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.

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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.

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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

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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Eavesdrop> Police raid millionaire murder suspect’s Houston condo

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
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Robert Durst. (Courtesy HBO)

Robert Durst. (Courtesy HBO)

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.

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Eavesdrop> It’s Very European! Houston developers invoke the Old World to help sell real estate

Before and after of the Alessandra Hotel design. (Courtesy Gensler)

Before and after of the Alessandra Hotel design. (Courtesy Gensler)

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.”

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Here’s the Urban Land Institute’s plan for turning the Houston Astrodome into a park

Even though it has been an empty, rotting hulk for nearly a decade, Houston hasn't been able to make a decision on the Astrodome. (Courtesy Uffah!!!/flickr)

Even though it has been an empty, rotting hulk for nearly a decade, Houston hasn’t been able to decide whether to save or raze its beloved/neglected/hated Astrodome. (Courtesy Uffah!!!/flickr)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Zaha to touch down in Houston

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, January 26, 2015
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(Montage by AN; skyline photo by Tom Haymes / Flickr)

(Montage by AN; skyline photo by Tom Haymes / Flickr)

 

It was announced in July of 2014 (very quietly evidently) that Zaha Hadid had been commissioned to design a new headquarters for real estate/oil and gas conglomerate The Richland Companies in Houston. Why had we not heard about this? Well, thanks to Vladimir Kagan, we are now in the know!

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Arktura Forms Gensler’s Frameworks

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
The serpentine steel screen is composed of hundreds of uniquely shaped cells. (Courtesy Arktura)

The serpentine steel screen is composed of hundreds of uniquely shaped cells. (Courtesy Arktura)

Framework is made of 260 unique steel boxes, laser-cut and sculpted on an 18-axis metal forming machine.

When designers at Gensler’s Dallas office dreamt up plans for a serpentine steel screen composed of hundreds of perforated cells, they enlisted the design-build talents of Arktura, based in Gardena, California, 14 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Though still mostly architects, Arktura’s staff includes mechanical engineers and even a physicist. The company’s 50,000-square-foot space includes a design studio, an engineering studio, and manufacturing space where they produce furniture, architectural products, and custom projects—like the one Gensler took to calling “Frameworks: Cellure Structure.”

“It’s in our DNA to allow a lot of flexibility when we’re working with design teams,” said Sebastian Muñoz, director of project design and development. Gensler’s concept remained intact through numerous redesigns, Muñoz said, but getting it right required a lot of flexibility.

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