Big spaces, big cities, big freeways. This equation has held ground since the boom of major road developments in the 1970s. But a Dallas group lead by urban designer Patrick Kennedy is fighting that conception. He and his initiative, A New Dallas, are pushing a proposal that has been steadily gaining support since it began two years ago. Interstate 345 is an eight lane, 1.4 mile stretch of elevated highway that serves roughly 200,000 commuters weekly. Kennedy wishes to demolish the structure completely, replacing it with a major surface street, four new parks, $4 billion in new private investment, and homes for 25,000 Dallas residents.
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A room-filling parametric design makes its way from the classroom to Austin’s famous music festival.
When Kory Bieg and his students at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture began working on Caret 6, they had no idea that it would wind up at this yearâ€™s South by Southwest (SXSW) music and arts festival. But the rippling, room-filling installation soon took on a life of its own. Within months, Biegâ€™s undergraduatesâ€”who had little previous exposure to digital designâ€”had designed and fabricated Caret 6, and assembled and disassembled it twice, first at the TEX-FAB SKIN: Digital Assemblies Symposium in February, and then at Austinâ€™s most famous annual gathering in March. Read More
Speaking of rumors, Texas Monthly spread the word that Silicon Valley billionaire visionary Elon Musk may be locating facilities for two of his future-lookingÂ companies in the Lone Star State. Muskâ€™s SpaceX has been buying up land in Cameron County in South Texas with the implicit purpose of building a space facility on the site to launch an expedition to Mars. In more terrestrial affairs, the South Africa native is also considering building a battery factory in the state for his electric car company, Tesla Motors.
The Contemporary Austin
700 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas
Through April 20th
Charles Longâ€™s latest exhibition CATALINâ€”aptly namedÂ after a toxic plastic material fabricated in the 1930sâ€”uses a multi-media approach to simulate a feeling of impending doom. In this Gesamtkunstwerk, Long combines sculpture, film, music, fragrance, theater, performance, and grand spectacle to create a mystical and magical Wagnerian world.
Itâ€™s no secret that Houston is going through a growth spurt. The city currentlyÂ has four central business districts that, if separated, would each be among the countryâ€™s top 15 employment centers. In the next 30 years, 3.5 million people are projected to move to the 8-county region, with two million of those concentrated in Harris County.
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Austinâ€™s Circuit of the Americas gets an iconic observation tower using 350 tons of steel.
The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, will host the United States Grand Prix from 2012 to 2021. While German Formula 1 specialist Hermann Tilke designed the racecourse and technical facilities, COTAâ€™s owners hired local firmÂ MirÃ³ Rivera Architects to turn out a main grandstand and amenities for the 9,000 fans expected to attend the races. In addition to imbuing the project with a variety of programmatic functions that go beyond racing,Â MirÃ³ Rivera created a sleek observation tower that gives spectators unrestricted views across the racetrackâ€™s twisting expanse.
â€œOur idea for the tower was to be able to go way up and see the track from one focal point in a structure that was an iconographic symbol for the track,â€ said Miguel Rivera, founder and principal of the architecture firm. â€œOur inspiration came from Formula 1 cars, where speed and efficiency are so important.â€ Just like the trackâ€™s feature attractions, the towerâ€™s design didnâ€™t feature any excesses. Structural engineers at Walter P Moore helped ensure every piece of steel did some kind of work so the tower was as efficient as possible. Read More
Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
5601 Main Street
December 19 through March 9, 2014
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) is hosting an eye-opening exhibition this winter that will uncover the rich history of the ancient trade routes of the Arabian Peninsula. Organized by the Smithsonianâ€™s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., in association with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Roads of Arabia willÂ feature objects recently excavated from more than 10Â archaeological sites, and give insight into the culture and economy of this ancient civilization. Recently discovered objects along the trade routes include alabaster bowlsÂ and fragile glassware as well as heavy gold earrings andÂ monumental statues. All of the artifacts are testament to the lively exchange between Arabs and their neighbors, includingÂ the Egyptians, Syrians, Babylonians, and Greco-Romans.
Form/Unformed:Â Design from 1960 to the Present
The Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood Street
Extended through December 2014
The Dallas Museum of Art is celebrating the work of prolific designers and architects from the 1960s to the presentÂ with its first comprehensive design exhibition. Some ofÂ the featured designers include Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, Aldo Rossi, Zaha Hadid, and Donald Judd. Drawn entirely from the Museumâ€™s own collection, the exhibition revealsÂ the evolution of forms and ideologies that have shapedÂ international design over the last half century.
â€œSeveralÂ of the works on view are recent acquisitions that reflect the continuing expansion of the Museumâ€™s decorative arts and design program to include historic American and European work, as well as contemporary objects of internationalÂ significance,â€ said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. From modern jewelryÂ like The Golden Fleece, to iconic furniture, the exhibition spotlights the extraordinary work of some of the best designers of our time.
According to a very confidential source, engineers currently working on the Waller Creek tunnel believe that Austin sits on top of some of the most optimal conditions for tunneling in the entire U.S. These number-crunching problemÂ solvers claimed that a subway tunnel beneath the Texas State Capitalâ€™s downtown would cost 1/10th of the amount it would in most places in the country. However,Â the brainiacs also said that there are those in high places who do not want that knowledge spread around (read TxDOT) because the construction of more freeways is making certain people a great deal of money.
Yesterday, Houston voters killed a $200 million ballot initiative to renovate the unused Astrodome. Fifty-three percent opposed the measure and 47 percent supported it. The plan would have turned the stadiumâ€”the first domed and air-conditioned professional stadiumâ€”into a multi-use event and convention space. Houston’s professional sports teams now play in Reliant Stadium next door and Minute Made Park in downtown Houston. Without funding for renovation, the dome appears destined for demolition.
Tomorrow, AN will release the results of the “Re-imagine the Astrodome” competition, which includes both pragmatic and visionary ideas for re-using the Space Age structure. To celebrate, join us for coffee and refreshments at the Texas Society of Architects in the Grand Lobby of Fort Worth Convention Center from 10:00-11:00 a.m. We’ll also be launching the inaugural issue of the Southwest edition. Stop by meet AN‘s new Southwest Aaron Seward.
Austin, Texasâ€“based architects Dan Cheetham and Michelle Tarsney have given a new face to some of the city’s underutilized spaces: alleyways. Their one-of-a-kind community art installation,Â 20ft WIDE, seeks to resolve conflict between architecture, art, and humanism in order to create places of lasting value.Â The once forgotten alley between Ninth and Tenth streets, which connects Congress Avenue and Brazos Street in Downtown Austin, has been transformed into a collaborative space toÂ bring attention to public urban places and foster discussion about the new possibilities for their uses
Austinâ€™s new temporary art installation, THIRST, is inspired by Texasâ€™ ongoing periods of severe drought since 2011. According to studies conducted by Texas A&M Forest Services, over 300 million trees have succumbed to the stateâ€™s extremely dry conditions over the past three years. Located between the Pfluger Pedestrian Crossway and the Lamar Boulevard Bridge, a white-ghostly tree now hovers over Lady Bird Lake and is surrounded by a floating barrier.