Master adobe architects are looking for volunteers interested in building with little more than the earth around them

(Courtesy Adobe Alliance)

(Courtesy Adobe Alliance)

Simone Swan is perhaps this country’s most important advocate for adobe or mud brick architecture.  In 1997, Swan left her New York home and moved to “500 acres of scenic fringe of the Chihuahuan desert near Presidio, Texas. There she founded the Adobe Alliance to teach the earth building techniques she had learned from the great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy.

Continue reading after the jump.

Muñoz & Company Quilt with Glass and Masonry

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Multicolored glass curtain walls embody the quilt metaphor at the heart of Muñoz & Company's Billy Dade Middle School. (Courtesy Muñoz & Company)

Multicolored glass curtain walls embody the quilt metaphor at the heart of Muñoz & Company’s Billy Dade Middle School. (Courtesy Muñoz & Company)

Envelope inspired by history of Dallas’ African-American community.

For the past 20 years, San Antonio–based Muñoz & Company (formerly Kell Muñoz Architects) has focused primarily on what president and CEO Henry Muñoz III calls “the architecture of identity.” The bulk of that work, in turn, has been concentrated on the United States–Mexico border, where the architects collaborated with clients in majority-Latino communities. Read More

Real-life SimCity in New Mexico to become testing ground for new technologies that will power smart cities

(Courtesy SimCity)

(Courtesy SimCity)

A simulation video game can become a powerful innovation lab for new urban technologies, where researchers can test-drive every outlandish “what-if?” in a controlled environment. The Center for Innovation, Technology and Evaluation is launching a full-scale SimCity—a small, fully functioning ghost town equipped with the technology touted by futurists as the next generation of smart cities. Resembling a modest American town with a population of 35,000 spread over 15 miles, the virtual metropolis is sited on a desolate stretch of land in southern New Mexico.

More after the jump.

On View> The Menil Collection presents “Barnett Newman: The Late Collection”

Art, Design, On View, Southwest
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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(Courtesy Menil Collection)

(Courtesy Menil Collection)

Barnett Newman: The Late Collection
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross Street, Houston, Texas
Through August 2

The Late Collection pays homage to Barnett Newman, an artist who came to define the spiritual aspirations of American painting in the mid-20th century by deviating from traditional concepts of figure and foreground in search of an experience of the sublime. The exhibition charts the technical and material transformations of the twilight period of Newman’s career, including his transition from oil to acrylic paint.

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TEX-FAB explores new frontiers in high performance facade design

Plasticity Pavilion. (Courtesy Andrew Vrana)

Plasticity Pavilion. (Courtesy Andrew Vrana)

The motto of Houston architecture, civic art, and product design firm METALAB is “finding new and better ways to build things.” In addition to forming the core of his professional practice, this mission aptly describes principal Andrew Vrana’s work with the Texas digital design and production network TEX-FAB.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kirksey’s Julie Hendricks on closing the gap between designed, actual performance

Kirksey's Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza. (Jilleann77 via Wikipedia)

Kirksey’s Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza. (Jilleann77 via Wikipedia)

As EcoServices team leader for Kirksey Architecture, Julie Hendricks spends her days thinking about how to build sustainably without busting a project’s budget.

Continue reading after the jump.

High performance facade design is on the rise in Houston, says Jorge Muñoz

HOK's Sysco headquarters building in Houston. (Hequals2henry / Wikimedia Commons)

HOK’s Sysco headquarters building in Houston. (Whisper To Me / Wikimedia Commons)

As founding principal of Muñoz Albin, Jorge Muñoz has a unique global perspective on high performance facade design. Based in Houston, the firm’s earliest projects were located overseas. “In the last 20 plus years, we have worked and continue to work on projects in Western Europe, where there is a tradition of more generous budgets on building envelopes as well as more flexible user and developer demands on efficiency,” said Muñoz.

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Sanjeev Tankha explains the intracacies of engineering facades for hot, humid Houston

Houston's sunny climate presents a special set of challenges to facade designers and fabricators. (Theodore Scott / Flickr)

Houston’s sunny climate presents a special set of challenges to facade designers and fabricators. (Theodore Scott / Flickr)

Thanks to the city’s humid subtropical climate, facade designers and fabricators face a special set of challenges in Houston. Unchecked, steady sunshine and high temperatures can permeate the building envelope, leading to a heavy reliance on mechanical cooling systems. Meanwhile, Houston’s Gulf Coast location makes it vulnerable to tropical storms.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gensler’s Kristopher Stuart on Houston’s Facades Scene

Facades+AM makes its Houston debut June 18. (Katie Haugland / Flickr)

Facades+AM makes its Houston debut June 18. (Katie Haugland / Flickr)

For Kristopher Stuart, design director and principal at Gensler, Houston‘s rapid evolution is exactly what makes practicing architecture there exciting. Read More

Here are the three finalists in the ULI’s 2015 New Orleans–focused Hines Competition

Claiborne Grove.

Claiborne Grove.

As AN recently reported, the Urban Land Institute recently named four finalist in its 2015 Hines Competition to reimagine the Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods in New Orleans: two multidisciplinary teams from Harvard University, one from Maryland University, and a joint team representing the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

See the finalists after the jump.

Nick Cecchi reflects on Doors Open Denver and the future of the city’s architecture and public design

Architecture, Southwest
Monday, May 4, 2015
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Denver's Union Station. (COURTESY SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL)

Denver’s Union Station. (COURTESY SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL)

Doors Open Denver turned 11 this spring with the Denver Architectural Foundation hosting the showcase of Denver architecture and design from the recently renovated Union Station. The event ran April 25th and 26th and included open houses at some of Denver’s most notable historic buildings, as well as tours and open doors at many local firms.

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Save the Date! Facades+AM heads to Houston this June

Facades+AM is coming to Houston June 18. (Sarath Kutchi / Flickr)

Facades+AM is coming to Houston June 18. (Sarath Kuchi / Flickr)

They say “everything is bigger in Texas.” So it goes for Houston‘s skyline, the fourth largest in the United States. Big, too, are the names behind Space City’s most iconic skyscrapers. The city’s tallest, the 75-story JPMorgan Chasetower, was designed by I.M. Pei in 1981.

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