Building Envelopes: Greater Performance from Fewer Materials

A month or so ago I gave the kick-off talk at the Building Enclosure Council National Symposium, taking a very quick and dirty look at two kinds of history of building enclosures.  I have had a keen interest in building enclosures since I co-chaired the Technology Conference for…

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Architecture is Frozen Music at UT Rio Grande Valley Performing Arts Center

In a March 2014 blog, I discussed the construction and design of the new University of Texas Pan Am Performing Arts Center in the Rio Grande Valley.  Now the building is complete and this spring saw its first concert.  Following a punch list that was accomplished over the…

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Learning From What We Build

In a data-driven world, why don’t we, as architects, gather more data about the performance of our buildings—particularly in the form of post-occupancy evaluations?  Wouldn’t it be a potent tool for advocacy of the importance of our profession if we could demonstrate the…

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Low Budget, High Impact: The New TDECU Stadium

As the University of Houston Cougars complete their first season in the new TDECU Stadium, I’m reminded of a Houston Chronicle article on the project a couple of months ago that posed: “How do you take a big pile of concrete and make it look good?”  Good question, and one that…

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Comparing and Contrasting Two New Museums In Michigan

While in Michigan recently, I paid a visit to two new and strikingly different museums, both designed by well known architects: the Broad Museum by Zaha Hadid at Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan Art Museum by Allied Works. After visiting both, it…

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Thoughts on Sol LeWitt: The Visionary and the Makers of His Art

It really irks me when I hear someone talk about some piece of architecture that “rises to the level of art.”  Although I have a lot of respect for art, from my modest perspective, architecture operates at a much richer and more complex level.  It involves many more people and…

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Constructing the UT Pan American Performing Arts Center

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the construction site for our new UT Pan American Performing Arts Center.  We’re using load-bearing masonry walls, and at this stage, with the project half-complete, the building has the look of a modern-day Roman ruin.  I love this stage of…

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On campus, student life is one big smash-up.

For most of my career, I've been associated with a university in one way or another, much of it at the University of Texas at Austin.  Over 35 years, I've observed major changes in the way students go about their routines, how they study, socialize, relax, gather information,…

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