevelopment of complex structures, including listed buildings. His input at concept design stage significantly contributes to innovative new build projects, and his keen interest in architectural aspiration inspires him in applying his considerable analytical skills and knowledge of structural materials to overcome project constraints. His designs in concrete for the new Toyota UK headquarters and for offices at 40 Grosvenor Place have won awards. He also works extensively in steel, masonry, timber, and glass. Mr. Melville is guest tutor at several architectural colleges and has been a member of the Drafting Committee of the National Concrete Frame Specification. Platform • 1 1
Architects and Engineers: A History in a Blink by Vladimir Kulic When I was an undergraduate student at the University of Belgrade, our School of Architecture shared a huge 1930s Beaux-Arts building with the Schools of Electrical and Civil Engineering. In spite of this physical closeness, we, the future architects, had little in common with our engineering colleagues, except for a mutual suspicion about each other. We considered engineers dull and unimaginative, while they thought we were flaky and possibly even unnecessary.
Interestingly, these attitudes were reflected in the way we occupied our shared building—electrical engineers were on the ground floor, civil engineers on the one above, and architects had their place on the third. For the engineers, this arrangement was a telling sign that they were the grounded, down-to-earth ones, while we architects were silly artists with our heads in the clouds. We, on the other hand, thought that we rightly occupied our place at the top, because we
were the ones with a vision, able to see beyond the dull day-today routine of our less imaginative colleagues. The mutual mistrust and the complete lack of interaction between the schools was so thorough, that in the thirteen years I spent at the School of Architecture, first as a student and then as a lecturer, I can barely remember setting my foot on the first two floors of the building we shared with the engineers, except when passing through a ground floor corridor to reach an elevator.
Vladimir Kulic is a doctoral candidate in architectural history at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is working on a dissertation on architecture and politics in socialist Yugoslavia. Kulic’s interest in the relationship between architects and engineers emerged after he started teaching design to architectural engineering students at UT’s College of Engineering. As a result of this interest, in the spring semester of 2006, he taught a History of Architectural Engineering course at the School of Architecture.
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When I arrived in the United States, I learned that this gap was by no means a peculiarity of Belgrade. On the contrary, here it seemed to be even more pronounced, and the overlaps between disciplines seemed even smaller. As a student in Belgrade, I still had to do a lot of structural calculations—something that most of us did grudgingly. American architecture students are not bothered with such things and are usually required to gain only a broad understanding of basic principles of building technologies. To me, that seemed refreshingly honest, because it did not put an unnecessary pressure on students to learn something they would never use in practice; most architects are not expected to do many technical calculations anyway—that is what engineers are for. And although we architects have been deeply fascinated with all kinds of new technologies for over a century, not too many of us are ready to learn their minutiae. We have neither the necessary skills nor the time to accept a full burden of responsibility for constructing a large building, and we have to share that burden with other professions. Architects
and engineers simply depend on each other. Today we are so used to this mutual dependence that it is easy to forget that the professions involved in designing a building diverged from each other relatively recently. Only two hundred years ago, the borders between them barely existed. For centuries, an architect was fully responsible for the engineering of a building, and rarely was there a special expert to make sure that some ambitious project would not end up in a pile of crushed stone. Moreover, someone who knew how to properly construct a building was likely the best person to tear it down too, so architects often constructed war machines, thus playing the role of military engineers as well. Just think of Apollodorus of Damascus, who built bridges and siege equipment for military campaigns of the Roman emperor Trajan and then went on to construct Trajan’s Forum, one of ancient Rome’s greatest monuments. The borders between professions in general were also elusive, and one ingenious person could take on many different roles. For example, Imhotep, the first recorded architect in history and the builder of Zoser’s pyramid in Saqqara, was also a physician. Anthemios of Tralles, the builder of Hagia Sophia, was an experimental scientist. Sir Christopher Wren, the builder of Saint Paul’s and one of Britain’s greatest architects, was a mathematician. Not to mention that the many “Renaissance men,” like Brunelleschi or Michelangelo, were proficient in a range of different disciplines, from metalwork, sculpture, painting, and poetry, to architecture, and civil and military engineering.
Indeed, many buildings that architectural history records for their amazing aesthetic qualities were also groundbreaking engineering feats. Think of the Pantheon, Hagia Sophia, Gothic cathedrals, Brunelleschi’s Duomo…, the list is long. All these structures are remembered for both their artistic and engineering achievements, and yet none of them had an engineer who was credited for its construction separately from the architect, as is the case today. That differentiation is ultimately a product of modern times. Modernity, the incredible transformation that our civilization underwent during the past two centuries or so, is the reason we today have so many distinct professions involved in designing a piece of architecture. The increasing complexity of building technologies made it unfeasible for one single person to keep track of all the necessary construction skills. Specialization was, therefore, an unavoidable side effect of humanity’s evergrowing abilities. At the same time, states felt a need to regulate professions and make their products more standardized and reliable, which resulted in institutionalized education and a system of licensing that prescribed how things should be done. The previously elusive borders between architects and engineers were thus fixed and firmly cemented. Most of these processes can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when Europe saw the establishment of a number of important institutions. The seeds of the split had already been sown in 1671, when Louis XIV founded the Royal Academy of Architecture with the task to
discuss the discipline’s aesthetic and philosophical concerns, as opposed to its technical side. The Academy would become a basis for the later École des Beaux-Arts, possibly the most influential school of architecture ever, which defined the discipline through the modes of composition—an ultimately aesthetic category. On the other hand, by the mid-eighteenth century, French civil engineers were educated at a separate school of bridges and roads, and a few decades later, British civil engineers had their first association, Smeatonian Society, founded by John Smeaton, the first person to call himself a “civil engineer.” The elaborate process of diversification of professions continued throughout the nineteenth century, propelled by an unprecedented technological and scientific progress and institutionalized through more and more specialized schools. By the end of the century, the division of responsibilities between architects and engineers was mostly over. Ever since then, architects and engineers have had a tense relationship, alternately fascinated and repulsed by each other. Architectural establishment in the nineteenth century ignored and even detested the great engineering achievements of the time, such as the Crystal Palace or the Eiffel Tower; they simply did not qualify as architecture for them. But only a few decades later, modernist architects and theorists, like Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion, would glorify the “art of the engineer” and use those very same structures as models for an architecture for the modern times. On the other hand, some engineers, otherwise usually driven by purely pragmatic con-
cerns, were also tempted by the aesthetic potential of their work. Every now and then someone like Robert Maillart would emerge to create utilitarian structures of remarkable elegance and beauty. The relationship continued to oscillate between love, indifference, and animosity. Probably the last time that an intense love affair between architecture and engineering occurred was about fifty years ago. That was the time the two professions joined forces in a craze for large-span concrete shells, propelled by the booming post-war economy and enthusiasm. Pier Luigi Nervi (educated as an engineer), Felix Candela (architect), Eladio Dieste (engineer), and others produced works of great structural daring and exquisite beauty, at the same time blurring the distinction between the professions reminiscent of the great builders of the Renaissance. And while some architects did stretch their formal requirements at the expense of structural logic—think of all the problems that plagued the construction of Sydney Opera House, for
example—overall this was a happy marriage. Too bad it did not last very long!
1. Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, architects; Peter Rice, engineering. Center Georges Pompidou, Paris. Gerberette.
In the past fifty years, architects and engineers seem to have come to a truce, with clearly divided spheres of interest that are rarely challenged. The strictures of the contemporary market and increasing legislation allow for a relatively narrow margin of cutting-edge architectural practices and an equally small number of engineering firms that specialize in accommodating their requirements. It is within these thin margins that an innovative collaboration between an architect genuinely interested in technology and an engineer with a keen eye for the aesthetic can happen, as was the case with Renzo Piano and the late Peter Rice. But what happens with the rest of us? Can we make an effort to explore all of the floors of the common building we share and hopefully meet there someone smart and interesting? I don’t know. But I believe it may be worth trying.
2. Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, architects; Peter Rice, engineering. Center Georges Pompidou, Paris. Façade. Photographs by Vladimir Kulic.
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The Wall and the Handover of the Plans by Architects and Engineers by Anne Nichols
throw it over the wall Business slang for completing your part of a project and then passing it off to the next group. This phrase is usually said when there is little communication between two groups. For example, “We’ll get the new design finished by noon so we can throw it over the wall to the brand police.” (www.netlingo.com)
An Engineer’s Glossary design: The complete process of structural spatial layout, selection of preliminary structural systems while considering loading requirements and system behavior under loading, evaluation of structural system alternatives, quantification of the loads on structural elements, selection of members following code provisions for acceptable levels of performance, and iterative revision of any step to ensure safety, strength, and serviceability of the structural components and system. (One engineering text states that “the creativity and imagination of the structural engineer are paramount attributes in the preliminary design phase. An understanding of construction procedures is also essential to ensure that the proposed alternates can be built satisfactorily and at a predictable cost.”) Restrictions on member sizes or locations because of system integration must be communicated throughout the design and design revisions. theory: The mathematical principles and relationship models used to predict and describe behavior of a system in order to make informed decisions for a design.
I have had the opportunity to practice at an architectural/engineering firm and a construction equipment manufacturer, as well as teach general engineering students in a civil engineering department and architecture students at two recognized programs in architecture. At the small design firm, I sized members for additions and new commercial and residential structures, as well as designed structures for manufacturing processes. I also dreamed of the life to come when I could use all my analytical skills and masterlevel training for something other than selecting steel sections and designing connections. It was at this office that I learned to work and enjoy working with contractors and to listen to their suggestions backed by experience. In my first “afterlife” at a large construction equipment manufacturer, the engineering design culture was focused on integrated process and product development. The old paradigm of “throwing the plans over the wall” by design to manufacturing did not allow for rapid and error free production. Each separate group in the product development had, in the past, customized
their own drawing formats and way to store data. The company recognized the need for drawings to be available and usable (be it with software, computer controlled machining operations, etc.) by anyone, spread out worldwide, involved with the product. After yet another metamorphosis involving research, I was immersed in a new culture—that of architectural education. I was excited about the creativity evident in the studio environment (loving any type of “modeling”), puzzled by the interview questions asked by students of “how I would envision the integration of structures with the design studio,” taken aback at the other usage of the terms design, theory, research, and construct (see An Engineer’s Glossary), and disappointed by the difficulty of being admitted into the studio culture once labeled the structural consultant. The resistance I have encountered reminds me of the cubical wall those paper drawings got passed over. Some of it comes from those in my own profession who think of me as tainted or a traitor to my professional training because of my clientele, though most comes from student
biases that I tend to blame on the studio/lecture course curriculum and the biases of the architectural field conveyed through design instructors, architectural literature, and history. I have not conducted a carefully designed research program to support my hypothesis of the source of student attitudes on their resistance to “math” and relevance of any technology (specifically structures and environmental systems) to their core studio curriculum. I have only a sense from the students through informal surveys (mostly at the second year level) and from overhearing design faculty with students in studio. From faculty at desk critiques, I have heard expressions like “Don’t worry about the structure! It will restrict your design!” Or from students, “He wants us to lay out the structure (in a third year design studio). How do I do that?” In my first experience at desk critiques, a student had no idea of her structural system with her model. As I suggested systems, the design instructor stopped us and told the student that the discussion was no longer in her control and that if the structural consultant were to
research: (not related to reading product literature) The study of an unanswered question based on hypotheses constructed using previous knowledge, preliminary investigation, or experimentation. The completed research may or may not clearly prove the hypotheses, but contributes to the body of knowledge. construct: (not used as a noun) To make or build. White, R. N., P. Gergely, R. G. Sexsmith, 1976. Structural Engineering, Volume 1, New York, J. Wiley & Sons.
“The geometry and arrangement of the load-bearing members, the use of materials, and the crafting of joints all represent opportunities for buildings to express themselves. The best buildings are not designed by architects who after resolving the formal and spatial issues, simply ask the structural engineer to make sure it doesn’t fall down.” But why is it such a hard sell? Angus Macdonald informs us that the current relationship between structure and architecture (played out by the roles of engineer and architect) is due to the use of modern structural materials like steel and reinforced concrete, which have better properties than traditional materials (wood and stone), allowing the architect to pay less attention to structural requirements with respect to what was the technical limit of the materials they understood. I do agree that as the
See “The Wall,” continued on page 20.
Anne Nichols is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. She has taught at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and was employed as a computing engineer for Caterpillar, Inc. She teaches undergraduate and graduate structural technology courses and has research interest in fracture behavior of concrete and masonry and computer-aided mechanical modeling. Professor Nichols received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
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direct the design, it would be “plain and ugly.” But, my overall favorite from a design colleague is, “If the design is good, the structure will take care of itself.” I like this statement because it relies on the designer to consider structure as part of the design process, not a subsequent process “over the wall.” On the first day of the introductory course, I also like to quote Barry Onouye (Statics and Strength of Materials for Architecture and Building Construction), who emphasizes that consideration of structure cannot be separate from the design.
Above: Rows of Caterpillar equipment. Photograph provided by the author.
What Does It Mean to “Design a Building?” by Richard E. Klingner As Associate Chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) at UT-Austin, in charge of our Architectural Engineering program, I am often asked, “What’s the difference between an architect and an architectural engineer?” At a simplistic level, I might respond, “They both design buildings. An architect develops the picture of a building, and the architectural engineer turns the picture into something that works.” The question deserves a better answer, however, because at its heart is a very real and (to some) contentious interface between the areas in which each profession is competent and legally entitled to practice. In my three years as Associate Chair of CAEE, I have worked hard to build bridges with the School of Architecture. Earlier this year, UTSOA Professor Vince Snyder and I were asked to serve as resources to the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE), as those groups discussed possible modifications to the Texas Occupations Code intended to address the question, “Should architectural engineers have the legal right to engage in the comprehensive design of buildings (that is, to perform the complete design of a building without the involvement of an architect)?” The Current Legal Situation in Texas It is useful to briefly review current legal requirements in Texas. Those are established by the Texas Occupations Code, which unfortunately does not address the issue definitively.
Section 1001.003 (for engineers) defines the practice of engineering quite broadly and could be interpreted as permitting architectural engineers to engage in the comprehensive design of any building.
provisions dealing with architects. The current placement invites contention.
Section 1051.606 (for architects), in contrast, states that only architects can legally design building alterations that involve substantial structural or exitway changes and that non-architects can design only privately owned agricultural buildings, single- or dual-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings of two stories and 16 units or fewer, and commercial buildings of two stories and 20,000 square feet in footage. Continuing, Section 1051.703 (again for architects) states that only architects can legally design buildings used for round-the-clock custodial care, public school, assembly or office buildings, or alterations to those buildings that cost more than $50,000 and require modifications to structure or exits.
The TBAE and the TBPE To resolve this issue, it is necessary to explore what it means to “design a building.” One example of that exploration took place in the summer of 2006 in meetings with staff and members of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.
These current legal requirements are problematic from several viewpoints: • Current requirements of the Texas Occupations Code for engineers and architects are contradictory. The section for engineers can be read as permitting architectural engineers to engage in the comprehensive design of any building, while the section for architects places many restrictions on non-architects. • Current requirements are not well-placed. Limitations for architectural engineers should appear in the provisions dealing with architectural engineers, and limitations for architects in the
• Current requirements are complex and not clearly related to rational criteria.
Discussions with the two boards were cordial and positive and led, in my opinion, to the following general observations: • Architecture and architectural engineering are quite similar in some respects and very different in others. While they both deal with the design of buildings, principal differences are that architecture considers the context of a building (spatial location, orientation, history, symbolism, surrounding features or buildings, and purpose) and its function (functional relationships and programming), while architectural engineering hardly considers these. For most real projects, building context is probably secondary to code, functional, and building envelope issues. • Architecture and architectural engineering overlap in many technical areas. For example, an architect and an architectural engineer, each presented with a designed “artifact,” would proceed to address the same technical issues—structure, envelope,
and building environmental systems. Each would be conversant with every sheet of the set of drawings for the building. Nevertheless, the architect and the architectural engineer would approach those technical areas differently. The architect would know more about the implications of the architectural façades, might know more about detailing (building envelope, doors, and windows), and would know more about interior finishes. The architectural engineer would know more about the site civil details, foundation details, and structural details; he or she would also be more knowledgeable regarding mechanical engineering and might do it in the real world, whereas the architect probably would not. • The responsibility of TBAE and TBPE is to ensure that architects and architectural engineers practice in a way that protects public health, safety, and welfare. While health and safety would probably not be jeopardized by improper understanding of context or function, welfare (including sustainable design) might be.
Acknowledgments Many of these ideas are the result of stimulating conversations with UTSOA colleague and friend Vince Snyder, with colleagues at the TBAE and TBPE, and with colleague and friend John Rickard (who is both an architect and an architectural engineer). Those contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
Broad Recommendations I believe that the spirit of the TBAE-TBPE discussions of the summer of 2006 could be embodied in an agreement that would recognize the similarities and differences between the professional skills of architects and architectural engineers and would establish legal triggers governing the exercise of each set of skills for each particular building, in protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. See “Klingner,” continued on page 20.
Richard Klingner received academic degrees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) from the University of California in Berkeley. His field of specialization is structural engineering, with emphasis on the analytical and experimental investigation of the dynamic response of structures, earthquake-resistant design of masonry and concrete structures, and anchorage to concrete. Since 1977, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT-Austin, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on structural analysis, dynamics, and the behavior and design of masonry and reinforced concrete structures. Since 2004, he has been Associate Chair for Architectural Engineering within that Department. Platform • 1 5
Integrated Planning: an Interview with Werner Sobek Q: After completing your engineering studies, you went on to do architecture. Is that the ideal situation: to be trained in both disciplines? Werner Sobek: During my engineering studies, it soon became apparent that this was not sufficient in itself, especially if one wished to bear responsibility in building, because (as an engineer) one plays a subordinate role as a service provider. If I want to be involved in the creative process, in the design of the built environment, it is absolutely essential to know all about the content of the related discipline and the language of those who will subsequently be partners in the planning process. If l don’t acquaint myself with these things during my studies, l will have a hard time in my first years of professional practice—and for many colleagues that’s a situation that continues throughout their lives. Q: Do engineers lack self-confidence? 2.
Sobek: The way engineers have regarded their own professional image over the past 200 years is quite significant. They don’t even have a verb for what they do, and the general public doesn’t know what structural engineering is. Because of the structure of their training, a lot of engineers certainly don’t show enough self-confidence in their work with others. All too quickly, they allow themselves to be forced into the role of an executor of other people’s plans. Most architects don’t really want that, but it’s a comfortable way out (for engineers). In terms of responsibility, it’s much simpler to say “that’s what the architect wanted,” and one doesn’t have to rack one’s brains searching for alternatives.
Sobek: We also have architects on the staff. I myself am an architect, and I have a professorship in a university department for architecture, as well. We have product and graphic designers in the office, too, and nevertheless we are responsible for structural engineering. We work in a transitional area that leads to things which perhaps have not been built before, and we regularly go beyond the boundaries of what takes place in most other offices. To be able to do this, we need to have a design competence. You can’t expect a normal service office to minimize and develop a design the way we do.
Q: To what extent may one “interfere” in the work of the other discipline, then?
Q: You clearly understand the work of an engineer as a design activity. After all, designing a load-bearing structure is also design.
Sobek: l never regard this interference as ousting the other profession from its field of activity. Teamwork can function only on a basis of partnership. Christoph Ingenhoven and Dominique Perrault don’t call me just to ask me how thick a column should be. The attitude is more likely to be: “The project involves the design of an aircraft hangar, and the loadbearing structure is basically everything. We want a particular external appearance, though.” The engineer then has to develop something on the basis of a few vague terms such as “restrained, integrated, close to nature, reflecting the sky,” and so on, something that structurally and constructionally allows these things to be realized. One also has to be able to put forward alternative proposals that will help to optimize the structure. A discussion then takes place in which the architect may say: “Alter the structure, I’ve conceived another solution. Wouldn’t that be a possibility?” I willingly accept things like that without feeling offended. We are fortunate to be able to work with some of the best architects in the world, from Kengo Kuma to Norman Foster. None of them have a problem if I say, for example, that the entrance façade should be done in a different way because I don’t find it right.
Sobek: Exactly! All the general rules one draws up for design can also be applied in engineering, such as the creation of a number of alternatives, the reduction of alternatives, or various creative techniques. The bulk of the built environment is probably not designed by architects at all, but by engineers who are not trained to do such things. They can calculate a retaining wall or a tunnel or a dam, but they are not trained to design the wall in such a way that will integrate it aesthetically in a particular landscape or urban context.
Q: You have often described your work as part of an integrated planning process. Does a fusion of different specialist disciplines take place in your own office?
Q: To what degree should architects be trained in structural engineering? Sobek: They should understand the basic phenomena to such an extent that they have a command of the subject. An architect should never have to calculate a slab with a differential equation, but he should have a feeling for and an understanding of the characteristics of various materials. He should also know about load-transmission mechanisms, axial forces, moments, and all that sort of thing. He shouldn’t have to do it himself, but he must be able to understand what a structural engineer tells him. Q: At the university, you teach in your dual capacity as an engineer and an architect. Which professional group requires a greater sensitization to the planning process?
Werner Sobek studied architecture and structural engineering at Universität Stuttgart. In 1994, he succeeded Frei Otto as head of the Institute for Lightweight Structures at Universität Stuttgart. In 2000 he took over the university department of Jörg Schlaich and merged these two schools to form a new Institute for Lightweight Structures, Design and Construction (ILEK). He is also head of an engineering consultancy with 100 employees that has offices in Stuttgart, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; and New York City. This interview of Werner Sobek by Andreas Gabriel was originally published in the December 2005 issue of DETAIL magazine. Pl at f orm • 1 6
Sobek: The engineers. Students in this discipline have a very, very slender awareness of the need for design competence. What is more, engineers bear an extremely great responsibility. Putting their name to something that is not correctly calculated can lead to disastrous, irreparable damage, even to the collapse of a building. Engineers, therefore, have to be trained to observe a high degree of precision. In the field of design, these same people have to be taught to leave the path of precision and to sketch and discuss things that are perhaps only 50 to 60 percent certain. That’s very difficult for many of them. What is more, most colleagues in academic teaching do not provide scope for inter- or transdisciplinary studies. Q: Do architects interested in structural matters come to the Institute for Lightweight Structures (ILEK) where you teach? Sobek: We organize lectures in a compact form over one or two days; for example, the “Basics of Lightweight Construction” is something both engineering and architectural students can attend. Then there’s the lecture subject “Façade Technology.” Very few structural engineers come to that, because they still haven’t recognized its significance. But there are a lot of architects, as well as people from the property branch and from real estate technology. Suddenly, you have three different groups of students sitting in one lecture. Then, there’s a lecture topic called “Design in Structural Engineering.” One might think that the others would alI leave at this point, but they say to themselves: “Since we’re here, we might as well stay and listen to what the engineers are up to.” That’s extremely valuable. We also offer joint design exercises, in which architectural and engineering students work with each other. Q: Can there be something in teaching, then, that corresponds to integrated planning? There are obvious advantages if a student of architecture can work from the outset with engineering colleagues and vice versa.
motto: “How shall we live and work the day after tomorrow?” We are less interested in finding answers to current problems than in basic research with a perspective that extends far into the future. That was always the character of the place under Frei Otto, and it’s something that I have maintained. We do, of course, conduct research into topical matters—to help small and medium-size enterprises, for example; but on the whole, we are concerned with advanced questions. Q: You wish to stimulate your students, then, to venture away from safe ground and to cross boundaries? Sobek: Yes. Even when the average student has mastered the things contained in textbooks, he still does not know where the boundary lies between, on the one hand, those things you can do and theoretically grasp today in building and, on the other hand, the unknown territory. Naturally, only the really good people can cross this line; it is a step that requires great responsibility. But alone, the process of sounding out and defining the boundary, even in a lecture, is one of the noblest tasks of a university. Its work cannot simply be to communicate standard know-how. Q: And students regard this as broadening their outlook, which will also be of use in their future professional lives? Sobek: I think so. In our teaching, we also familiarize students with things like façade construction, of course—how to build a glass façade or a wooden lattice shell in a way that they can apply. But we go beyond this. We investigate how far one could go. What is the ultimate in terms of lightness? How is an aircraft constructed? How is a car body calculated. What are the load-bearing behaviour and capacity of bone structures in the human body. And all of a sudden, you perceive an expanded field of vision and shining eyes—suddenly the students are in a position to jump from one discipline to another and to transpose their insights.
1 & 2. Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany. Architect: UN Studio. Engineer: Werner Sobek Ingenieure. Photographs by Ulrich Dangel. 3. Phase-change materials: basic elements of adaptable fabric skins. © Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design, Universität Stuttgart, Germany. 4. Pneumatic structure, student design at the ILEK. © Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design, Universität Stuttgart, Germany.
Sobek: It’s very, very difficult to extend that to teaching. After attending two terms of structural engineering teaching, a student of architecture in his or her third semester will easily be able to design a normal concrete shell form that will be more or less right. On the other hand, the same situation can cause any engineering student in the tenth semester to have a nervous breakdown, because the calculation of this concrete shell—the process of verification—demands a degree of knowledge that a structural engineer attains only towards the end of the period of studies. We have found out, therefore, that it is best to pair architectural students who are relatively good in their intermediate diploma studies with engineers in the main diploma phase, as well as providing engineers with additional support. Q: What are the goals of architects and engineers who conduct research and gain their doctorates with you? Sobek: We also have aeronautical engineers and medical people who study for doctorates at our institute. The ILEK came about through a merger of the institutes of Frei Otto and Jörg Schlaich. From the very beginning, most of the research there has been conducted under the
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The Dissolution of Architectural Boundaries in America by Vincent Snyder It has become increasingly obvious over recent years that American architectural influence is no longer considered the dominating force around the globe. The vast majority of coverage in worldwide trade journals features architects from outside the United States. Moreover, the role of architects in the United States is continuing to shrink as other professions have been gaining ground by offering services previously provided only by architects. Why has this occurred and are there any remedies to increase our influence?
Much of the loss of influence has occurred by the consent of the profession. In the early 1970s, architects effectively relinquished control of the “means and methods” of construction of their projects because of increasing litigation. In addition to the loss of responsibility, and therefore loss of authority, this action reinforced a distancing of architecture’s relationship to technical necessities of construction, which in turn caused architects to rely even more on outside technical consultants. Architectural academics also contributed to this trend by marginalizing these knowledge bases within their own universities, labeling them as vocational, and challenging their inclusion into the intellectual production of architecture. While the distancing of technology within architectural curricula is significant, the most critical factor is the question of cultural relevance. The public values the objective pragmatism of construction and safety, while the subjective concerns of design certainly are provided by a great many design professionals—not only architects. Indeed, as long as one has a paying client, many unlicensed individuals provide design services that have traditionally belonged to the architect.
These problems have not afflicted continental European architects for several reasons. In Europe, architecture, along with the other arts, has continued its cultural relevance and therefore its necessity. The responsibilities of the architect still include the control and project management of the job site, and the academic education of the architect provides for a more immediate relationship with the technical issues of construction. It is worth emphasizing that it is not simply a matter of European architects embracing the technical (the high-tech movement notwithstanding), but rather, the constructional and technical issues are merely a continuation of the traditional and unmitigated role of the architect. This is not to say that the knowledge base of the architect and the engineer are synonymous in Europe—nor is that the desire of either profession—but clearly our European counterparts are much more comfortable with the interplay between the
Vincent Snyder is an associate professor at the UT-Austin School of Architecture and established his own architectural practice in Austin in 1995. Prior to this, he worked several years as a senior design architect with Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Inc. and has project experience in the offices of Michael Graves, Architect, and Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood, Architects, Inc. His current professional work ranges in scale from residential to institutional. Professor Snyder’s academic research and teaching activities are primarily concerned with inhabitation and occupation within the context of boundless space and how specific cultural and constructional demands influence design processes.
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technical and the aesthetic. Europe is certainly leading the way in production of architecture that is not only innovative, but also socially responsible. Clearly, the future of American architecture relies on its adaptation to the changing definitions of what constitutes the professional requirements of architecture, viewed within the context of its own cultural relevance. Architects and educators should recognize and exploit the architectural educational experiences that teach architects how to synthesize vast amounts of disparate information into a coherent whole. And, architecture should welcome a dispersion of its boundaries, as appreciation of design in broader terms is on the rise. A reassertion of the more substantial technical knowledge required of construction, thereby engendering much closer and credible relationships with the allied professions of productions at all scales, is also necessary. All of these approaches will be required to strengthen the American architects’ ability to operate successfully.
Pushing the Envelope: Atelier One Atelier One is a structural engineering consultancy committed to creating structural solutions that are appropriate for and contribute to the overall building design through close collaboration with other members of the design team. The practice, run by directors Neil Thomas and Aran Chadwick, offers an enthusiastic and innovative approach. With a small team working from offices in London, Brighton, and Melbourne, Atelier One has recently completed a number of international projects, including the façade engineering of Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, shown here. The project’s façade systems allows for the individual buildings to be differentiated, while simultaneously maintaining an overall coherence. Utilizing new understanding of surface geometries, the façades are designed as a double-layer, rain screen system. The outer layer is open-jointed and formed from individual triangular cladding tiles, consisting of only three materials—sandstone, zinc, and glass. The inner layer, which provides the weather-proof skin, is formed from a thin aluminum sheet. The outer layer deflects up to 95% of direct rain, while the remaining portion of water and moisture that penetrates the outer layer is drained from the ventilated cavity in front of the waterproof membrane.
The geometry of the façade is based on a single triangle with the mathematical proportions 1/2/√5, called the pinwheel triangle. The unique characteristic of this triangle is the ability to subdivide into 5 other equal pinwheel triangles. This geometrical relationship forms the basis for the overall façade system encompassing the cladding systems, the secondary framing systems, and the connections to the superstructure. The modular pinwheel grid developed from this single triangle forms a fractally incremental system, where the proportion of the pinwheel triangle is maintained across the individual cladding tile, the panel composed of 5 tiles mounted to an aluminum frame, and the mega-panel, composed of 5 panels fixed to a triangular galvanized steel frame. Construction of the $450 million project took over 4 years, engaging more than 250 companies.
Photographs this page: Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia. Façade engineering by Atelier One. Photographs provided by Atelier One.
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“Wright & Polivka,” continued from page 9.
“The Wall,” continued from page 14.
“Klingner,” continued from page 15.
principles of symmetry and proportion derived from nature, but that the forms of the arch, the gable, and the columns were “conventionalization of natural ones.”… ‘Organic Architecture’… is the architecture of nature,… the architecture based upon principle and not upon precedent.”
sophistication of analysis has risen significantly because of the complexity of the structures being designed, our increasing knowledge of structural behavior, and use of computer software, the “magic” the structural consultants perform has made them look separate and their work look proprietary. But I will argue that the ethereal analysis and design is based on the same theory and principles that the introductory courses present to students of architecture. Macdonald points out that what makes the firms that integrate architecture with engineering so successful, such as Foster and Partners, is the collaboration throughout the development of design. I would emphasize that communication (and communication skills) are essential when process groups are face to face with no walls to pass designs over.
• Buildings for which context and function are particularly important would require the professional services of an architect. Examples might include public buildings, buildings used for custodial care, places of public assembly, and buildings whose size or complexity would make function or emergency egress particularly important.
Wright also believed that nature could be an invaluable tool for the engineer. The cantilevered branch of a tree, the form of a sea shell, and geometrical patterns of beehives, among many other natural phenomena are ultimate lessons in structural engineering. Wright often criticized engineers for a lack of interest in nature and natural principles that could otherwise lead them to creative solutions to structural problems. With a study of Polivka’s writing, it becomes clear that he shared much of Wright’s view regarding nature. In another letter to Wright, he admitted that, “I am admiring you as an engineer although, according to a quotation in the last Forum issue, [you stated that] engineers are complete damn fools.… [Y]ou may be right since the engineers in their structural conception are very seldom guided by [the] eternal law of nature. Take for example, cob webs of a spider, which definitely should be studied by an engineer whose specialty [is] to build suspension bridge[s] and two- or three-dimensional structural network[s].” Polivka also believed that the universal laws of nature not only teach us structural principles and reveal economy of form, but they are intellectually and aesthetically satisfying. Their common philosophy regarding nature became the backbone of design for the Butterfly Bridge, which was so named due to its lightness in weight and the greater simplicity of construction, using steel in tension and concrete in compression scientifically combined in appropriate forms.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Detail view of Wetland Pond. Photograph by Ronald Sprouse.
The organic form of the bridge, the type of shell system selected to accommodate the form, and the unprecedented economy and construction methods put forward for building the bridge were a result of a coherent philosophy that was carried throughout the project. Without a shared worldview, consistent vision, and focus on innovation, their work together would not have been possible, and these great works of architecture might have never been designed or realized. Closing Remarks Today’s rapid advancements in the digital technologies and new building materials are changing the role of architects once again and are placing greater demands for new collaborations. Introduction of a variety of unprecedented building types, construction systems, and new design and construction processes is challenging architects to expand their partnerships to include mechanical, acoustical, and environmental engineers and work with a wide range of experts in other disciplines such as computing, modeling and simulation, mathematics, and many others.
In summary, I believe that all forms of communication skills, besides visual ones, are vital for successful collaboration and integration and that the value that architectural design and structural design are not separate entities (and should have mutual appreciation) must be core and thoroughly promoted in architectural curricula. (And I admit that the importance of communication skills applies to engineers, who really should be able to draw.) As Andrew Charleson eloquently stated, “Structure is owned by both professions, and it must satisfy simultaneously the requirements of both—load-bearing as well as architectural expression.”
• Buildings for which structural performance is particularly important would require the professional services of a structural engineering specialist (a civil or architectural engineer). Examples might include buildings with significant size, long unsupported spans, or structural complexity. Buildings not invoking either of the above triggers would require the professional services of either an architect or a structural engineering specialist. Buildings invoking both triggers would require the professional services of both an architect and a structural engineering specialist. Architects and architectural engineers might be “grandfathered” in various ways. While it is probably impossible to develop clear and universal triggers, the professional services of an architect might be required for public buildings and for buildings beyond a certain size, height or occupancy; and the professional services of a structural engineering specialist (a civil or architectural engineer) might be required for buildings beyond a certain size, height, span, or occupancy.
The twenty-first century architectural practice demands forming integrated design teams that are compatible and share the same philosophy and view of the design process. By understanding and capitalizing on the opportunities presented by such collaborations, the possibility of producing great works of architecture, such as the body of work developed by Wright and Polivka, becomes an achievable reality.
Drawing of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, designed by Overland Partners. Overland Partners includes UTSOA alumni Rick Archer [B.Arch. '79], Bob Shemwell (M.Arch. '86], Tim Blonkvist [B.Arch. '81], Madison Smith [B.Arch. '80], and Robert Schmidt and Becky Rathburn.
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The Katrina Furniture Project: Community Design for Recovery
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Joins UT-Austin
America’s relationship to the environment has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, and few events have highlighted that relationship more than Hurricane Katrina. Much of the devastation of the storm was the result of misguided policies and the relationship and stewardship of an entire region’s ecology. What was less apparent in the news, though present in every photograph, was the tremendous amount of detritus created by Katrina. It is estimated that at least twenty million tons of building waste were created by the storm, an amount sufficient to build a series of Pyramids of Cheops that would surround the historic core. So what to do with all that building waste? A team of UTSOA architecture students working with Visiting Associate Professor Sergio Palleroni has been leading an effort by five U.S. universities to make what most Americans would consider landfill waste into a resource for the reconstruction of New Orleans.
On September 1, 2006, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center officially became an Organized Research Unit of the College of Natural Sciences and the School of Architecture.
In addition to designing, building, and promoting housing prototypes that will re-utilize the detritus, students have been designing furniture and workshops, which will become a resource for the local communities of New Orleans as they take on the reconstruction effort. The furniture-making workshops will train community members in the craft of making furniture and, where necessary, in the fundamentals of operating these workshops safely and according to fundamental business models. The workshops are intended to be multi-purpose in nature and function as neighborhood-based places of work, sites of learning, and community centers. Marketing of Katrina Furniture Workshop products will be handled by the business schools of participating universities, local banks, and Design Within Reach, the nation’s largest catalog furniture company.
Becoming a component of UTAustin will provide the Center with new opportunities for interdisciplinary work with University faculty and students on sustainable development projects, landscape restoration research, community engagement programs, and completion of its Garden Master Plan.
The Center will complement resources in place at the University, including courses in botany and landscape architecture and the Environmental Science Institute. It will extend research opportunities for faculty and students through the Environmental Science Institute and the Center for Sustainable Development. The Center was originally located in a small house on an undeveloped 60-acre plot of land east of Austin. In 1995, the Center moved to its present site and opened a complex of facilities
“The connection to the School of Architecture and its excellent landscape architecture program makes this especially exciting,” said Susan Rieff, executive director of the Wildflower Center. The Center includes more than 283 acres of landscapes, botanical gardens, and architecturally compelling buildings in Southwest Austin. The Center’s assets were transferred to the University, including its acreage, facilities, and substantially all of the Center’s endowment, valued at $8.5 million. “Such a union [is] a proud and happy one for me, and, I believe, in the best interests of the Center and the University,” said Lady Bird Johnson, who founded the Center in 1982. “My devotion to both is complete. The University opened the doors of the universe to me. By the time I had earned two degrees, I realized that education was the beginning of a quest that lasts, and it enabled in me a greater capacity to enjoy the world. These qualities emboldened me to establish the Center.”
designed as a model of total resource conservation by Overland Partners of San Antonio. In subsequent years, the center acquired an additional 236 adjoining acres. Its mission is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes.
Above: Entrance to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Las Crosse Avenue. The purple flowers in the foreground are Horsemint (Monarda citriodora). Photograph by Ronald Sprouse.
Already, the student designs from this past summer— when UT students joined forces with faculty and students from Art Center College of Design and the University of Washington—have drawn the attention of furniture designers and museums. Five pieces have been requested to be part of a major Smithsonian exhibit that will tour museums in the U.S. and Europe after premiering in New York’s Cooper Hewitt Museum in May 2007. Of the five, three pieces have been inducted into the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. For more information see www.basicinitiative.org or contact Sergio Palleroni at email@example.com. Platform • 2 1
FRIENDS OF ARCHITECTURE Our Mission Friends of Architecture (FOA) is an outreach and fundraising organization supported by a broad membership of architecture and design patrons, practitioners, and aficionados. FOA is devoted to advancing public understanding and appreciation of architecture, planning, and design through educational and involvement opportunities including publications, tours, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions. In addition, funds raised by Friends of Architecture directly support initiatives of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, enhancing the school’s capabilities and providing enriching learning opportunities for future architects and designers.
Above: Janet Sanders, Stephanie Palmer, Marlene & Jim Beckman, H.C. Carter and Lynnda Colby Carter pose with a young girl who had, along with her mother, helped prepare a traditional Purépechan breakfast for members of the “Michoacán -- Soul of Mexico” tour. Photograph provided by Stephanie Palmer. Right: John Teinert, Richard Davis, Susan Benz, Diana Keller, and Sally Fly take in a Hill Country view during Friends of Architecture’s “Hill Country Ranches” tour. Photograph by Charlotte Pickett.
Our Members Friends of Architecture invites all with a passion for superior architecture and design and a commitment to supporting excellence at the School of
• Complimentary copy of award-winning publication CENTER: Architecture and Design in America (Supporting and Director’s Circle) • Discounted reservations for FOA tours (Director’s Circle) • Name printed on FOA letterhead (Director’s Circle)
Architecture to join at one of the following annual, tax-deductible membership levels: Student, $25; Individual, $50; Organization, $150; Supporting, $500; Director’s Circle, $1,000. Member Benefits • Subscription to Platform magazine • Insightful reminders and biographies regarding the School’s calendar of lectures, symposia, and exhibitions
• School of Architecture’s biweekly e-mail publication, eNews • Invitations to join prominent architects, designers, and patrons at FOA receptions and educational tours Additional Benefits (Organization Level and above) • Three additional guest invitations to FOA events and tours (Organization, Supporting, and Director’s Circle)
Friends of Architecture Members Director’s Circle Mr. Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Marlene and Jim Beckman Beckman Construction Co. Mrs. Diane Cheatham Urban Edge Developers, Ltd. Joan and Steve Clark Mr. Tommy Cowan, FAIA John and Bibiana Dykema Mr. and Mrs. H. Mortimer Favrot, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. R. Jay Hailey, Jr. Ms. Diana Keller Mike and Abbe McCall Mr. George H. Mitchell University Co-Operative Society Ms. Judy Pesek Gensler Ms. Cathy Phillips Dale and Susan Rabe Courtney Walker Courtney and Company Supporting Members Mr. Myron Blalock, III Mr. Robert L. Davis
Mr. Willard Hanzlik Mr. and Mrs. Rick Hawkins Mr. Gary Joeris Ms. Debra Lehman-Smith Organizations Ackerman & Savage LLP Mr. D. Blake Alexander Mr. Dan Alexander 3D/International, Inc. Andrews Urban LLC Architectural Engineers Collaborative Barcus Homes Ms. Bobbie J. Barker Texas Gas Service Barley and Pfeiffer Architects Mr. David B. Barrow, AIA Baxter Design Group Braud Vicklund Braud Architects Mr. Russ Butler Elgin Butler Brick Co. Canadian Centre for Architecture Ms. Susie Clark Maharam Cooke + Skidmore Consulting Group
Mr. Gary Cunningham, FAIA Mr. Tim Debner Furman and Keil Architects Gay Ratliff Interiors Hoover & Associates, Inc. Lake/Flato Architects, Inc. Mr. Alan Lauck Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Lee Dr. Jorge Menendez MC2 Architects Mr. and Mrs. William B. Mitchell Mr. Clayton Morgan Mr. John Nyfeler, FAIA Mr. Patrick Ousey FAB Architecture Ms. Jane Cheever Powell Richard Drummond Davis, Architect Robert R. Coffee Architect & Associates Ms. Fern Santini Abode Ms. Cyndy Severson Severson Studios Shiflet Group Architects Mr. Robert F. Smith Mr. and Mrs. Steve Summers
Home of architect David Lake, of Lake/Flato Architects, visited during FOA’s “Contemporary San Antonio” tour. Photograph by Stephanie Palmer.
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Exclusive Tours A highlight of Friends of Architecture membership, FOA’s one-of-a-kind tours offer a unique environment for expressing your appreciation for art and architecture. Traveling to locations near and far, members have had the opportunity to tour significant regional, national, and international architecture and design, including exclusive access to interiors of notable homes, behind-the-scenes visits to museums and historic buildings, and walking tours of downtown districts and university campuses.
The University of Auckland The University of Texas at Dallas Individual Members Mr. Lex M. Acker, AIA Ms. Janet Allen Mr. Richard Archer, AIA Mr. Phillip Arnold Mr. John Avila, Jr. Mr. Jeff Ballas Mr. Derek Barcinski Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bardagjy Mrs. Elizabeth Barlow Rogers Ms. Laurie Barnes Mr. Paul Barr Mr. Mark Barry Mr. Marvin E. Beck, AIA Emeritus Mr. David Bentley Mr. Ken Bentley Ms. Susan Benz, AIA Mr. Edward Blaine Ms. Molly Block Ms. Rebecca Boles Mr. Thomas Bond Mr. Bill Booziotis, FAIA Ms. Diana Bravo-Gonzalez
Mr. Joe Bullock Mr. Guy Burnett Mr. Bryan Cady Mr. Henry R. Carranco Mr. Chris Carson Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Carter Mrs. Ruth Carter Stevenson Mr. and Mrs. Mark Chandler Ms. Laura Chase Ms. Elizabeth Chu Richter, AIA Mr. Dick Clark, AIA Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Clark Mr. Sherman Clarke Ms. Judith S. Cohen Mr. Kent Collins Mr. Larry Connolly, AIA Ms. Jeannette S. Cook Mr. James Coote Ms. Marty Craddock Mr. and Mrs. Juan Creixell Mr. and Mrs. Billy Crockett Mr. H. Hobson Crow, III Mr. James David Mr. & Mrs. John W. Davis Ms. Pat Davis Ms. Mandy Dealey Ms. Claire Dewar
FOA tours provide a richer, more complete experience, taking you beyond the standard travel guidebook. Paramount to this experience is our access to exclusive sites often closed to the general public. In addition, FOA relies on expert guides whose first-hand knowledge of our destinations allows them to provide fascinating, in-depth information, not to mention a wellrounded cultural experience with the finest of dining, shopping, and leisure activities. And, space on FOA tours is limited so you may share your passion for architecture and design with an intimate group.
of nouveau Texas cuisine in Fredericksburg and concluded the day with a picture-perfect sunset over the Llano River.
Recent Tours Among FOA’s behind-the-scenes tours of private homes, historic sites, and modern marvels, members recently spent a day traversing the scenic Texas Hill Country, touring exquisite ranch projects by architects Emily Little, Hobson Crow, and Lake/Flato. During the sold-out tour, members paused for a delicious lunch
FOA member Cyndy Severson designed an August 2006 tour, “Michoacán – Soul of Mexico.” The week-long excursion to colonial towns in Michoacán included tours of the historical town centers of Morelia and Pátzcuaro, the annual Copper Fair in Santa Clara del Cobre, exclusive visits to the homes and
Ms. Danae Durio Diana Sara Dodd and Keith Spickelmier Mr. and Mrs. David L. Dowler Ms. Leisa Durrett Ms. Debby Elliott Mr. and Mrs. David Escobedo Mr. Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA Ms. Patricia Fleming Mr. Stephen Fox Mr. Charles Fulton Mr. Robert W. Garrett Mr. Rick Geyer Mr. David Gill, AIA, MRAIC Mr. Enrique S. Gonzalez Mr. Mark Gonzalez, AIA Mr. and Mrs. Larry Good Mr. Stan Graham Ms. Carolyn Grant Mr. Mike Gray Mr. Jeremy Guiberteau Mr. Hozefa Haidery Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Hamilton Ms. Laurie Harberson Mr. Darwin Harrison Mr. Philip Hendren Ms. Jane U. Henry Mr. Irby Hightower
In March, Friends of Architecture members Gilbert and Suzanne Mathews designed a “Contemporary San Antonio” tour that included dinner at their lovely home. Among the other highlights of the tour were visits to private residences by Ken Bentley, Lake/Flato, FAB Architecture/Jim Poteet, and Alamo Architects, and a behindthe-scenes tour of the Retratos Exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Mr. Christopher Hill Mr. Nic Holland Mrs. Rhoda Barrier Hornaday Mr. Thomas N. Howe Mr. Dan Jackson Ms. Grace Johnston Dan Kagay and Charlotte Norris Mr. Kevin Keim Mr. and Mrs. Dean Kilgore Mr. Lou Kimball Mr. David Lake, FAIA Mr. Charles Lawrence, FAIA Mrs. Martha Leipziger-Pearce Mr. and Mrs. Jack Leon Ms. Lori Levy Ms. Emily Little Mr. Joseph Loiacono Mr. Graham B. Luhn, FAIA Mr. Francois Lux Mrs. Alice A. Lynch Ms. Deborah Maggart Ms. Meg Malone Mr. Warren Martin Mr. Gilbert Mathews Mr. Peter Flagg Maxson Mr. John Mayfield Ms. Jana McCann
artisan studios of sculptor Juan Torres, artists Ana Pellicer and Jim Metcalf, and cocktails at the private residence of the owner of the Villa Montaña Hotel and Spa. In addition, participants immersed themselves in Michoacán’s beautiful, mountainous landscapes, precisely detailed handicrafts, and unique local food and cultures. FOA’s memorable tour concluded with an incredible sunset dinner overlooking Morelia’s cathedral. Upcoming Tours February 3, 2007 — Dallas, Texas March 2007 — Rebuilding New Orleans November 2007 — Palm Springs, California FOA always welcomes new members and new ideas. For details on membership or upcoming tours, contact Stephanie Palmer at 512471-0617 or stephanie.palmer@ mail.utexas.edu.
Mr. Laurin McCracken, AIA Mr. and Mrs. Don B. McDonald Ms. Eleanor H. McKinney Ms. Heather McKinney Mr. Paul C. N. Mellblom, AIA Ms. Anna Miller Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Miller Ms. Ann Maddox Moore Mr. Mark F. Moore Mr. and Mrs. Bob Morris Mr. Douglas Moss Ms. Lisa Muncaster Dr. Donald Murphey Ms. Nan Nelson Mr. and Mrs. James Northrup, Jr. Mr. Lynn L. Northrup Ms. Linda Pace Mr. Gary Peese Mr. Chris Pellegrino Ms. Patti Peressini Mr. Charles Phillips Mr. John Pomeroy Mr. Jim Poteet Mr. Boone Powell, FAIA Leilah Powell and Scott Day Ms. Joan Reed Grace Riggan and Joshua Bowles
Jim and Marlene Beckman pause on a terrace of a 17th century private residence in Morelia during FOA’s “Michoacán -- Soul of Mexico” tour. Photograph by Stephanie Palmer.
Friends of Architecture visited this chapel gallery, designed and built by sculptor Juan Torres at his home and artist’s compound, during the “Michoacán -- Soul of Mexico” tour. Photograph by Stephanie Palmer.
Mr. Ron Roeder Ms. Tamara Rogers Mrs. Deedie Rose Ms. Janet Sanders Ms. Nancy Wilson Scanlan Mr. Paul Schoenfield Mr. Will Shepherd Mr. Dan Shipley, FAIA Mr. Madison Smith Ms. Sandra Bearden Smith Ms. Paula Sodders Mr. Lawrence W. Speck, FAIA Mr. and Mrs. Nelson H. Spencer Mr. and Mrs. Lars Stanley Mr. William Stern Ms. Jane K. Stott Ms. Sally Strickland Mr. Rodney D. Susholtz Mr. James Susman, AIA Mr. Jerry S. Sutton, AIA Dr. and Mrs. Karl Swann Dr. Robert Swearingen Mr. Jack Taylor Mr. John Greene Taylor Mr. John Teinert Mr. and Mrs. Paul Terrill Ms. Toni Thomasson
Ms. Helen Thompson Ms. Laura Toups, PE Dr. Grant Wagner Ms. Karen Walz Mr. David Webber Mr. Terrance R. Wegner Mr. Anthony J. Weisman Mr. Herbert Wells Mr. and Mrs. Ted Whatley Ms. Melissa Whitaker Dr. Gordon L. White Mr. Leon Whitney Ms. Paige Wilburn Mrs. Coke Anne Wilcox Ms. Roxanne Williamson Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Wilson Mr. H. H. Wommack Mr. Jerry L. Wright Mr. Tom Wright Mr. Christopher Yurkanan Student Members Ms. Sara Good Mr. Abdel Gutierrez Mr. Tom Hinson Mr. Kevin Olsen
Morelia Cathedral at night, as viewed from the restaurant of the Los Juaninos Hotel during FOA’s “Michoacán -- Soul of Mexico” tour. Photograph by Stephanie Palmer.
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ALUMNUS PROFILE: Andrew Vernooy [M.Arch. ‘78 & M.S.Arch.Eng. ‘90] From his desire at age 14 to work as an architect’s site representative to his ascension to Dean of the School of Architecture at Texas Tech, Andrew Vernooy has realized his lifetime aspiration—to be involved, on a daily basis, with the “future of design practice.” After receiving a civil engineering degree from Princeton, master’s degrees in architecture and engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and a master of design degree from Harvard, Andrew embarked on a partnership with Sinclair Black that, twenty-five years later, is still going strong. “I was Sinclair’s first full-time employee, and I had the opportunity to work on some very interesting architecture,” said D. Andrew Vernooy, [M.Arch. ‘78 & M.S.Arch.Eng. ‘90], Dean, Texas Tech.
Andrew. “He was a mentor to me at the University for both teaching and design, and he continues to inspire me today. In the mid-1990s, Andrew temporarily set aside his research and practice goals and joined the administration in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. He was intent on helping the School cultivate its valuable assets and spent five years devoted to that goal. His years at UT, along with his current three-year tenure at Texas Tech, have provided him with substantial insight into the role academia should play in developing today’s world. “We are at a critical point in our history. Will today’s curriculum evolve to meet tomorrow’s challenges, or will it continue to lag behind and dig itself further into
its own rarefied vision of itself?” says Andrew. “Today is a better time to begin an architecture education than ever before. We have better tools, we have a better sense of our history and theory, and we are better prepared for our ever broadening role in society—our pedagogy, engaged and project-driven, is the envy of every other discipline.” But the architecture pedagogy isn’t perfect, and Andrew is concerned that architectural innovations tend to come from practice, not academia, and that expanding technologies are leaving academia far behind. He believes that architecture education approaches the technology of production, as well as the technology of construction, with a nineteenth-century, “Beaux Arts” mentality. And that, despite many points of brilliance,
the logic of architecture education has evolved to neglect the practice from which it springs and the society that counts upon it to conceive of a better world. “Can a profession that is shrinking in size address the larger and more complex issues that face society—land use, global warming, demographic diversification, content-real virtual environments, increasing economic disparity, embedded energy, accessibility, global urbanification—and make a payroll?” asks Andrew. If, like Andrew, enough architecture disciples fulfill their lifetime aspirations, the answer to that question might just be “yes.” —Amy Maverick Crossette
On April 24, 2006, the School of Architecture hosted a reception for students, alumni, and professionals during the American Planning Association’s national conference in San Antonio. Pictured are Community and Regional Planning students (clockwise from left) Jasmin Smith, Pragati Srivastava, Ryan Sullivan, Sujin Hong, Marisa Ballas, and Emily Anderson. Photograph by Sarah Slovak.
Great Things for Alumni At the School of Architecture, we hope that all of our graduates, from last year to last century, feel a continued sense of connection to the School and to the University. We love hearing from and seeing our alumni, and we hope that you continue to see us as an educational leader in your field, a provider of continuing education opportunities, and a resource for staffing your offices and navigating your own career path. Of course, we also want to know how you are doing, as well as help you keep in touch with your former classmates and professors. Alumni Doing Great Things We want to hear from you. We encourage all alumni to contact Alumni Relations Director Stephanie Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-471-0617 to nominate alumni for almuni profiles, to share your personal and professional news, or to update your contact information.
On March 4, 2006, the School of Architecture invited alumni back to campus for an All-Class Reunion. Pictured are alumni from classes ranging from 1956 to 2005. Photograph by Charlotte Pickett.
Attention Class of 1957 50-Year Class Reunion, April 26-28, 2007
On April 27, 2006, alumni from the Class of 1956 gathered for their 50-year reunion. Pictured are Bob Arburn, Aubrey Hallum, Audrey Brians, Kendall Mower, Duke Squibb, Boone Powell, Richard Linden, Donus Ricks, and Bob Coffee. Photograph by Charlotte Pickett.
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ALUMNA PROFILE: Catherine Garvey MacMahon [B.S.I.D. ‘02] Catherine Garvey MacMahon was born with a creative mind, exuding an artistic flair. She was also born with an incredible aptitude for math. She has, her entire life, faced an endless hunger for nourishment from both the right side of her brain and the left side of her brain. So she did the only thing she could. She fed them both equally. Catherine received a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT-Austin in 2000. As a business major, she learned about the structure of economies and the power of marketing. In 2002, Catherine received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design. As an interior design major, she found that she could combine her propensity for math with her love of art. In 2006, Catherine received a Masters of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts. With her
master’s degree in hand, she transformed her educational experience into a unique life path experience—she discovered a course that integrated all three. “I am an independent artist/designer, developing my own body of work concentrating in textiles,” said Catherine. “I have brought my love of art and math together in a way that eludes a professional title because it is my own practice rooted in processes of making, writing and research.” Upon completion of her undergraduate degrees, Catherine left for San Francisco to work as a Designer/Job Captain with Mike
McCall at McCall Design Group. It was then that she discovered a longing for answers to questions that hadn’t been addressed in her undergraduate education. In her job, she was taking projects from schematic design, through design development, to construction drawings and following up with construction administration. While it was a tremendous learning experience, she realized she yearned for something more. “I had unanswered questions about the body, perception, space and time that continued to intrigue me. So, I decided to apply to graduate school hoping that a Masters of Fine Arts
would serve as a springboard into an independent practice, based on research and experimentation,” said Catherine. “I did. And that’s where I am today.” Reflecting on her personal experience as an undergraduate student, Catherine sees room for change in the curriculum. She is concerned that there is too little emphasis on teaching students how to think, to question, and to develop their own point of view. “Being a critical thinker in the world is an invaluable gift that higher education offers. It is a privilege that should not be wasted. It’s much more intriguing when a student comes from a program that teaches them to think not just about what life is, but about what life could be.” —Amy Maverick Crossette
Catherine Garvey MacMahon, [B.S.I.D. ‘02], artist/designer.
Images: Details of Catherine MacMahon’s thesis installation, “Becoming Bibliography,” which was made up of 35 pieces of cotton batiste (each screen-printed with a different portion of her written thesis) that were pleated and bound by string, then overdyed in indigo.
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UTSOA Advisory Council: Letter from the Chair As the newly inducted Chairman of the School of Architecture Advisory Council, I want to take this opportunity to share some insight into what the Advisory Council is and some of the exciting activity we are looking forward to in the coming months.
Advisory Council Vice-Chairman Michael J. McCall founded the award-winning McCall Design Group in 1989. The firm has collaborated with clients such as Banana Republic, GAP, Limited Brands, Pottery Barn, SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Sephora, Smith & Hawken, Kate Spade, Williams-Sonoma, and the W Hotels to create innovative spaces that enlighten the locations they occupy. Prior to founding McCall Design Group, Mr. McCall was an associate with Levikow and Associates in San Francisco and a member of the design team of Bonsignore, Brignati, and Mazzotta in New York City. Mr. McCall has taught at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the UT-Austin School of Architecture.
The UT-Austin School of Architecture Advisory Council is a group composed of distinguished professionals in a variety of fields, from architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design to real estate development, law, and medicine. Many of us are School of Architecture graduates, but what we all have in common is an interest in supporting School of Architecture programs, students, and faculty by committing our time, energy, connections, and dollars. Each year, we watch the School’s students and faculty working together to achieve amazing things, and we want to help the School reach further and exceed even its own standards of excellence. Our Objectives • To assist in obtaining financial support for students, faculty, programs, and facilities • To promote the status of the School by participating in the development and execution of effective communication to alumni and the public at large through events, publications, and personal contact • To provide advice in pedagogical and curriculum issues as they relate to the architectural and design professions • To assist in the recruitment of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. Further, to assist in placement and advancement of graduates
• To assist in interpreting to the community the missions and activities of the School of Architecture In the coming months, all of us on the Advisory Council will be working together to help raise funds for some of the School of Architecture’s exciting short-term priorities. These priorities have been selected with the help of Dean Fritz Steiner and School of Architecture faculty. While diverse, these initiatives do not represent the full scope of amazing projects and programs at the School. They are, however, some key areas of activity that are either historically under-funded in spite of their importance, or are new initiatives of the School just taking off and ready to go far beyond expectations with our support. In helping these projects meet their funding needs, we help the School free up resources for other activities and identify new projects for which to campaign. Our Short-Term Fundraising Priorities • Recruitment funds for best incoming graduate students in all disciplines • Exhibition fund—retention support for graduate students; for example, the Venice Biennale, fall 2006 • Community service learning fellowships—retention support for Community and Regional Planning students • Dallas Urban Laboratory • Fully-funded lecture series and faculty travel • Solar Decathlon, fall 2007
Advisory Council Vice-Chairman Gregory “Kent” Collins is principal of a small real estate development firm, Centro Partners, which specializes in mixed-use urban development, primarily residential. He is currently developing an urban multifamily project at the Domain Shopping Center in Austin; a 250-unit urban multifamily project in Uptown Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a 42-unit condominium project in central Austin. Kent has a long history in preservation from being a student of Professor Emeritus Wayne Bell at UT-Austin, managing two Texas Main Street Projects, and volunteering on the Historic Resources Committee of AIA Los Angeles, Executive Committee member at Preservation Dallas, and board member of the Midtown Management District in Houston, Texas. Pl at f orm • 2 6
We are excited about all of our activity in the coming months. I also want to take this time to welcome new Council members Don DeBord, Karen Hawkins, Dick Lillie, Lenore Sullivan, and Kathy Zarsky. And, I want to thank Susan Benz for her leadership as Chair for the past two years; Susan helped us determine our active role in supporting the School, and we are excited to build on the energy and momentum she created. Also, thanks to the new Vice-Chair, Kent Collins, for his enthusiasm and ideas. If you are interested in learning more about the School of Architecture Advisory Council or our fundraising initiatives, please contact Annie Laurie Sánchez at email@example.com or 512-471-1922. Sincerely,
UTSOA Advisory Council Chair: Mike McCall, AIA Vice Chair: Kent Collins Past Chair: Susan Benz, AIA Executive Committee: Bill Booziotis, FAIA; Diane Cheatham; Gary Cunningham, FAIA; Diana Keller; John Nyfeler, FAIA; Dan Shipley, FAIA Faculty Representatives: Vince Snyder, Larry Speck Members Lexa Acker, AIA Emeritus Frank Aldridge, III Richard Archer, III, FAIA Phillip Arnold, Hon. ASLA John Avila, Jr. Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Bobbie Barker
David Barrow, Jr., AIA Marvin Beck, AIA Emeritus Ken Bentley Myron Blalock, III Hal Box Dick Clark, III, AIA Tommy Cowan, FAIA Hobson Crow, III, AIA Donald DeBord, Jr. Bibiana Dykema, AIA Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA R. Lawrence Good, FAIA Charles Gromatzky R. Jay Hailey, Jr. Karen Hawkins Kenneth Hughes Ellen King Reed Kroloff, AIA David Lake, FAIA Alan Lauck Charles Lawrence, FAIA Richard Lillie, FAICP Graham Luhn, FAIA Patricia Mast Gilbert Mathews Jana McCann Laurin McCracken, AIA William Mitchell Judith Pesek Charles Phillips Boone Powell, FAIA Leilah Powell Gay Ratliff Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA Elizabeth Barlow Rogers Deedie Rose Cyndy Severson William Shepherd, AIA Madison Smith Lenore Sullivan Emily Summers Jerry Sutton, AIA Helen Thompson Laura Toups Karen Walz, FAICP David Watkins, FAIA Terrance Wegner Gordon White, M.D. Coke Anne Wilcox Kathleen Zarsky
UTsolarD 2007: A House Designed by the Sun Life in Balance Consider this: Enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface every hour to meet the world’s energy demand for an entire year. Consider this when you bask in its warmth, when you see your garden grow, when you reach for your hat to shade your skin. More for your consideration: PV modules covering 0.3% of the land in the U.S. (equivalent to onefourth the area currently occupied by railroads) could provide all of the electricity needs in the United States.* In addition, we can reduce the amount of energy a building uses by 50% to 80% with little or no extra cost, simply through good design. Committed to the “potential energy” of good design, the UTsolarD team is hard at work on a new solar-powered dwelling for entry in the next U.S. Solar Decathlon slated for fall 2007. As a design/build initiative, the project serves as a pedagogical method to link architectural and environmental engineering theory to practice. In the translation from drawing to building, students gain a special respect for each other’s disciplines and for the scope and character of materials and systems—their tolerance, performance, weight, and measure. Blending design questions with economic questions, and technical questions with social questions, the team is turning an environmental challenge into environmental research, founded upon principles of collaboration— between designer and builder, between engineer and architect, between a building and its environment.
The BLOOMhouse embodies the UTsolarD team’s fun and playful personality with true Texas spirit. On the south elevation, louvered awnings reminiscent of old Texas dance halls unfold to regulate solar gain and air flow through the interior. The east side of the home is a convertible “room” that can be entirely opened up to the outdoors, allowing for natural light, breezes, and movement to flow. The crown jewel of BLOOMhouse is the Dutchtub, a portable “boundless bathing” hot tub that will reside on the large eastern deck. The playful hand-cast resin tub requires no electricity or plumbing; it is heated by the natural circulation of water through a wood-fired stainless steel coil, or it can be powered by the BLOOMhouse solar-thermal system. The expression of passive and active systems throughout the home reveals the clear relationship between a home and its inhabitants; you are a direct participant in the life of the house, making it easy to reduce your energy costs and live life in better balance. The success of the BLOOMhouse in next year’s competition remains to be seen—but the team is already making news. As winner of the preliminary competition hosted by BP Solar, UTsolarD was awarded a set of BP Solar 7190 photovoltaic modules (190 watts/panel) valued at around $50,000. The panels will be arranged in a 6.65 kW array on the butterfly-style roof, tilted at an optimized angle. An innovative linear reflector will bounce additional solar radiation onto the PV panels to maximize their energy collection.
Life in Bloom The 2007 UTsolarD design—known as the BLOOMhouse—is based upon five principles of LIFE—community, adaptability, harvest, endurance, and delight. Integrating flexible living spaces with organic, intelligent systems, the students are creating a high-performance home that will help change the way people think about energy, demonstrating ways to live life in better balance with the power of the sun. The exterior of the house performs like a layer of clothing, responding and adapting to its surroundings as needed, in coordination with highefficiency systems—including radiant floors, an evaporative-cooling water trough, and LED lighting—that lower the overall energy use while providing comfort and delight throughout the seasons.
Life in Collaboration The University of Texas at Austin Solar Decathlon Team, known as UTsolarD, is a collaborative research group of more than 30 students and faculty from architecture, interior design, landscape, fine arts, advertising, engineering, and business disciplines directed through The University of Texas School of Architecture and its Center for Sustainable Development. UTsolarD is one of 20 university teams selected to design, build, and operate an 800-square-foot solar house for entry in the next international SolarDecathlon, to be held in the fall of 2007. The competition is organized by the U.S. Department of Energy and will be hosted on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the homes will be open to judging and public exhibition. The participating teams will be evaluated in ten contests, including architecture, engineering, market viability, and communications.
* Source: Solar Energy International, 2004.
Embracing feedback loops between design and engineering, between material and its measure, the UTsolarD team seeks to demonstrate Vitruvius’ own “virtuous” balance of architecture—as a collaboration among firmness, commodity, and delight, the BLOOMhouse presents robust, technological, and, yes, beautiful possibilities for life under this Texas sun. —Samantha Randall, Assistant Professor UTSolarD 2007 Faculty Advisor
To learn more about the team and the BLOOMhouse (or to help sponsor the team!), visit www.utsolard.org and www.solardecathlon.org.
Images: Above: BLOOMhouse east day view by fifth-year architecture student Jeff Barajas. Above right: BLOOMhouse east night view by Jeff Barajas. Right: Systems drawing by fifth-year architecture student Alex Miller. Platform • 2 7
UTSOA FALL 2006 EVENTS LECTURES 10.4 Kevin Harrington Ruth Carter Stevenson Chair UT-Austin
11.8 Jerry van Eyck West 8 Rotterdam, The Netherlands Sponsored by Dallas Urban Lab
10.9 Stanford Anderson M.I.T. Cambridge, Massachusetts Sponsored by Escobedo Construction
11.13 Dietmar Eberle Baumschlager + Eberle Lochau, Austria
10.12 Rui Yang Tsinghua University Beijing, China 10.13 Lisa Switkin Field Operations New York, NY 10.16 Marcelo Villafañe Rosario, Argentina O’Neil Ford Lecture Series 10.19 Rafael Iglesia Rosario, Argentina O’Neil Ford Lecture Series
11.20 Ulrich Dangel UT-Austin 11.21 Francisco Mangado Pamplona, Spain SYMPOSIUM 11-16 Design—E2 Forum Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity; Sergio Palleroni and Steven Moore, UTSOA EXHIBITS 9-13 - 10-4 Material An exhibition of materials from the UTSOA Materials Lab
10.23 Constance Adams Futron/NASA JSC/Synthesis International Houston, Texas
10-9 - 10-31 Eladio Dieste, A Principled Builder Photographs by Yoshihiro Asada Sponsored by Escobedo Construction
10.30 Ethel Buisson Studio Ethel Buisson Montreuil, France
11-8 - 12-2 Baukunst Contemporary Architecture in Vorarlberg, Austria
All lectures at 5:00 p.m. in Goldsmith Hall 3.120, 22nd & Guadalupe Streets, except where noted. Exhibits in Goldsmith Hall Mebane Gallery, open 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. Events subject to change. For updates, call 512-471-1922 or visit our website, soa.utexas.edu. The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture 1 University Station B7500 Austin, Tx 78712-0222
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