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Design: The Art of Constraints

Outside forces, often at odds with natural systems, altered the regional context of the city. Now, we have the challenge to apply the best knowledge of our time to rebuild the region. We should again begin with understanding natural constraints. Creative designs can emerge from such beginnings.

Frederick R. Steiner, Dean

Right: UT-Austin School of Architecture Dean Frederick R. Steiner. Photograph by Marsha Miller.

Design is essential to architecture, but the two words are not synonymous. Architecture goes beyond the creative conceiving of form and directly engages the physical making of buildings and places. Certainly, construction is also a creative enterprise, and design doesn’t stop at the computer screen or drawing board; but architecture encompasses broader considerations, the coming to grips with the realities of environmental, technical, and financial constraints. Other design disciplines face constraints as well. In my first design discipline, the limits were self imposed. A bevy of Swiss graphic designers in Basel laid down detailed rules for spacing the distances between black and white objects on surfaces. This makes sense in Switzerland, with its three principal languages where easy-to-understand symbols have considerable practical values. Unfortunately, at Baselfaithful Cincinnati, I was not introduced to more subversive Polish or funky West Coast approaches to graphic design. I found the Swiss limitations too constraining.

Nature’s constraints, a primary consideration in landscape design, offer as many possibilities as limitations. While balancing the opportunities and constraints established by the nature of a place, landscape architects also pay considerable attention to people. When designing a campus, they watch where people walk on their own. These “desire lines” are then incorporated in the site design. On the other end of the design process, landscape architects continue to create through the construction process. Cans of spray paint can be as useful as CAD in this regard. One afternoon, I watched landscape architect Gary Smith draw on the earth the location of paths and walls in

As the guest editor of Platform: Design (whose design identity is it anyway?), I solicited faculty, alumni, and students of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture to contribute their work and thoughts. The issue is dedicated to design, as it exists in, around, and beyond the school but, nonetheless, in relation to it. How do we—students, practitioners, and teachers—position ourselves within the world? Where do we go from here? By exploring the past, present, and future of design, we discover a rich diversity that emerges from this place. The timeline highlights events, people, and buildings that have contributed to the design identity of the school, as well as those associated with the institution. —Nichole Wiedemann Pl at f orm • 2

our backyard. This takes considerable courage and confidence. He has no eraser or delete button. A construction crew builds what Gary draws a few hours later. We live with these marks for years to come. On a larger scale, ecological constraints should inform the planning of communities and regions. The rebuilding of the Gulf Coast Region after last year’s Hurricane Katrina offers an example. When the French sited New Orleans in the early eighteenth century, they used the best information of their day. They understood the ecological constraints of the Mississippi Delta and built the city on higher ground. New Orleans thrived as a result of that wisdom.

Design involves art and skill, the art to conceive of form and structure, the skill to represent that concept. Design sets in motion the organization of elements from words on the printed page to shrubs in a garden. A composition results from this arrangement, this artful and skillful organization of things. Which brings us back to design and architecture. Mature architects incorporate all the various constraints into their designs. The most accomplished architects understand precedent and appreciate the realities of construction, as well as the possibilities of aesthetics. The wise architect has read Vitruvius and thinks broadly. For a design to last, an architect needs to respect environmental, cultural, and economic realities. So if design is not synonymous with architecture, it is certainly essential.

Platform Published by the School of Architecture The University of Texas at Austin Design • Spring 2006 Managing Editor: Pamela Peters Guest Editor: Nichole Wiedeman Design: The Art of Constraints by Frederick R. Steiner


Community Outreach: Dallas Urban Laboratory


Friends of Architecture


Stand in the Dweller’s Shoes by Lou Kimball


Identity, Design Attitudes, and Intentions at The University of Texas at Austin by Hal Box


Changing Paradigms: Design Methods for Beginning Design Students by Smilja Milovanovic-Bertram and Joyce Rosner


out there in the middle by J. Brantley Hightower


Materials and Customization by Billie Faircloth


Saarinen’s Horse by Fred Clarke


DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS by Louise Harpman


Francisco Arumí-Noé Memorial Fellowship in Sustainable Design


Friends of Architecture Membership


UTSoA SolarD Thanks Sponsors for Their Success


UTSoA Spring 2006 Events


The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture 1 University Station B7500 Austin, TX 78712-0222 512-471-1922 FAX 512-471-0716 To our Readers: We welcome any ideas, questions, or comments. Feel free to share your thoughts with Editor Pamela Peters at the above e-mail address. Platform • 3

COMMUNITY OUTREACH... Dallas Urban Laboratory The UTSoA Dallas Urban Laboratory As part of one of the fastest growing regional metropolises in North America, Dallas can expect its population to double over the next few decades. The resulting demand on resources will generate significant developmental pressure upon the infrastructure of the city. As Dallas evolves over the next few decades, The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture aspires to play a significant role in addressing these challenges through the establishment of the the Dallas Urban Laboratory, a permanent urban design workshop located in Dallas, beginning in spring 2007.

ENVISIONING DALLAS: From Triangle to Trinity Dallas Arboretum May 2, 2006 Register online at: architecture/events/ envisioningdallas/

KEY FEATURES OF THE DALLAS URBAN LAB Urban Lab Studio • The Urban Lab Studio will host town hall meetings and exhibitions where Dallas stakeholders will be invited to speak and respond to the urban design ideas generated in the Urban Lab Studio. • The Urban Lab Studio will also welcome local student tours that will expose the next generation to smart growth principles. Summer Research Lab • The Summer Research Lab will conduct in-depth studies of issues such as transportation and urban density connected to the global networks and regional linkages affecting the greater metropolis. • In addition, the laboratory will acquire and maintain a digital database pertaining to the greater Dallas metropolitan area. The 3D database will be available as a resource for the community and be used to help visualize potential project proposals.



Urban Lab Co-op Program • The Dallas Urban Laboratory will provide its student participants the additional opportunity to co-op half-time with Urban Lab partner firms in the areas of architecture, community and regional planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, or urban development.

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Urban Developers High School Summer Program • Each summer, the Dallas Urban Laboratory will pair local, inner-city high school students with Urban Lab partner professional firms and organizations for summer internships to learn more about the design, planning, and development fields.

UT-Austin School of Architecture established in the College of Engineering.

First B.S. in architecture granted.

Envisioning Dallas: Symposium To get the project off the ground, the School is planning to host the “Envisioning Dallas” Symposium in Dallas on May 2, 2006, to bring together a diverse group of specialists, community leaders, and stakeholders to help us explore the critical issues underlying the future growth of Dallas. You may register online now for this exciting event, proceeds of which will support the establishment of the Dallas Urban Laboratory. For more information about how you can sponsor this important outreach project or become an Urban Lab partner firm in the Dallas Urban Laboratory’s Co-op Program, please contact Assistant Dean Kris Vetter at or 512-471-6114.



The Dallas Urban Laboratory will bring the UT-Austin School of Architecture’s world-class faculty and students to Dallas each spring and summer to conduct design explorations and local research into large urban issues. Topics for study include affordable housing, expanding mass transit, and downtown revitalization efforts. The Dallas Urban Laboratory will work cooperatively with other local organizations in community activities such as design workshops, demonstration projects, and public information meetings. Through the Laboratory, the School will assist decision makers in considering how good design can support the revitalization of old communities, the development of new ones, and the protection of the natural and historic resources of the area.

Battle Hall, designed in 1911 by Cass Gilbert, houses the Architectural and Planning Library, the Alexander Architectural Archive, the Center for American Architecture and Design, the Center for Sustainable Development, and faculty offices. © J. M. Kuehne Collection, The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

FRIENDS OF ARCHITECTURE local residential architecture, from remodeled territorial adobe to new minimalist construction.

Our Mission Friends of Architecture (FOA) is a non-profit, member-supported organization devoted to advancing public understanding and appreciation of architecture, planning, and design. FOA achieves its mission by providing enriching educational and involvement opportunities through publications, tours, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions. Our Members Friends of Architecture members are patrons, practitioners, and aficionados committed to increasing knowledge and awareness of superior architecture, and supporting excellence at The University of Texas School of Architecture. Members have the opportunity to tour significant regional, national, and international architecture and design, including exclusive access to interiors of notable homes, behind-the-scenes tours of museums and historic buildings, and walking tours of downtown districts and university campuses.


Exclusive Tours One of the premier benefits of Friends of Architecture membership, FOA’s one-of-a-kind tours offer a unique environment for refining your appreciation for art and architecture. Gaining exclusive access to fascinating sites, FOA provides richer experiences and more complete tours than one would find elsewhere. In addition, FOA relies on expert guides with first-hand knowledge of our destinations.

Additional Benefits (Organization Level and above) • Three additional guest invitations to FOA events and tours (Organization, Supporting, and Director’s Circle) • 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)

Member Benefits • Subscription to Platform magazine • Reminders and biographies regarding the School’s calendar of lectures, symposia, and exhibitions • Bi-weekly e-mail publication, eNews • Invitations to join prominent architects, designers, and patrons at FOA receptions and educational tours

FOA’s behind-the-scenes tours access historic sites and modern marvels. Recent destinations include Marfa, Texas, where we toured the impressive contemporary works of the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd, John Chamberlain, and Dan Flavin. Keeping with the exclusivity of FOA tours, we were also welcomed into private residences to experience the broad spectrum of

First Bachelor of Architecture granted.


Modernist France June 21 through July 1, Associate Professor Larry Doll will lead FOA on the long-awaited “Modernist’s Tour of France and Switzerland.” The tour will include overnight stays in Paris, Basel, Luzern, and Zurich, with additional excursions along the way. Founding director of the School’s European Study Abroad Program, Professor Doll will share his passion for modern works of art and architecture while treating members to the ultimate cultural experience. The tour will include visits to works by Le Corbusier and Jean Nouvel, and a day at Peter Zumthor’s baths at Vals. Upcoming Tours Feb. 4 — Hill Country Ranches March 25 — San Antonio June 21-July 1 — Modernist’s Tour of France and Switzerland TBA — Michoacán, Mexico TBA — Palm Springs TBA — Seattle TBA — Dallas


1. FOA “Garden and Villas of Rome” tour members enjoy a relaxing lunch with a view of Pirro Ligorio’s Villa d’Este. Photograph provided by Kris Muñoz Vetter. 2. Notre Dame du Haut Chapel at Ronchamp, France, designed by Le Corbusier in the mid-1950s. Photograph by Larr y Doll. 3. UNESCO world heritage site, Villa d’Este in Tivoli, near Rome. Photograph by Paul Vetter.

FOA always welcomes new members and new ideas. For details on membership or tours, contact Stephanie Palmer at 512-4710617 or stephanie.palmer@


Traveling to locations near and far, FOA tours provide a well-rounded cultural experience. We allow ample leisure time for personal exploration, and we keep our groups small so you can share your passion for architecture and design with an intimate group.


Becoming a Friend FOA invites all with a passion for architecture and design to join at one of the following annual membership levels: Student, $25; Individual, $50; Organization, $150; Supporting, $500; Director’s Circle, $1,000.

During his “Gardens and Villas of Rome” tour, Dean Fritz Steiner treated members to the breathtaking Vatican Gardens and Raphael’s closed-to-the-public Villa Madama. Also, our recent “Houston Collection” tour took us inside five private residences, including a tour by famous interior designer Herbert Wells of three of his residential projects.

Program for “Architect’s Wind-up,” 1934. Courtesy the Alexander Architectural Archive, The University of Texas at Austin.

Platform • 

Stand in the Dweller’s Shoes by Lou Kimball My clients are so excited about their new house. So trusting … after all, their primary reason for hiring an architect is the belief that the resulting design will improve their lives, that it will somehow be tailored to them in ways that an existing house could never be. It is the architect’s role to enable people to be, to create surroundings in which people see themselves reflected and enriched. There exists a symmetry of ignorance in our relationship. The dweller is largely ignorant of the possibilities of form-making, and I am ignorant of any true understanding of the dweller’s spirit; yet, it is this spirit that must guide the design process. I ask them to bring in artifacts—objects that are important to them, things they have cherished over the years (or photos of them). It is important to see the objects that people have developed deep emotional attachments to. They are used to personalize the space around us. They can help to reveal the spirit of the dweller. I need to understand the patterns of their lives—their rituals, those familiar activities of the dwellers, those often repeated small pleasures of living that currently are not being enriched by the anonymous house. The house should enhance the act of dwelling, for these particular people. It’s their house, not mine. It should be an ego-less, collaborative process, with me providing an education about the possibilities of form making. As Lars Lerup said, “The designer must relinquish control of the meaning making to the dwellers themselves, and realize that the built setting is only one of the aspects of the semantics of space.” For their home to have meaning to them, it must cease to be anonymous.


At our very first meeting, clients often bring in images clipped from magazines. Images do not help. In fact, they hurt the process, since they are anonymous, not authentic. When we talk about the pictures they brought, I try to steer the conversation to why they responded to the image. Was it the way the light came through the window, the way the breeze rustled the curtains, the coziness of the window seat? We talk about making places, not images, about substance, not style. We talk about the expressive nature of materials, about how it might feel to touch that railing if it were wood, or, if it were steel. How it might feel to sit on that stone bench in the shade looking out at the garden in the sunlight beyond. I want them to be thinking in those terms, to realize that they can describe spaces in a more intuitive and poetic way, rather than the more normal: “We need a kitchen that is about 14 feet by 16 feet.”

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Lou Kimball is a graduate of the UT-Austin School of Architecture [B.Arch. '88] and has specialized in residential design since 1992. He sees design as a collaborative process and is constantly searching for meaningful ways to engage the client to ensure that their individuality is expressed in the architecture.


It is too soon to be using words like “kitchen.” Opportunities for new ways of looking at things are missed. People often scoff at Christopher Alexander’s use of terms like “children’s realm,” but the fact is that he is generalizing the more specific “room,” and opening up possibilities of expanded meaning and purpose. In addition, he is setting a mood, giving implications for the increased importance of the dweller, or the activity of dwelling, as opposed to the physical consruct (room).

Department of Architecture moves into Paul Cret-designed Goldsmith Hall.

National Architecture Accreditation Board awards program accreditation.


I give my clients an assignment—a list of questions to encourage them to dream a little, to write about places that they remember, spaces that appeal to them, the comforting details of their lives. I tell them to try to think in terms of: “Let’s have a sunny place, but with some shade nearby, with comfortable places to sit.” Here are a few examples written by the clients for the Canyon View house: I feel good in light. I love breezes as they flow through a house, rustling curtains, disturbing papers on my desk. I like to slide across dusty floors in my bare feet. I like to hear the rhythm of the day. I like to feel in control. I like to feel safe. I want to escape the harsh sunlight. I want to feel the warm sun on my skin when it is cold outside. Open windows and outside sounds of birds, breeze. Water as part of the house.


Drawings and photographs courtesy of Lou Kimball: 1. Preliminary sketch. 2. Loggia. 3. Living area. 4. Pool linking public and private areas.

Together, we develop a “motto”—a statement that can be used to guide us in the design process. As an example, one of my clients, when describing the way he envisioned a place to read, said “the kind of place that would make me wish I smoked a pipe.” The motto for the Canyon View house became: “solid and secure, a dance with light and breeze.”

Photograph #2 by Patrick Y. Wong, Wong Atelier Photography. Photographs #3 and #4 by Tre Dunham.

Karl Kamrath [B.Arch. ‘34] first met Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946 at Taliesin, following Kamrath’s discharge from the Army Corps of Engineers. This photograph was taken three years later when Wright came to Houston to accept the AIA Gold Medal. (Kamrath’s son Tom is also an alumnus of the School and son Karl Jr. has a B.S. in Arch.Eng.) Photograph provided by the Kamrath family.




I develop my own list of words and phrases as I draw and sketch that respond to the client’s desires as expressed in their writing, always trying to capture, through the use of materials and their connections, the spirit expressed by the clients. This is not to say that the programmatic requirements are ignored, but rather that by keeping the conceptual foremost, the choices made to satisfy the program also enrich the patterns of the client’s lives.

Students in costume at the annual “Architect’s Wind-up” ball, ca. 1950. Photograph by Stanley DePwe. Courtesy The Alexander Architectural Archive, The University of Texas at Austin.

Platform • 

Identity, Design Attitudes, and Intentions of The University of Texas at Austin by Hal Box, Dean, 1976-1992 The School’s design lineage began in 1909 with the École de Beaux-Arts as its model. It was a time when many different historic styles were studied and applied in the design studio; drawings were skillfully rendered in large watercolor compositions and India ink from a ruling pen or crow quill. The School’s location in the College of Engineering made it perhaps more pragmatic than an architecture school would have been in a College of Fine Arts. The two complementary disciplines, arts and engineering, with a faculty educated in the beaux-arts tradition was the background that guided the first generation of architects to graduate in Texas.


By 1935, design in the school, and in the profession, sought a kind of stripped-down classicism. Examples were the Masonic Lodge of Dallas by the first graduate of the School, Thomas Broad. On campus, you can see similarities to the Texas Memorial Museum by John Staub and Hogg Auditorium by Paul Cret, master planner of the UT-Austin campus. But, when construction began again after World War II, Modernism was in command. When I entered the architecture school in the mid-1940s, the School had just recently labored through a transition to a whole new world of architecture, that of Modernism. The École was gone, and Modernism was in. The 1945 model for an architecture school was the Bauhaus—as transplanted in the U.S.

However, there was not a total acceptance of the dominant International Style Modernism in the UT-Austin school. Although most of the faculty had been educated in the manner of the beaux-arts, the younger faculty experienced that tradition on the wane. Still active were a number of styles—Art Modern, Art Deco, Classicism, Eclecticism, and various revivals, as well as Regionalism. The University of Texas at Austin, a long way from the epicenters of Modernism on the East Coast and Europe, felt free to look at some of the other less dominant directions of the Modernist movement. We were aware of the International Style, but we were also enthusiastic about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Elliel Saarinen, Oscar Neimeyer, as well as the regional architectural expressions of architects David Williams (1890-1962) and O’Neil Ford (1902-1985), who became mentor to many. These several forces activated the design studios of the time; it was less like different styles than it was the different philosophies of the individual architects on the leading edge. Styles had become “dishonest” in the new ideology.


With the influence of Regionalism, an acknowledgement of Modernism, and a respect for Mr. Wright, the School went in search of a new dean in 1950. They chose an influential California architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris (1903-1990), who was extraordinarily sensitive to all three design directions in his own highly admired work. Harris represented a fusion of the three sets of values and had promise of leading the way. To explore design under the influences of the International Style, Wright, and Regionalism, Harris and the soon-to-befamous Colin Rowe (19201999), gathered an energetic, international, bright, young faculty that would eventually call themselves “The Texas Rangers.” This new faculty had of course abandoned the old architecture, but they also questioned the tenets of Modernism, having a deep respect for regional design issues. They were on an exciting quest for regional directions in Modernism, but the Modernism of Europe and the East Coast

overwhelmed them. In fact, that is where they retreated after a few years, to shape other design curricula at architecture schools of importance—Cornell, Syracuse, and Cooper Union. It was an exceptional group, but the opportunity for fusion of the three design directions was lost to the zeitgeist. It should be noted that historical architectural traditions were, by now, completely abandoned. And, in the larger arena, the ground swell of International Style Modernism covered up the spectacular earlier work of other promising movements—the Modernismo of Barcelona, the Secessionist of Vienna, and the Art Nouveau/ Art Deco of Paris. The architect’s ability to extend and enrich the designs of the preceding era, the historic lineage of architecture, was lost; the artisans died out. The focus was on Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and continued, unquestioned, through the 1950s and early 1960s. I moved to the Mies camp.


Modernism took total command of architectural education. It was exciting for us to think that we

were washing away the past and replacing it with something we would invent on our own clean piece of paper; that we would not have to learn the classical orders, proportions, or compositions. Modernism was becoming an ideology impenetrable by any other intellectual or artistic force—so strong, it was considered a moral imperative rather than a style. It was thrilling to be part of the revolution.

Hal Box, FAIA [B.Arch. ‘50], ties together much of the history of the School, having been a student, a graduate, an apprentice to the School’s first graduate (1910), a partner with another graduate (James Pratt) for 25 years, the Dean of the School for 16 years, continuing as a professor, and now a Professor Emeritus living in Austin and San Miguel de Allende. He received The University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.

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Community and Regional Planning Program established.

briefly… The purists were overwhelmed in the late sixties by new resolve to address social issues—housing and neighborhood planning. It became an almost single-issue emphasis that usurped all finesse of design issues and building systems. It de-emphasized drawing to the point that a semester project might be pinned-up for review with a few photographs and some scraps of butter paper. Yet, it emphasized another set of human needs that the architect needed to handle. The School addressed those social concerns by creating an initiative in East Austin called “ The Poor Man’s FHA,” where local banks were convinced by the School to make loans on houses and remodeling previously unavailable to the poor. Students designed improvements and worked on their construction. Studios seemed to examine everything except the architecture of buildings. Few, if any, thought about style—from Beaux Arts to Bauhaus to plain house in 60 years. The 1960s later saw the beginnings of energy conservation and environmental concerns, which by the early 1970s was driving the attitudes in the studios. This new regard for the environment also caused a special interest in context, in place, and in relating to the local culture. About this same time, a new interest in historic preservation created another issue with vitality and a wide-ranging influence as architects began to look at old buildings and realize their merit. While the ideal of Modernism had been to replace all old buildings with something new, archi-


While architects were exploring the larger environment, such issues were explored from another point of view with the addition of a new graduate program in Community and Regional Planning started by Hugo Leipziger-Pearce. The program grew to importance in the region, providing planning policy scholarship and educated professionals for government and consulting practices. The difference in scale and viewpoint would be tied together with urban design later in the 1990s, but for then, it offered reality to the broadening interests of the architect.

tects started looking at historic buildings and saw their attitude toward Modernism as style, or moral imperative, modified to follow the development of PostModernism with a new set of heroes influencing the studios. Again, Texas did not buy into these influences as much as some others like Princeton and Yale, but at this time, Texas was not considered in their league—we were known as a competent professional school serving the region without much of a national reputation. This would change.

The emphasis on social, environmental, and energy issues throughout the mid-1970s resulted in there being so few drawing tables in the School that we had to buy 200 new tables. Drawing came back strong in the late 1970s, as did the emphasis on well-conceived and skillfully executed design with a comprehensive view of the issues rather than a single purpose design idea. The various design directions were a reflection of what

We realized in the early 1980s that we needed to present architectural education as a discipline rather than just learn how to practice. We needed to broaden our approach, and we especially needed to build research and scholarship capabilities. We initiated this view of architecture as a discipline with the creation of the Center for the Study of American Architecture and Design led by Lawrence Speck, and later by Michael Benedikt and Kevin Alter. In addition, we felt the discipline required the inclusion of interior design and landscape architecture and set these as goals, which were finally accomplished by Dean Speck and Dean Frederick Steiner.

1. Hal Box. Photograph by J. B. Johnson [B.Arch. ‘53]. 2. Faculty of the UT-Austin School of Architecture, 1954-55. 3. Michael Graves taught an advanced design studio in the mid-70s, where he designed (and the students painted) the painting now hanging in the Dean’s Office in Goldsmith Hall. 4. Natalie DeBlois in her Sutton Hall office with students, c. 1980s.

See “Identity,” continued on page .



was going on in the architecture around the world. Modernism shaded into Post-Modernism and deconstructed back. Students in this period assimilated these complexities and were often successful in refining these ideas, but I did not perceive a particular identity other than this: our students’ work tended to be thoughtfully conceived, well developed in proportion and composition, pragmatic with well-integrated building systems, not overly stylized, but of outstanding design quality. Of course, much of the work was derivative of the heroes of the time—Moore, Graves, Venturi, and more Corbu. Student and faculty attitudes toward style were defined more by individual architects’ distinctive design ideas and executions than by a broad classification that might later be given a name in the literature.

Under Director Harwell Hamilton Harris, a group of young individuals, including John Hedjuk, Colin Rowe, Robert Slutsky, Bernhard Hoesli, and others began to gather for the next several years at The University of Texas at Austin. These faculty were later known as the “Texas Rangers” and were credited with transforming architectural education.

Platform • 

Changing Paradigms: Design Methods for Beginning Design Students by Smilja Milovanovic-Bertram and Joyce Rosner When a student begins the first year of architecture school, he/she arrives with preconceptions about what an architect is and how an architect designs. It is these initial preconceptions that must be overcome during the first year, opening the student to other, unimagined possibilities. This article proposes a methodology for using drawing, collage, and other media as both complement and supplement to the design process. One must find a process that allows the student to transition from the initial conception of an architectural idea to final three-dimensional form. Students must learn to look at information in a variety of ways. And the organization of those multiple readings of information can aid in the task of generation and translation of ideas. Through a specific structuring of the visual communications component of the first-year design studio, the assigned exercises both reinforce the design process and teach new methods of communications and drawing skills. The exercises provide students with a two-dimensional method for making decisions about three-dimensional relationships. Each drawing is approached as a means to explore ideas rather than a final product. As the hand draws, it pushes the mind, which provides new ideas through interpretation of the process of drawing. In this manner, drawing becomes an instrument of vision. A student’s vision will become reality after many transformations.

Both pages: Student work from Design II and Visual Communications II, Spring 2003, taught, respectively, by Smilja Milovanovich-Bertram and Joyce Rosner.

This methodology requires students to proceed through a guided framework, abstracting analytical and intuitive observations of changing views, points of observation, and graphic technique. In this manner, the students are freed from preconceived and conventional ideas and representations. By examining the issues of site, program, view, path, threshold, and space through various media, students learn to use the method of representation—whether a drawing, model, or collage—as a way of describing and developing ideas. Consequently, the drawings and models do not become the final documentation of the project, but necessary elements of the design process, incorporating intuitive and analytical elements. Drawing becomes an investigation, not merely a recording. The sequence of exercises moves from the intuitive to the rational and back to the intuitive. Instead of progressing from general to specific while designing, the students are encouraged to investigate specifics without knowing the whole. At this time, they must deal with only one condition or parameter at a time. And by abstracting the exercise assignments, students are not bound by conventional representation. Ideas flow and emerge in the act of making, not just drawing, and the meaning of the whole emerges in the act of making the parts.


Unlike traditional final presentation work (plans, sections, and elevations) the students’ sequence of drawings have an importance that delves beneath the surface. The strength in this process derives from the interlocking steps that illustrate how the original medium is transformed into architecture, as both experience and form.

Smilja Milovanovic-Bertram is an assistant professor in the UT-Austin School of Architecture teaching design and construction. She has received a Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the UT Ex-Students Association and two School of Architecture Teaching Excellence Awards. Professor Milovanovic is also director of Study in Italy, an intradisciplinary program with UT’s College of Liberal Arts, College of Fine Arts, and the School of Architecture. Pl at f orm •  

Joyce Rosner is a lecturer in the UTAustin School of Architecture. After teaching at the University of Houston for five years, Ms. Rosner joined the University of Texas in 1998, where she teaches first-year design studios, as well as visual communications classes. She has also taught numerous watercolor workshops, and her work has been included in many exhibitions and publications. Ms. Rosner is currently on leave from the School for two years in Dresden, Germany.

Alan Taniguchi named first dean of the School of Architecture.




M.S. in Community and Regional Planning first recognized by the American Institute of Planners. (Planning Accreditation Board established in 1984, and M.S.C.R.P. accredited ever since.)

The legend goes.....Around 1969 or 1970, School of Architecture Dean Alan Taniguchi, defending a grove of oak trees to be cut down, confronted Chairman of the Board of Regents, Frank Erwin. The angered Chairman told Dean Taniguchi that if he didn’t get out of the way, the new architecture building planned near the stadium would not be built. Dean Taniguchi told the Chairman that the School needed the space because we had so many students. Chairman Erwin told Taniguchi that he would restrict the School’s enrollment so that they would not need a new building. That watershed 60-second event allowed the School to keep enrollment low and standards high to this day, and to stay in the Paul Cret building, and to eventually occupy the two Cass Gilbert Buildings, forming the School’s current campus.

Charles Burnette becomes second dean of the School of Architecture.

Platform •  

out there in the middle by J. Brantley Hightower In August 2004, I overloaded the back of my Toyota with all my worldly possessions and headed east to attend graduate school at Princeton in central New Jersey. I am happy to report that my car’s suspension survived, and that the road trip across the South was a fascinating journey. With that said, I must admit the final destination was somewhat less than spectacular. Where, after all, were all the gardens this state promised to have? And why at the grocery store was there an entire aisle dedicated to kosher foods, but no tortillas or salsa to be found anywhere?

Peter Eisenman “I’m so bored.”

Robert Somol “I’m so tired.”

Brantley Hightower “I’m so confused.”

After spending several days trying to make a burrito with pita bread and spaghetti sauce, I started meeting some of my fellow classmates in the school of architecture. When I mentioned that I was from Texas and had done my undergraduate work in Austin, I was often met with a somewhat confused, “Oh.” I was unsure if that was a legitimate “Oh, I’ve never met someone from UT before” or a disapproving “Oh, I didn’t realize they had electrified that part of the frontier.”

Right: The author (at right) in class at Princeton. Photograph by Jeremy Boon [B.Arch. '00].

During my five years at UT, my fellow classmates and I never doubted that we were receiving a quality architectural education. After we graduated and started working with individuals who had attended schools with somewhat better name recognition, we still felt the same way. What we have come to realize in the years since we left Austin is that while a UT diploma might not instantly “wow” people in the same way one from Harvard or Yale might, the quality of the education we received was just as good. In fact, in some situations, it has proven superior. Studying architecture in a place far away from the gravitational pull of New York or Boston or Los Angeles freed my fellow classmates and I to look for and find inspiration in less-than-obvious places. If we were unable to learn about museums by going to cultural bastions like the Guggenheim or MoMA, we were able to visit Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa. If we were unable to experience skyscrapers by visiting the Chrysler or Empire State Buildings, we were able to see Wright’s Price Tower in Bartlesville. And when we were finally able to visit a place like New York, we were better able to understand it in context with the rest of the country.

In the years after leaving Austin, I have come to appreciate the unique nature of the education I received at UT and the unique place in which I received it. Studying architecture at UT gave my fellow classmates and me a set of experiences and perspectives unlike those from other institutions. More importantly, these experiences and perspectives are applicable to situations not only in Austin or even the Southwest. I have friends from UT who have gone on to study at places like Columbia and Harvard and who have gone on to pursue successful architectural careers in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, as well as London, Paris, and Hong Kong. UT taught us to look beyond the horizon, and it prepared us for what we would find there. With that said, in my current situation, I do have to spend some time explaining to my new classmates that we did not ride horses to studio and that “ya’ll” is a perfectly logical contraction of the words “you” and “all.” But when it comes time to discuss architecture or to create it, I honestly feel I have something unique to contribute. People interact differently with nature where I am from. The environment is seen as something to be cherished and embraced as opposed to something to be shut out or ignored. Space is conceived of differently, as well. This can be experienced directly by walking into a grocery store in New Jersey and then one in Texas. In one, you will find tight aisles, crowded shelves and less-than-friendly employees. In the other you will find generously proportioned aisles, open and easily accessible shelving, and employees who are not fundamentally annoyed by your mere existence. And what is more, you will find enough varieties of salsa to make a grown man cry.


One of the first things I learned after moving to New Jersey is that I should never say that I am “going to New York.” For some reason referring to New York as New York offends the locals, and so I have learned to instead announce that I am “going to The City.” I have often thought about the term “The City” and all that referring to New York in this manner entails. Obviously being physically close to New York means that its cultural gravitational pull is going to be strong. But what I have found surprising is the degree to which New York is considered by so many to be the only place of architectural significance. This isn’t to say that New York is not an amazing urban landscape that offers a variety of lessons and examples for architectural students, but as a city it is something of an oddity. As I have traveled within the U.S., I have found that there are a good number of cities that are nothing like “The City” at all. In fact, there are many more places like Phoenix and Atlanta and Denver and Louisville. To refer to New York as “The City”

seems to imply a misunderstanding of what urbanism in this country truthfully is. And to see it as the only place of architectural significance seems to ignore the possibility of learning from or doing good work in places outside of the island of Manhattan.

J. Brantley Hightower [B.Arch. ‘00] graduated from UT in 2000 with degrees in architecture and liberal arts. He has worked for Perkins and Will in Chicago, Max Levy in Dallas, and Lake/Flato in San Antonio. He is currently working feverishly to complete his thesis work at Princeton so that he need never step foot in New Jersey again. This spring he will be teaching a sophomore design studio at UT Arlington. Pl at f orm •  

Michael Graves taught an advanced design studio in the mid-70s, where he designed (and the students painted) the painting now hanging in the Dean’s Office in Goldsmith Hall.

“Identity,” continued from page .

In the mid-1980s, the School had an opportunity to add a key figure in architecture to our faculty when we filled the School’s first endowed chair. We made a list of four leading figures and began conversations with them. Charles Moore, one of the leading architects of the late twentieth century, joined our rich stew of design ideas at the top of his influential career as architect, author, and educator. He headed our new post-professional degree program. He attracted many students to the School and to his professional office who have made their mark on architecture of the region. The Charles W. Moore Center for the Study of Place continues to add richness to the School.

Other professional practices of faculty such as Lawrence Speck, Sinclair Black, Juan Miró, Kevin Alter, and others have extended individual student education and added to the School’s particular identity. Similarly, the writings of Michael Benedickt, Anthony Alofsin, Steven Moore, Chris Long, Richard Cleary, and others have presented an identity of the School to a broad audience. In 2004-2005, in this rich stew of design thinking, one can see a diversity of design ideals, intentions, environmental and historical issues, along with a concern for form and proportion, clarity of structural ideas, and place making. All of this is happening with the exciting facility of com-

puter-generated design images and augmented by precise basswood models. In my view, the design attitudes in the studios reflect the current ideas in the world of architecture rather than any particular identity as a school. Basic to the School’s identity is its reputation for being a “teacherly” school. That is, we’re known as careful guides to the students’ acquisition of design skills, pragmatics of building, directions in urban planning, and scholarship. Our faculty is distinguished by award-winning professionals and published scholars. Distinguished graduates represent our identity in most parts of the world. We are known for our comprehensive involvement with the built world from history and theory to building technology, from historic preservation to sustainable design, and from interior design to community planning. These fields are offered to the student from Summer Academy in Architecture for high school students to Ph.D. programs.




We have always offered diverse directions in design; that is, we do not pursue a singular design direction, but encourage excellence and timelessness in several directions. Perhaps our broad view has limited the School, and we might narrow our focus to refine our studies toward a particular design identity. That would be a healthy debate.

Hal Box appointed third dean of the School.

Acquisition of Battle Hall as the Architecture and Planning Library.

Architecture Archive created, initially as the Architectural Drawings Collections, renamed the Alexander Architectural Archive in 1997 in honor of D. Blake Alexander. Photograph by Dana Norman.

Our physical identity, presented by our campus of three buildings by important early twentieth century architects, provides a valuable asset—first-class facilities and resources for digital information and output, hand crafting shops, material laboratories, preservation laboratories, athe fourth largest architecture library in the U.S., and access to the faculty and facilities of a major research university. This educational environment is extended by traveling fellowships for design studios abroad in several countries as an integral part of the curriculum, as well as the residency programs that extend education into leading professional offices. The School is known as a “happening place” with a distinguished faculty, provocative visiting critics and lecturers, an active exhibition gallery, and awardwinning publications.

Left: Charles W. Moore (seated) surrounded by his students in the Battle Hall Reading Room, late 1980s.

All of this is to say that we are a high performance, comprehensive enterprise. Our rankings in the top ten of architecture schools in the U.S. are due to the excellence of our students, as well our teaching, practice, and scholarship—and it seems to get better every year.

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Materials and Customization by Billie Faircloth “Materials and Customization,” a studio series conducted in fall 2002, 2003, and 2004, provided both graduate and undergraduate architecture students a semester-long research of materiality and the crafting of performance and effect through hands-on making and testing of material assemblies. These studios deployed methodologies that placed materials—including plaster, resin, concrete, plywood, plastic, foam, and paper—in constant dialogue with customizable practices. Customizable practices were defined as involving both digital and analog tools, a formulation of a material question set regarding the manipulation of the selected material in relation to potential performance, and a continuous iterative process of input and output. Students were challenged to define a precise problem regarding material form and performance and through iterative making develop multiple material possibilities. For instance, regarding the rigorous cutting, folding, and creasing of 20-lb. paper, graduate student Catherine Craig asked the following: “Looking at the randomized cut and crease samples, can I specify the end use (skin/structure/combination) by very small variations in the pattern? Can the creases act successfully as a structure that holds itself or other forces while the weave remains operable and flexible? How flexible is too flexible? Can I achieve rigidity in this way?” And, regarding the manipulation of a beeswax and vellum composite, graduate student Sarah Hill asked the following: “By combining two materials, vellum and beeswax, a composite is formed whereby the best of each material is utilized, and a potential new relationship is forged. The vellum is translucent, pliable, and light. It is also extremely flimsy and tears easily. The beeswax is easily moldable, has a gradient of translucency depending on density, and hardens yet remains soft. Beeswax alone is formless. By strategically combining the two, can I create a material that is pliable, relatively light, transmits a gradient of light, and is structural? What kinds of form can emerge?” Materials were explored exclusively as invented assemblies, resulting in samples and prototypes. Architecture was explored by involving and evolving these invented assemblies in dialogue with an architectural problem. In each studio, students were challenged to mine materials for potential and ultimately reinvent a material’s spatial, structural, and environmental participation in architecture.

Billie Faircloth is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture where she began to teach in 2002. She is also a co-principal of Design Subset, an emerging design practice established in 2003. Professor Faircloth teaches graduate and undergraduate design studios, construction and theory seminars with an emphasis on advanced material technologies, fabrication technologies, and design practices. She is a recipient of the 2004-2005 ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching during the formative years of a teaching career. Professor Faircloth received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from North Carolina State University and her Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University. Pl at f orm •  

liquid/solid casting materials and customization, fall 2002 liquid/solid worked with resins, rubbers, concrete, or anything that starts out in a liquid form. Students explored liquid materials in the context of community pool for an Austin neighborhood. Laura Caffrey, plaster and red acrylic (top). Kelly Folk-Rittenhouse, plaster and clear urethane rubber (left).

weak|([ pliable sheet materials and customization, fall 2003 weak|([pliable started with the very thin, pliable tacked-on attributes of sheet materials, which are seemingly without structural capacity. Questions of sheet material systems were explored within the context of manufactured housing and the demands of the factory. Thomas Lessel and Younglan Tsai, roofing insulation.

particle:-:-:-:bond unitized materials and customization, fall 2004 particle:-:-:-:bond began by asking: What is the performance of the bond? What is the performance of the unit? How can we reinvent the performance of the unit/bond? The studio sited unit/bond prototypes in Le Corbusier’s Monastery of Sainte Marie da La Tourette, which was analyzed for its spatial and prototypical performance.



Karyssa Halstead, 80-lb. cardstock.

Center for American Architecture and Design established, initially as the Southwest Center for the Study of American Architecture.

Charles W. Moore joins the faculty as the O’Neil Ford Chair.

Platform •  

Saarinen’s Horse by Fred Clarke


Legend has it that, in the interview for a position in his firm, Eero Saarinen required new graduates to draw a horse in front of him. Saarinen was thought to see this difficult assignment, in the tradition of the beaux-arts, as a sure test for exceptional talent and potential. Saarinen drew brilliantly and was able to progress effortlessly from drawing to architectural form, so for him, the connection from skill to talent—from drawing to designing—was assumed. It was reasonable for him to see this test as a direct way to find architects, not just draftsmen, just like himself. According to the same legend, Saarinen inevitably realized that the best designers were not necessarily those who drew the best horses. In fact, some of the most talented designers drew the least sophisticated horses and vice versa. So, in some way, the test was flawed. Eero Saarinen was looking for what he himself knew to be of value—but the talents brought to him by other people required different yardsticks. Look at the group of extraordinary architects who worked for him at one time or another. Most assuredly, not all were great at drawing horses; however, they had to be convincing enough to enter his office. At the most obvious level, this is a lesson in skill meeting opportunity—without which none of us get a chance in architecture.

However, the story is also about how education and training (Saarinen’s and the job applicant’s) affect our value and values. We each tend to imbue our own educations with mythical status because of its profound effect on who and what we are. Consciously or not, we also constantly use education as the base-line measurement of our talent and our success. We never escape our educational background. It is part of our being. My time at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture— 1965 to 1970— was a period as invigorating, creative, and difficult as one might imagine. Texas, the State and the University, shuddered, as did the entire country, from cultural and political tectonic shifts. The School of Architecture, struggling to emerge nationally, was raucous with debate and dialogue over the myriad issues of the day. The fabled Texas Rangers were long gone, but faint remnants of earlymodernist design theory, seen primarily in first-year design courses, remained. Much more powerful, though, was the potent, contradictory mix of contemporary influences—brutalism coexisted with regionalism, Archigram with the Shingle Style, Stirling with Venturi, high culture with low. Revolution was in the air.

Fred Clarke (FAIA) [B.Arch. ‘70], one of the founding members of Cesar Pelli & Associates, now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is Collaborating Design Principal in the studio. In 1977, he joined Mr. Pelli in establishing the firm in New Haven, Connecticut. He has served as Collaborating Lead Designer on many of the firm's significant projects, covering a wide range of programs and locations. A career-long teacher, Mr. Clarke has been on the faculty of the architecture schools of the University of California at Los Angeles, Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Yale University. He has lectured internationally and has been the keynote speaker and guest lecturer at numerous conferences and exhibitions. Mr. Clarke has chaired design juries and panels for many professional organizations, including the Urban Land Institute and the American Institute of Architects. In 1992, he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. In 1997, he became a First Class Registered Architect in Japan, a member of the Japan Institute of Architects, and a Fellow of the Philippine Institute of Architects. He received a Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony in 1998.

Pl at f orm •  

In addition, no single, charismatic figure dominated the faculty; no dogma reigned in the studios. Instead, there was a group of exceptional teachers assembled under the visionary, far-ranging, and indulgent tutelage of our activist dean, Alan Taniguchi. This cadre of worldly and well-educated architects, artists, and historians, among them Richard Dodge, Jim Coote, Richard Oliver, Carl Bergquist, Blake Alexander, Bob Harris, Owen Cappleman, Dan Leary, Gerlinde Leiding, Sinclair Black, and Richard Swallow, had us living in the past, present, and future simultaneously. Their ambitious, pluralist pursuit of “generative ideas” (a Dodge term) remains central to the core values of the School today. They didn’t teach us how to design; they taught us how to think, and this distinction allowed us to see beyond styles and movements and, as our educations progressed, to embed architecture in our lives. Pluralism in this high dosage, tantamount to anarchy in some instances, also put us at risk, as it allowed our educations to be so broadly defined that, occasionally, architecture itself was called into question. Absorbing this multitude of influences demanded that we ask profound questions that have continuing resonance today. Beyond skill, what is an education in architecture? Is school necessary to be an architect? What does a school owe its students and students, the school? What will last beyond the highly specific bubble of an architecture school?


Beyond the basic intention to create a competent practitioner, my education imparted the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for finding myself and my place in the world and today, the answers to the profound questions are clear. An education in architecture must first provide an immersion in the culture of architecture through a mastery of our common professional heritage and language as embodied in history, precedent, and typology. Blake Alexander, literally and figuratively our guide to the “Source of the Nile,” helped us explore this new world and gain access to its cultural milieu. In addition, we were taught the discipline and craft of structure and systems with an eye toward the way the science of building supports ideas of design. Dan Leary, by virtue of his own training at the University of Pennsylvania and knowledge of Kahn, taught us to seek the harmony between systems and design concepts. Under Professors Taniguchi and Leiding, we were obligated to develop an understanding of the ethical and moral values underlying an architect’s responsibilities to clients and communities and to engage architecture as a collaborative, social act. Particularly, our education provided the raw material and connections that were key to the formation of us as individuals, which I term the architectural self, and thus extend our education beyond the profession. 4.

A form of self-confrontation, the most fundamental lessons occurred when finding one’s way through the creative process, developing the assurance, as a designer, that if the problem is well understood, a solution can be found. This creative pathway allowed us to identify and seek the farthest edges of the internal dialectic of a problem’s limits and opportunities. Richard Dodge and Sinclair Black showed us that, when

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Osaka, Japan. Drawings and photographs courtesy of Fred Clarke of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.


Larry Speck is appointed fourth dean of the School.

Interior Design Program transferred from the College of Natural Sciences to the School of Architecture.


North-South section. Overall construction. Entry level plan. Construction drawing.



“Saarinen,” continued on page .

1. 2. 3. 4.

“The sandcastle competition was one of the most fun events that I did when I was at UT—we won the college competition two years in a row (1997 and 1998), including “Most Lifelike” for a portrayal of a late-night studio Exacto injury.” (Photograph from 2004 competition.)

Platform •  

“Saarinen,” continued from page .

designers confront limits, a particular creativity emerges, one that is informed, insightful, and inevitable. They also taught us to take risks. This engagement in critical thinking led us to strategic and succinct responses to problems, centered on teasing apart problems, organizing and prioritizing their components, moving from general to specific, from diagram to detail, and responding architecturally in clear and “traceable” ways. Another learnable, though more difficult, skill—the capacity for critical seeing—called for us to observe, analyze, and respond in nonverbal, visual ways, to the physical qualities of site, size, scale, materiality, and character. Professors Berquist and Cappleman in drawing and Swallow and Harris in design, demonstrated that learning to see, and finding the distinction between visual and verbal ideas, was basic to our progress. Presenting and defending oneself and one’s ideas in juries was crucial as well, not simply as an isolated exercise in salesmanship, but more importantly, as it led to finding the voice to express intentions under pressure and in public. In this pursuit, Richard Oliver was particularly important. Through him, we learned how to enjoy working very hard.

Ultimately, the development of our architectural selves resulted in an astute understanding of our time and place, a sense of the role our works, large or small, could play in deepening and advancing the discipline and culture of architecture. We learned to distinguish between “architecture” and “design,” not merely for the production of the next new thing, but to engage in the limits and opportunities arising before us. Absent this distinction, we saw that our work would be relegated to producing consumable images, thus abrogating our responsibilities to people and communities. Our work is slow and demanding, offering sparse rewards spaced over long periods of time. Passion for what we do is the essential ingredient of a satisfying career, and this began for me at the School of Architecture. The University of Texas helped me find a renewable source of energy in architecture—in the thrill of working through the process, in the joy of seeing a building come up from the ground, in the love of the details. It was an education and an experience that built and builds upon itself.

1. National Museum of Contemporary Art, Osaka, Japan. Drawings and photographs courtesy of Fred Clarke of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. 1. Detail of stair. 2. Entry. 3. Detail of cluster of columns.



Posted at 01:37 Dec 1, 1999 UT students, anyone in the area interested in promoting culture and pulling down The Man, come out. It'll be fun. Like the 60's. Only different. To all UT students, faculty and staff: RALLY !!! protest the administrative process behind the Regents' control over the Blanton Art Museum. Wednesday, December 1st 12:30 PM In front of the current Blanton (FAB - 23rd and San Jacinto). Create a sign! Make a statement! If not us, then who? SPEAKING: Michael Mogavero, College of Fine Arts, Larry Speck, School of Architecture, Christian Wofford, AICA * BE THERE !!! Pl at f orm •  

Project Team: Cesar Pelli & Associates Design Principal: Cesar Pelli, FAIA, JIA Project Principal and Collaborating Designer: Fred W. Clarke, FAIA, JIA Osaka is considered Japan’s second city, after Tokyo. Like Chicago, Osaka plays up its second status and celebrates the advantages of not having top billing. Second cities are perhaps less precious and less refined than their larger siblings but can be more real, more authentic. Artistically, they are often freer to experiment, which is certainly true of Osaka, Japan’s seventh-century capital and one of its historic centers of politics and culture. Present-day Osaka, however, has grown primarily because of industry, not the arts. Most of its artistic institutions are located on the perimeter of the city, removed from the everyday lives of most residents.

In order to resist extraordinary hydrostatic pressure resulting from the underwater site and for economic reasons, the building was constructed in a top-down fashion: the highest below-grade floor was built first, followed by the middle and finally the lowest, descending 22.5 meters into the subsurface of mud and water. This process allowed the earth that remained in place to help resist the pressure of river water on the exterior walls as the museum was constructed. The surrounding three-meter-thick wall is comprised of three layers. Outermost is a thick vault of concrete; in the middle is another concrete layer with a rubberized waterproofing membrane designed to control temperature and humidity and act as a secondary water stop; and the third and innermost layer is the finished wall of the museum.


assembled and shipped to Osaka in long sections and mounted and welded in place. Despite its deceptively machine-made appearance, much of the structure has been built by hand, woven as one would weave a stainless steel basket. In order to allow the metal to shed water and be self-cleaning, the entire structure was coated with a thin film of liquid titanium. The beautiful cool luster of the titanium coating creates an extraordinary visual relationship between it and the blue of the sky.


The oversized stainless members were constructed in factories in Tokyo typically dedicated to fabricating industrial parts. Entire rooms of the factory were devoted to producing these beautiful curved stainless steel reeds, exciting in themselves. The members, measuring up to 62 meters each for a total of 2600 meters in length and weighing 212 tons, were then dis-



Until recently, the site of Osaka’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, one of three national contemporary art museums in Japan, was at the far edge of the city, on the former site of the 1970 World’s Fair. The museum had planned to move from this distant suburb to a central urban location in the middle of Nakanoshima Island, part of a planned cultural arts district that has great potential to activate and energize an integral part of the city. However, arrangements between the city and

the National Museum stipulated that, with the exception of the lobby, the project had to be built underground. Due to the island’s high water table, the museum, which has 13,500 square meters of underground space, had to be designed as a watertight submarine of precious artifacts. Unlike, perhaps, any other museum in the world, the museum’s exhibit spaces are not only underground, but also underwater.

Fritz Steiner is appointed fifth dean of the School.

Center for Sustainable Development established— a milestone that opened opportunities for faculty and students to pursue funded research.

Master of Landscape Architecture degree program established.

The excitement and magic of the light, space, and structure could already be felt a year and a half before opening. Construction has lasted five years, the majority of which have been spent below ground. Soon the ambitious and seemingly contradictory dream to create a highly visible underground landmark in Osaka will become a reality.


Project: National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan

Lecturer Russell Krepart’s face carved into a pumpkin and lit up, “Pumpkin Carving Contest,” October 2004.

Platform •  

DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS by Louise Harpman The School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin inaugurated a new studio called DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS in the spring of 2004. The intention of this studio was to create an educational prototype as well as a prototype for the design and construction of an environmentally responsible house.



DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS Images: 1. Site plan and building plan. 2. Column base detail. 3. Column head detail. 4. East elevation. 5. View of living/dining area. 6. View from living/dining pavilion area to bedroom pavilion. 7. View along entry porch. 8. Dogtrot at dusk. 9. Framing crew. Photographs #2-8 by Paul Bardagjy. Photograph #9 by Jenny Tarng.


DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS offered students a unique educational opportunity to conceive and test their ideas in real time and space. Unlike other wellknown design/build studio courses, this studio was designed with research as its main priority. Sixteen students were selected to participate in this studio, and the students began the spring semester with a series of integrated and directed research projects, carried out in small groups. These projects included studies of history, site, climate, land use, architectural precedents, as well as emerging and established building technologies. The in-class research seminars provided a focus on issues that would directly affect the design process; at the same time, the seminars began to prepare students for the very real personnel issues (read: conflicts) that arise so often in group projects.



Louise Harpman is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the School of Architecture and Director of the School’s Professional Residency Program. She also holds the Harwell Hamilton Harris Professorship in Architecture. Before joining the UT faculty, she taught at the Yale School of Architecture for eight years. Professor Harpman received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University where she concentrated in East Asian Studies. She holds a Master of Philosophy degree in social anthropology from Cambridge University and a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University. She is a principal of Specht Harpman, with offices in Austin and New York City. Pl at f orm •  

Russell Krepart [M.Arch. ‘02] is a Lecturer at the School of Architecture. He received his Master of Architecture degree at The University of Texas at Austin. He is in professional practice with alterstudio in Austin, Texas.

Ruiz Branch of the Austin Public Library, designed by Stanley Architects—Lars Stanley [M.Arch. ‘03], project principal, Elizabeth Salaiz [M.Arch. ‘88], project architect. (Both Lars and Elizabeth developed their Master’s theses under the watchful eyes of Professors Charles Moore and Robert Mugerauer and were in Moore’s travel studio.)

After the initial research seminars, the class visited the site and easily came to consensus on a desired building location. Each of the 16 students then prepared his or her own design proposal for the site and the house. Following an initial review, the students formed teams and worked together to create eight unique proposals. Finally, new teams were formed, and four final proposals emerged. After the last jury session (which the class called “the summit”), one brokered, negotiated, and highly-leveraged site plan and house plan emerged. All the students then worked together to complete the set of construction documents.




Construction of the DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS house began in the Texas Hill Country in May 2004 and continued throughout the summer and fall. Faculty member Russell Krepart participated in design juries during the spring and led the studio in the summer as the field director and construction coordinator. One of the explicit goals of a design/build studio is to allow students to understand that design doesn’t stop once the drawings and scale models are “completed.” In fact, this process underscores the fact that drawings and models are a way to think and that this thinking may be revised throughout the construction process. As an example, the on-site decision to extend our porch by an additional 8-foot bay on each of the north and south ends created a series of opportunities (read: problems, delays, but ultimately a better house) that were wholly unanticipated when we went into the field. The students who figured out how to extend the roof framing and sheathing, determine the locations for the additional required glulam beams, create the cedar and steel flitch plate assemblies, and site cast new “outrigger” footings learned by thinking, making, and doing in real time and at full scale. One of the students updated the final construction documents after the fact to reflect our asbuilt conditions and to create a record set of drawings. The final presentation model hasn’t been updated, and I suspect it never will be: the model records a clear set of intentions, but the house has its own unique authority.

9. DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS studio members: Ben Allen, Christi Anders, Adam Boutté, Dale Buehler, Raymond Estrella, Sara Fry, Megan Hannon, David Hincher, Sharon Knippa, Tom Lessel, Anthony Lore, Ariane Purdy, Amy Siettmann, Laurel Stone, Jenny Tarng, Bruce Wrightsman.

The project has received a great deal of support from the local and national press, including articles in Architectural Record, Texas Architect, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Daily Texan. The project was accepted for publication in The 21st Century House (London: Laurence King). The project was a featured project in the United States Green Building Council’s annual “GreenBuild” conference in Portland, Oregon, in fall 2004. The project website, designed and maintained by the students, is



At each jury, students were required to present site plans, building plans, building sections, and full elevations, as well as line-item budgets. Jurors for the reviews included design faculty members, local architects, landscape architects, conservationists, native plant experts, interior designers, engineers, materials specialists, and local contractors. A unique feature of this project was its Hill Country context. The severely degraded ranch on which the house project is located is currently undergoing extensive environmental remediation. DESIGN > BUILD > TEXAS provided an opportunity for the students to learn about the ranch’s mission in protecting and conserving natural resources and open space. The students integrated this mission into their site and building design through their attention to systems, materials, and landscape development.

Redbud residence, designed by Cottam Hargrave—Jay Hargrave [B.Arch. ‘90], Janell Cottam Hargrave [B.Arch. '90], Michael Waddell [B.Arch. '02], and Beth Engelland. Photograph by Patrick Y. Wong, Atelier Wong Photography.

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Francisco “Paco” Arumí-Noé Memorial Fellowship in Sustainable Design area of sustainable design. To learn more about how you can contribute, please contact Assistant Dean Kris Vetter at kmvetter@ or 512-471-6114.

On September 16, 2005, the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin lost a treasured colleague and dear friend. Francisco Arumí-Noé, or “Paco” as he was well-known, passed away unexpectedly surrounded by good friends and colleagues. He is deeply missed.

I owe so much to Paco. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. —Peter L. Pfeiffer, F.A.I.A. [M.Arch. ’83] Chair, Francisco Arumí-Noé Fellowship Fundraising Committee

Professor Arumí joined the School of Architecture in 1971 where he taught and conducted research in modeling the energy performance of buildings. A pioneer in this vital field, his work resulted in the development and use of the DEROB computer system for the simulation of passive solar heating and cooling of buildings and the integration of computer graphics with energy analysis of buildings, including the development of the MUSES software codes. Paco’s particular interests in daylighting and solar geometry were well ahead of their time. Never satisfied with intuitive “guesswork,” he taught a critical gener-

All-Class Reunion, March 4 We also would like to invite you to attend this spring’s All-Class Reunion on Saturday, March 4, 2006, at 5:00 p.m., where we will publicly honor Paco’s life and work. In anticipation of this tribute, please visit architecture/memorial/paco/ to post your memories of Paco, so we may incorporate them into our evening.

ation of students (and his faculty colleagues as well) the importance of quantitive measures and testing to prove or disprove intuition about building performance. In memory of Paco’s commitment to this important work and the many lives he and his work have

touched, we would like to invite you to contribute to the Francisco Arumí-Noé Memorial Fellowship in Sustainable Design. This permanent endowment will perpetuate Paco’s legacy by providing support to countless future generations of scholars committed to research and scholarship in the

The reunion will follow Explore UT, the University’s annual open house. Alumni are encouraged to attend Explore UT, including special family activities at the School of Architecture, and stay into the evening to reminisce with former classmates. For details on the reunion, contact Stephanie Palmer at 512-471-0617 or

Friends of Architecture membership David Shiflet Shiflet Group Architects Jerry Sutton and Mary McCleary Courtney Walker Courtney and Company Supporting Members Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Aldridge, III Jan and Robert Benjamin Mr. Myron Blalock, III Mr. H. Mortimer Favrot, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Rick Hawkins Ms. Debra Lehman-Smith Mrs. Emily Summers Organizations Mr. Randy Ackerman Mr. Dan Alexander 3DI/International, Inc. Mr. Phillip Arnold The University of Auckland

Ms. Bobbie J. Barker Barley & Pfeiffer Architects Mr. Ken Bentley Mr. Russ Butler Elgin Butler Brick Co. Canadian Centre for Architecture Ms. Susie Clark Maharam Mr. Robert Coffee Mr. Gary Cunningham, FAIA Mr. Tim Debner Mr. Morris Hoover Mr. Alan Lauck Mr. Gilbert Mathews MC2 Architects Mr. and Mrs. William B. Mitchell Mr. Charles Naeve and Pat Brockie Mr. John Nyfeler, FAIA Mr. Patrick Ousey FAB Architecture

Mr. James M. Parkey Mr. Charles Phillips Ms. Fern Santini Ms. Cyndy Severson Severson Studios Mr. Robert F. Smith Mr. and Mrs. Nelson H. Spencer Mr. Rodney D. Susholtz Ms. Sara Vicklund-Braud Individual Members Mr. Lex M. Acker, AIA Mr. D. Blake Alexander Mr. Richard Archer, AIA Mr. John Avila, Jr. Mrs. Elizabeth Barlow Rogers Mr. and Mrs. Kent Barnes Mr. David B. Barrow, AIA Mr. John Barzizza Mr. Marvin E. Beck, AIA Emeritus


Director’s Circle Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Marlene and Jim Beckman Beckman Construction Company Diane and Chuck Cheatham Joan and Steve Clark John and Bibiana Dykema Jay and Ann Hailey Willard Hanzlik Diana Keller Mrs. Patricia Mast Mike and Abbe McCall George H. Mitchell University Co-Operative Society Judy Pesek Gensler Cathy Phillips Dale and Susan Rabe Gay and Shannon Ratliff Deedie and Rusty Rose

Pennsylvania State University School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, designed by Overland Partners—Robert L. Shemwell, AIA [M.Arch. ‘87] (principal-in-charge); Jim Shelton [B.Arch. ‘91] (project architect); rendered perspective, courtesy Overland Partners. Overland Partners includes alumni Rick Archer [B.Arch. ‘79], Tim Blonkvist [B.Arch. ‘81], and Madison Smith [B.Arch. ‘80]. Pl at f orm •  

Ms. Bridgette Beinecke Mr. David Bentley Ms. Susan Benz, AIA Mr. Edward Blaine Ms. Molly Block Mr. Thomas Bond Mr. Bill Booziotis, FAIA Mr. Joe Bullock Mr. Bryan Cady Ms. Robin Camp Mr. Henry R. Carranco Mr. Chris Carson Mrs. Ruth Carter Stevenson 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. Jeanette Cook Mr. James Coote Mr. Tommy Cowan, FAIA

UTSoA SolarD Thanks Sponsors for Their Success The UTSolarD 2005 team sends out a Texas-sized thank you to all of the professional and industry partners, members of the SolarD and UTSoA Advisory Councils, and family and friends whose collaborative spirit and generosity were invaluable in the realization of the 2005 Solar Decathlon project. Put to the test in the rain-filled two weeks of competition in Washington, D.C., last October, the UT “SNAP House” placed third in the “Dwelling,” “Comfort Zone,” and “Energy Balance” contests and fourth in the “Architecture” contest, finishing sixth overall out of the eighteen schools that participated. For contest results and additional information about the 2005 Solar Decathlon, visit or the UTSoA SNAP House project website at

Platinum Sponsors, $25,000+ Advanced Micro Devices • BP Solar • H.C. Beck • Metals USA Gold Sponsors, $10,000-$24,999 Comfort Line UT-Austin Center for Sustainable Development Hostelling International Meridian Energy Systems Vision Corp SMA SECO Wilkinson Woodworks

Silver Sponsors, $5,000-$9,999 3form AM Appliance Group Arrow Trucking Austin Green Building Program Häfele Mesquite & Hardwood Milling Designs Mitsubishi Electric Neoporte UT-Austin College of Engineering

Green Sponsors, $1,000-$4,999 Advanced Glazings; AIA Austin; Aprilaire; Archillume Lighting; Baker Drywall; Balcones Electric; Berridge Roofing; BMC Building Materials; Butler; Columbia Forest Products; Connie & George Cone; Crate & Barrel; Diva de Provence; Dynamic Reprographics; Fireclay Tile; Gensler; Green; Grid/Weston Solutions; Herman Miller; John Hoffner; Home Automation Inc.; Home Depot; Ikea; LC Projects; LCRA; LGM; Lucifer Lighting Co.; Magic Aire; Moreland Properties, Inc.; National Construction Rental; Olden Lighting; Overland Partners; Polytronix; Romag; Shelton-Keller Group; SQUARE ONE Research; Stone Panels; Structures; Sun Spot Solar; Terramai; Texas Fifth Wall Roofing, Inc.; Texas Society of Architects; Thermador; TimberTech; TKO; UTSoA; Urban Edge Developers; Vanguard Piping Systems; VM Zinc; Wells Fargo; Weyerhaeuser

Mr. Warren Martin Mr. John Mayfield Ms. Jana McCann Mr. Laurin McCracken, AIA Mr. and Mrs. Don B. McDonald Ms. Eleanor H. McKinney Ms. Heather McKinney Mr. Paul C. N. Mellblom, AIA Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Miller Ms. Ann Maddox Moore Mr. Mark F. Moore Mr. and Mrs. Bob Morris Dr. Donald Murphey Ms. Nan Nelson Mr. Lynn L. Northrup, Jr. Mr. Chris Pellegrino Mr. Boone Powell, FAIA Ms. Jane Cheever Powell Ms. Leilah Powell Mr. Howard Rachofsky Ms. Joan Reed

Ms. Elizabeth Chu Richter, AIA Mr. Zeb Rike Mr. Gary Robinson Mr. Alan Sadeghpour Ms. Nancy Wilson Scanlan Ms. Caroline Sharpless Mr. Will Shepherd Mr. Dan Shipley, FAIA Mr. Louis H. Skidmore, Jr., AIA Mr. Madison Smith Ms. Sandra Bearden Smith Ms. Amelia Sondgeroth, AICP Mr. Lawrence W. Speck, FAIA Keith Spickelmier and Sara Dodd Mr. William Stern Ms. Jane K. Stott Mr. James Susman, AIA Mr. John Greene Taylor Mr. John Teinert Ms. Toni Thomasson Ms. Helen Thompson


Mr. Philip Hendren Ms. Jane U. Henry Mr. Christopher Hill Mr. Nic Holland Mrs. Rhoda Hornaday Mr. Thomas N. Howe Ms. Grace Johnston Ms. Mary Margaret Jones Mr. Kevin Keim Mrs. Ellen King Ms. Susanne D. King Mrs. Melinda Koester Poss, AIA Mr. David Lake, FAIA Mr. Charles Lawrence, FAIA Mrs. Martha Leipziger-Pearce Ms. Lori Levy Mr. Joseph Loiacono Ms. Katheryn Lott, AIA Mr. Graham B. Luhn, FAIA Mr. Francois Lux Mrs. Alice A. Lynch Ms. Meg Malone


Ms. Marty Craddock Mr. and Mrs. Juan Creixell Mr. and Mrs. John W. Davis Mr. Richard Davis Ms. Mandy Dealey Ms. Claire Dewar Mr. and Mrs. David L. Dowler Ms. Leisa Durrett Mr. Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA Mr. Ted Flato Mr. Stephen Fox Mr. Robert W. Garrett Mr. Rick Geyer Mr. David Gill, AIA, MRAIC Mr. Enrique S. Gonzalez Mr. and Mrs. Larry Good Mr. Stan Graham Ms. Carolyn Grant Mr. Mike Gray Mr. Michael Guarino Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Hamilton Mr. Darwin Harrison

Now back in Austin, the SolarD “SNAP” house has been donated for use as affordable housing in East Austin’s Blackland Community. The SNAP house was one of 18 featured houses on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the Solar Decathlon student design competition.

Friends of Architecture’s 2006 tours include the “Modernist Tour of France,” June 21 - July 2.

Left: On Monday, October 10, 2005, it was announced that UT-Austin's energy-efficient, solar-powered house took third place in the “Dwelling” contest (in a tie with the New York Institute of Technology) at the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In this photo of the Texas house’s exterior, visitors look at the reclaimed redwood forms and rain screens used in the construction of the house. Photo by Stefano Paltera/Solar Decathlon.

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 Dr. Gordon L. White Mr. Leon Whitney Mrs. Coke Anne Wilcox Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Wilson Mr. Jerry L. Wright Mr. Christopher Yurkanan Student Members Mr. Matthew Abrahamson Ms. Claire Eddleman Mr. Abdel Gutierrez Mr. Tom Hinson Ms. Michelle Modisett Mr. Josh Peterson

Platform •  

UTSOA SPRING 2006 EVENTS LECTURES 2.1 James Dodson Snøhetta Oslo, Norway

3.23 TBA Barcelona, Spain O’Neil Ford Lecture Series Calhoun Hall 100

2.10 Juan Cotera Cotera Kolar Negrete & Reed Austin, TX

3.27 Sarah Williams Goldhagen Harvard University GSD Cambridge, MA

2.13 David Leven + Stella Betts Leven Betts Studio Architects New York, NY Patillo Centennial Lecture

4.17 Mario Schjetnan Grupo de Diseño Urbano Mexico City, Mexico Ruth Carter Stevenson Chair

2.20 George Wheeler Columbia University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY Jahn Lecture Series in Historic Preservation

SPECIAL EVENTS 3.4 All-Class Reunion & Paco Arumí Memorial

3.1 Allan Wexler Artist and Architect New York, NY Wilson Art Lecturer Calhoun Hall 100 3.6 Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano Nieto Sobejano Architects Madrid, Spain 3.8 Marta Cervelló and Josep Lluís Mateo MAP Architects Barcelona, Spain O’Neil Ford Lecture Series

4.7 Books + Buildings Symposium alterstudio/Texas Hillel, The Topfer Center for Jewish Life EXHIBITS 1.17 - 2.1 Beyond Texas 2005: Study in Italy, Studio Mexico, Europe Program 2.6 - 2.10 Center for Mexican American Studies: 35th Year Anniversary 2.13 - 3.10 LINEweights: Leven Betts Studio Architects 4.10 - 4.28 2x2: Hoidn Wang Partner and David Heymann Architect

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, The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture 1 University Station B7500 Austin, Tx 78712-0222

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Austin, Texas Permit No. 391

Platform Spring 2006  
Platform Spring 2006  

"Design" Guest editor: Nichole Wiedemann