The last time Robert Durst—the accused killer and heir to one of New York City’s most influential real estate dynasties—was behind bars in the Southwest, he was on trial for the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston, Texas. That time he was caught after swiping a sandwich and some Band-Aids from a Pennsylvania supermarket while wearing cross-dressing attire. Now, he is donning an orange jumpsuit once again.
This year’s Texas Society of Architects Design Conference focused on the topic of craft and was framed by a discussion of noted regional modernist O’Neil Ford. It was held in the north Texas town of Denton where Ford began his professional career and executed several important early projects.
Grand Prairie, Texas, has been spared what could have been the nation’s first indoor ski resort and Hard Rock Hotel. The project’s developer, The Grand Alps Group, pulled the $215 million proposal after a meeting with Grand Prairie’s mayor and city manager. They were not happy about losing the big fish. “We were a little surprised,” City Manager Tom Hart told the Dallas Morning News. “We thought we had a pretty good meeting.”
Eavesdrop is scratching its head. First, in January, Gensler released new renderings for the Hotel Alessandra in downtown Houston. Where before the firm had proposed a sleek modern glass tower for the site with strong, swooping vertical lines that accentuated the building’s height, the new iteration shows a collection of rectilinear facade treatments of varying levels of transparency arranged to express a podium, tower, and crown with cornice. Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of the project’s developer, Midway, described the new look as a “modern interpretation of European style.”
Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture
Dallas Center for Architecture
1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway
Through April 25
The Dallas Center for Architecture is presenting a selection of Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban’s disaster relief designs. Ban’s humanitarian architecture has confronted some of the world’s most devastating natural and manmade cataclysms in the last 20 years. The Japanese architect is known for his pioneering designs for United Nations refugee shelters in the mid-1990s, using inexpensive and often recycled materials such as paper tubes and cardboard to make durable, shock-proof structures.
Décor: A Conquest
Aspen Art Museum
637 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, Colorado
Through March 1, 2015
Objects of war have long been used for decorative purposes. Mounted on walls and thus removed from their original context, these weapons take on new meaning. In his inaugural exhibition for the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1974, Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaer explored this familiar, yet strange dual identity of weapons as everyday objects but also as “symbols of power.” The Aspen Art Museum, in its new building by Shigeru Ban, has reinstalled this pioneering work.
Where Nature and Technology Merge: Texas Society of Architects announces Field Constructs Design Competition
As architects and designers increasingly defer to nature in light of environmental issues, eco-friendly technology takes precedence. The Texas Society of Architects has announced the Field Constructs Design Competition which welcomes proposals from artists, designers, architects, and landscape architects for a temporary site-specific public installation within the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin, Texas.
In late January 2014, an Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services panel presented recommendations for the dilapidated Houston Astrodome. The report follows several ill-fated dome reuse attempts, including a plan and $200 million bond referendum to turn it into a convention center that was shot down by Harris County voters in 2013. The ULI panel was definitive in its assessment. The dome, it stated, must be saved. It also unveiled a plan, complete with design sketches and funding strategies, to transform the former stadium into a public park that could be completed in time for Super Bowl LI, which Houston is hosting in 2017.