Plan to Gut, Reroute, & Rewire Houston’s Bus System Needs Community Support

(Joe Mazzoia/Flickr)

The MetroRail in Downtown Houston (Joe Mazzoia/Flickr)

Although Houston has been expanding outward for decades, its bus system has hardly kept up. This is not surprising given the track record for many American cities where cars take precedence over public transit. But what is unexpected—to the point of being radical—is a proposal that will grant greater, more efficient access to Houston’s commuters for not a penny more than its current cost.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Gravity-Free Leap in Commercial Space Travel

News, Southwest
Thursday, June 5, 2014
.
(Courtesy gizmag.com)

(Courtesy gizmag.com)

Buckle up: the gap between commercial space travel and the present moment is rapidly narrowing. Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America (designed by Foster + Partners) recently signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration granting access to airspace in New Mexico, with designs to turn the ground beneath into a commercial spaceflight center.

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Streamlined Streets Aim to Enhance Houston’s Quality of Life

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Dunlavey Street in central Houston typifies the image of a Southwestern city street. It’s a sprawling, four lane affair that is approximately 50 percent usable, 80 percent pedestrian unsafe, and, in this case, 100 percent in need of an update. Transportation officials are evening out the numbers for a proposed road diet that would reduce the four-lane street to two and using the outer lane space for parking, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Menil’s Modulated Light: Museum’s Design Creates a Light Choreography Through Space

Light Modulation starts outside the building (MDI/ Johnston Marklee)

Light Modulation starts outside the building (MDI/ Johnston Marklee)

The architecture of Johnston Marklee’s recently-unveiled Menil Drawing Institute has wowed most observers and critics, including our own. But an equally significant element of the $40 million project is its lighting, a combination of innovation and subtlety, natural and artificial light.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> “Soto: The Houston Penetrable” Suspends 24,000 Tubes in Kinetic Display

Art, Interiors, On View, Southwest
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
.
(Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

(Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

Soto: The Houston Penetrable
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet
Through September 1, 2014

The final installation in Jesús Rafael Soto’s Penetrables series—Houston Penetrable—will be on view at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as of May 8. An interactive display of 24,000 PVC tubes, each hand painted and tied, will hang from the second story of the museum’s Cullinan Hall.

More after the jump.

Q+A> Mathieu Lefevre, Executive Director of the New Cities foundation

Mathieu Lefevre (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

Mathieu Lefevre (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

This year, the Europe-based New Cities Foundation is bringing its annual New Cities Summit to the Dallas Arts District, from June 17 to 19. Eight hundred global thought leaders will convene at the Winspear Opera House to listen to speakers, engage in workshops, and take advantage of world-class networking opportunities. The Architect’s Newspaper is one of the summit media partners. AN Southwest editor Aaron Seward recently spoke to Mathieu Lefevre, the Executive Director of the New Cities Foundation, about what the organization has on tap for this year’s summit, whose theme is Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis.

Aaron Seward: Let’s start by getting some background on the New Cities Summit. What is it? Why did it start? And what does it hope to achieve?

Mathieu Lefevre: The New Cities Summit started when the New Cities Foundation was set up, in 2010. It’s a non-profit whose mission is to make cities better. The event is aimed at shaping the global conversation and adding to the creative thought leadership surrounding how to shape what we are calling the Century of Cities. We held the first summit in 2012 in Paris; then we went to São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013; and this year we’re coming to Texas.

Continue reading after the jump.

San Antonio Mayor Reportedly Tapped To Replace Donovan as HUD Secretary

Julian Castro who is expected to be the next HUD Secretary. (FLICKR / NOWCastSA)

Julian Castro who is expected to be the next HUD Secretary. (FLICKR / NOWCastSA)

President Obama will reportedly nominate San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed by the senate, Castro will succeed Shaun Donovan, a trained architect, who has been at the agency since 2009. Donovan is expected to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dallas Developer Wants to Adopt Abandoned Parking Lot, Turn it Towards Economic Viability

(Photo Courtesy of HKS Architects)

(Photo Courtesy of HKS Architects)

Dallas developer Shawn Todd is proposing a $100 million parking-garage-and-park combo for a downtown parking lot that Dallas has been trying to get underway for years now. And while stories about parking garages aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, Todd’s plans are making a particularly idiosyncratic splash. Besides a massive media screen, a Trader Joe’s grocery store, and adding a plethora of parking spots to downtown Dallas, the garage and park won’t cost the city a penny. Todd plans to pay for it all by himself.

Continue reading after the jump.

Before & After> Baton Rouge Proposes an Ambitious Greenway Overhaul

06b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper06a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper

 

How the greenway might look as it passes through Expressway Park.

 

As AN reported in our latest Southwest edition, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are gearing up for changes across their respective urban landscapes with two new master plans by landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels. The firm has shared these before and after views of the proposed Baton Rouge Greenway, which provides “a vision for a greenway that connects City-Brooks Park near LSU’s campus on the south side of the city to the State Capitol grounds to the north, while stitching together adjoining neighborhoods and other smaller landscaped areas along the way” Slide back and forth to see existing conditions and SMM’s plans for the area and be sure to learn more about the projects in AN‘s news article.

See more after the jump.

Jamie Carpenter Dresses up Dallas’ Cotton Bowl in Disco Fashion

Southwest
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
.

(Courtesy Jamie Carpenter Design Associates)

Jamie Carpenter, the world-renowned architect who has left his mark on projects like New York City’s Millennium Tower, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and others, recently revealed his latest work, Light Veil, at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Cotton Bowl Public Art Project, a $25.5 million endeavor aimed at revamping the stadium, included a contest that Carpenter won out for equipping the stadium with a new facade.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Beyond Craft at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Art, On View, Southwest
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
.
(Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts Houston)

(Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts Houston)

Beyond Craft
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
1001 Bissonnet, Houston
Through May 26

The Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection is one of the most remarkable decorative arts collections in the world, and goes a long way toward challenging the idea that there is a difference between decorative and high art. Although primarily American in scope, it also encompasses significant pieces by acclaimed international artists.

More info after the jump.

With One Art Barn Down, Plans At Another Texas University Alarm Preservationists

UT Dallas Art Barn (Courtesy of Mark Lamster)

UT Dallas Art Barn. (Courtesy Mark Lamster)

It’s a bad year to be an Art Barn. Only two weeks after Rice University demolished its beloved structure, UT Dallas announced plans to close down its own Art Barn, with its exact fate remaining unclear. Architecture critic Mark Lamster, among others, voiced speculation over the building’s shutdown and possible removal from UT Dallas’ campus.

Continue reading after the jump.

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