Search results for "san antonio"

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Texas Holl 'Em
Holl's building has a distinctive
Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

On January 15, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), unveiled plans for the redevelopment of its 14-acre campus, which includes new buildings by Steven Holl Architects as well as Lake | Flato Architects of San Antonio. Holl is contributing a unifying master plan, a 164,000-square-foot gallery space for 20th and 21st century art, and a new 80,000-square-foot facility for the Glassell School of Art. Lake | Flato is designing a state-of-the-art conservation center, which is still in the concept phase.

“This is the most important commission of my career,” said Holl at a press luncheon in New York where he presented the plans. “What you see here is the culmination of a 36-month design process.”


The master plan seeks to integrate the new structures with MFAH’s current facilities, which represent nearly a century of building. They include a limestone Greek Revival edifice by Houston architect William Ward Watkin (1924, the oldest art museum in Texas), which is connected to a free-span steel and glass addition by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1958/74), his only museum work in the United States; a sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi (1986); and a Rafael Moneo–designed building for the display of European art (2000). The plan also strives to improve the pedestrian experience across the campus, as well as in Houston’s Museum District neighborhood as a whole, by moving 190,000 square feet of parking into two underground garages, which will make room for a series of new public spaces in addition to the new buildings.


Holl’s design for the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building for 20th and 21st century art is sited on the location of an existing surface parking lot at the northeast edge of the campus, across Bissonnet Street from the Mies and Moneo structures. The building, clad in etched glass tubes that allow in filtered daylight and emit a glow at night, is three stories tall. Seven vertical gardens are cut into the building perimeter with exterior reflecting pools at the ground level. In these vegetation-shaded sanctuaries vision glass takes over from the translucent tubes. Inside, two levels of galleries—54,000 square feet in all—surround a top-lit, three-level rotunda. The upper level is sheltered under a “luminous canopy” roof, which has concave curves inspired by the billowing clouds of the big Texas sky. All of the gallery spaces feature natural light. Holl is working with New York–based lighting design firm L’Observatoire International on the project. In addition to galleries, the building contains a 202-seat theater, restaurant and café, and meeting rooms.


The new structure is clad in glass tubes with inset gardens and reflecting pools, allowing Light to filter into the interior.

The new Glassell School of Art will replace its existing 35-year-old facility, which was designed by Houston architect S.I. Morris, who had a hand in the Astrodome. At 80,000 square feet, the new building has an L-shaped plan wrapping around a public plaza that opens onto the Noguchi sculpture garden. Clad in sandblasted precast concrete panels, it has a green roof that slopes up from the ground, which visitors and students can climb to catch a view over the trees and rooftops of Houston.

The museum also announced that it will select a landscape architect to work with Holl on fleshing out the master plan. Construction will begin later this year and is slated for completion in 2019.

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Landscape & Fabrication
Jeff Goldberg

On December 12, in New York City, seven jurors convened to evaluate and discuss more than 200 projects submitted to AN's second annual Best Of Design Awards.

The jury included Thomas Balsley, of Thomas Balsley Associates; Winka Dubbeldam, of ARCHI-TECTONICS; Kenneth Drucker, of HOK; Chris McVoy, of Steven Holl Architects; Craig Schwitter, of Buro Happold; Annabelle Selldorf, of Selldorf Architects; and Erik Tietz, of Tietz-Baccon.

This year, the jury reviewed projects submitted in nine categories, including Best Facade, Best Landscape, Best Single Family House, Best Multi-Family Residential, Best Residential Interior, Best Non-Residential Interior, Best Fabrication Project, Best Student Built Work, and Building of the Year.

In some categories the jury selected a winner and honorable mentions, in others just winners, and in one, Single Family House, they selected a tie between two winners. Over the coming days we will be posting all of the jury’s selections.

Best Of: Landscape

Clark Art Institute
Williamstown, Massachusetts
Reed Hilderbrand, Tadao Ando, Gensler


“I think it’s an extraordinary example of the possibilities of the integration of architecture and landscape and then nature beyond. The lines have been blurred wherever you go, wherever the eye travels. What is particularly impressive to me is the performative nature of the landscape. It seems to be something that was first and foremost on their minds as they were doing the site planning. It’s quite an impressive piece of landscape architecture.”—Thomas Balsley

Jeff Goldberg; Alex MacLean

The redesign of the Clark Art Institute’s 140-acre campus opened this summer following a 14-year collaboration to bring nature and art closer to everyday life. The design team worked to shape a publicly accessible landscape that unites diverse buildings and more fully situates the institution within the natural and cultural patterns of the Berkshires.

Millicent Harvey; Jeff Goldberg

New roads and two miles of walking trails expand access to underutilized landscape resources. The team reshaped meadows, protected streams, restored woodlands, and rebuilt the campus core, transforming parking lots into a tiered reflecting pool that unifies a new visitor education and exhibition center, the museum, and the research center.

Reflecting the Berkshire landscape beyond and functionally marrying site drainage, groundwater management, and gray water systems, the pools articulate a stewardship agenda that unites the cultural and natural resources of the Clark.

Patrick Winn; Scott Adams; Fernando Ortega

Best Of: Fabrication

The Gourd
San Antonio, Texas
Overland Partners

“It’s not just something to look at. The kids can use it and probably have fun and people looking at it from the outside are going to be intrigued by it. The panelization is intricate enough, but you get the understanding of how it comes together. You’re using the fabrication technique to illustrate the joy of the structure.”—Erik Tietz


Built for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens’ human-sized birdhouse competition, the Gourd offers a playful platform from which to contemplate the complex relationship between humans and the natural world.



Overland Partners chose a shape inspired by the bottle gourd, first used in its hollowed-out form by Native Americans to attract Purple Martins as a nesting spot. The Gourd is built out of 70 plates of 12-gauge Corten steel wrapped around a robin’s egg blue internal octahedron structure, and perforated with more than 1,000 Ball Mason jars. Each steel plate, unique in shape and size, was fabricated using CNC laser cutting and assembled in house by the design team.

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Product> Above the Ordinary: Best Bath Fixtures and Fittings
Including an architect-designed element in the bath can elevate the look of the room without breaking the client's budget. Whether a suite of fixtures or a single item, it's an added-value investment. Starck 1 Washbasin Duravit This modern washbasin features a unique faucet hole that is nearly impossible to machine fabricate. The faucet surround of the sink is hand-sanded to create an entirely flat surface on the top and sides of the hole, resulting in a unique appearance. Armonia Console Antonio Lupi Sleekly carved in American walnut, the frame of this console exhibits influences from both mid-century sources and Art Nouveau in its light, fluid lines. Designed by Roberto Lazzeroni. Onda Vanity Hastings Tile & Bath The Onda collection combines curves and colors in almost infinite arrangements. The vanities are available in 36 matte or gloss colors or a natural oak finish. Finishes can be mixed within the same vanity; curves can be parallel or asymmetrical. Tops are offered in 36 glass colors and nine solid surface options. In 60 cm, 90cm, and 105 cm sizes. Beyond Crystal THG The Beyond Crystal collection comprises fittings and accessories that feature Baccarat crystal handles in a contemporary rectangular form. The fittings are illuminated by dimmable LED lights. Available in colors as well as clear crystal, the line includes tub fillers and shower sets. Designed by Rémi Tessier. Marc Newson Linear Drain Infinity Drain For zero-threshold applications, these 14-gauge stainless steel grates have a fixed flange that siplifies installation. Available in five finishes. Designed by Marc Newson. Living Square Washbasin Laufen A proprietary new ceramic material, named SaphirKeramik, has been developed with remarkable properties that directly impact design. Its flexural strength, for example, has been measured at 120kp/sq. mm, which is comparable to steel, and twice as high as that of vitreous china. The hardness of the recyclable material enables the creation of extremely thin (1-2mm) walls and tight corner radii (2mm) that characterize modern design.
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Southwest Editor's Picks
Johnston Marklee's design for the Menil Drawing Institute.
Courtesy Johnston Marklee

The Southwest got another major dose of architecture and urbanism in 2014, which we covered with the founding of AN's southwest regional print newspaper. Austin and San Antonio approved multimodal transit hubs, Nelson Byrd Woltz laid out plans to revamp Houston's Memorial Park, and Louisiana got resiliency master plans. And that's just the start of it.

Reading Community

Designed by Lake-Flato and Shepley Bulfinch, Austin's new central library will be a hub for the capital city.

Continue reading.


You Will Get Wet

Austin's new children's museum educates and entertains through architecture. 

[Continue reading.]



Wright Goes to Bentonville

Crystal Bridges Museum acquires a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House from New Jersey.



Spurring Development

San Antonio hopes a multimodal transit facility will bring new life to its near west side.



Drawing and Dappled Light

The Menil Collection unveils Johnston Marklee-designed Drawing Institute.



Water Bodies

First phase of Dallas' Trinity Lakes project gets underway.




Tactical Landscapes

Spackman Mossop Michaels makes plans for Baton Rouge and New Orleans.



Mall of Education

Austin's Highland Mall to be transformed into a college campus and transit-oriented mixed-use development.



Land Without Fences

Nelson Byrd Woltz presents initial ideas for redesign of Houston's Memorial Park.




Eclecticism Ordered

A polyphony of design voices make up Austin's new Lamar Union complex.




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A Landmark Anniversary
New York School of Interior Design's Rescued, Restored, Reimagined exhibit includes the Marine Air Terminal.
Larry Lederman / Courtesy New York School of Interior Design

Next year brings the 50th anniversary of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. Big celebrations—collectively known as NYC Landmarks50—are in the works and several exhibitions on historical landmarks will be popping up around the city.

The Museum of the City of New York will present an exhibit entitled Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, starting April 21, 2015. Co-curators are Donald Albrecht, the museum’s Curator of Architecture and Design, and Andrew Dolkart, Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University. Curator Seri Worden, who runs the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation, provided additional support.

On March 6, 2015, The New York School of Interior Design will open Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, an exhibit focusing on spaces that have been designated interior landmarks.

The New York Transit Museum is mounting an exhibit on landmarks of transportation to be held in Grand Central Terminal. It is curated by Anthony Robins, author of Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark.

Currently on view at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College is an exhibit entitled The Landmarks of New York.

New York School of Interior Design's Rescued, Restored, Reimagined exhibit includes the Customs House, Collections Room.
Larry Lederman / Courtesy New York School of Interior Design

Organizers of these commemorative events and exhibits say the 50th anniversary of New York’s Landmarks Law—signed by mayor Robert F. Wagner on April 19, 1965—is an ideal time to reflect on how it has changed the city and set an example for others. Many consider the law’s passage and the formation of the preservation commission to be key factors in New York’s rebirth in recent decades. Today, according to the commission, there are more than 31,000 landmark properties in New York City, and most of them are located in 111 historic districts and 20 historic district extensions in all five boroughs. The number of protected sites also includes 1,338 individual landmarks, 117 interior landmarks, and 10 scenic landmarks.

Fifty is “a nice big number,” said Robins. “This is a great moment to get people’s attention. It’s a good excuse to stop and think and look back and see what 50 years of the landmarks law have given to New York and get ready to move forward to the next century.”

Robins said New York’s preservation commission is the only city agency that he can think of where property owners “band together and demand to be regulated.” He said he believes all the Landmarks50 celebrations will be worth it if it reminds people they still need to be vigilant and insist that historic places are protected. “You can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “If you don’t keep up the pressure, it could go away.”

The 50-year mark is also significant because that is the age when buildings are considered historic by one key federal standard. Under the guidelines of the National Register of Historic Places, the federally sanctioned roster of historic sites compiled by the National Park Service, buildings must be at least 50 years old before they can be considered for listing, although exceptions can be made.

Still more preservation panels will pass the 50 year mark over the next few years. The Commission of Architectural Review in Richmond, Virginia, will turn 50 in 2017. San Francisco got its Historic Preservation Advisory Board in 1967. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks came about in 1968. In Florida, the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board was launched in 1968 and the city’s Historical Architectural Review Board started in 1974. Annapolis’ Historical Preservation Commission, formed in 1953, got regulatory powers in 1969. Panels in Lowell, Massachusetts and Savannah, Georgia, started in 1973.

In some cases, citywide preservation panels replaced or absorbed commissions that were formed earlier to protect smaller districts within the city. In most cases, public preservation commissions have powers to recommend that individual buildings, sites, objects, and districts be designated to receive landmark protection and then to review and approve proposed changes to designated buildings or districts. For that reason, they are often seen as the first line of defense in protecting historic buildings from demolition or defacement. A few boards have begun to designate interiors as well as exteriors.

Preservation commissions have varying degrees of authority to prevent demolitions and designate landmarks. Some are advisory to the city’s mayor or other city agencies, such as the city council, or only have temporary powers to block demolition. Some cannot nominate a building for landmark designation if the owner objects. Chicago’s preservation commission drew widespread criticism over the past year for failing to prevent demolition of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, despite pleas from many architects and other design experts that the building was architecturally significant.

Most of the country’s preservation commissions were created after the preservation controversies and losses of the mid 1960s and passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, though there are many that are older. Charleston, South Carolina, has the country’s oldest citywide preservation commission. It started in 1920. The Vieux Carré Commission in New Orleans, created to protect the French Quarter, was established as an advisory board in 1925 and gained regulatory powers in 1937. The preservation board in San Antonio, Texas, began in 1939. Philadelphia’s Historical Commission will turn 60 in 2015. Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation turned 50 this year.

According to the National Trust, approximately 500 towns and cities in America had preservation commissions as of 1978. The number grew to 1,000 by the late 1980s, 2,000 by the end of the 90s. There are more than more than 2,300 today.

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Good Neighbors, You May Be Sure
Courtesy UT Press

Highland Park and River Oaks: The Origins of Garden Suburban Community Planning in Texas
By Cheryl Caldwell Ferguson
University of Texas Press, $70

Cheryl Ferguson’s ambitious new book,Highland Park and River Oaks: The Origins of Garden Suburban Community Planning in Texas, describes an important period in the development of the contemporary suburban American city. While historically, the typical European-American city from 1492 on was a fairly compact, pre-planned grid-iron affair, perfectly illustrated in the seemingly endless parade of checkerboards in John Reps’ classic book, The Making of Urban America (1965), after a several hundred year run, this pattern was superseded by a new model, first appearing on a large scale in the early 1900s. Ferguson’s new book examines the emergence of this kind of development, which she calls the “garden suburban community,” particularly as it appeared in Dallas and Houston between the 1910s and 20s.

Characteristics distinguishing the new garden suburb—often called “additions” since they literally were just that, extensions of the existing city grid—from the old model included their increasingly large size, their street patterns that included curved and cul-de-sac streets, sophisticated advertising campaigns, and extensive restrictive covenants. According to their backers, these highly controlled developments, usually located beyond the boundaries of their host city, were a place of escape “from the pressure, congestion, and corruption of urban life.” They were presented as models of modern planning for fast-growing American cities in the era before zoning became widely adopted. Ferguson begins the book with a concise history of planning in both Houston and Dallas as well as with a discussion of important real estate developments in both cities from the 1850s up to the 1920s. She intersperses these chapters with references to such model suburban communities as Roland Park in Baltimore, Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, and the Country Club District in Kansas City, which directly influenced developments in Texas.



The first example of the modern garden suburb in Texas was Highland Park in Dallas, developed on a tract of 1,326 acres four-and-a-half miles from downtown that was purchased by John S. Armstrong in 1906. In 1907 he, along with his sons in law, Hugh E. Prather and Edgar L. Flippen, commissioned the Los Angeles landscape architect Wilbur David Cook, Jr., known for planning Beverly Hills, to plan the first section of Highland Park. This section was the first in Texas to be planned as an enclave rather than as an extension of the existing city street grid. It featured a pattern of winding roadways that followed the picturesque bends of Turtle Creek. Later sections that included a comprehensive system of parks and parkways were planned by the St. Louis landscape architect, George E. Kessler. In Houston, this model was first successfully adopted in 1924 when Will and Mike Hogg and their associate, Hugh Potter, bought out the nearly bankrupt County Club Estates subdivision, designed by Houston landscape architect Herbert A. Kipp about three-and-a-half miles west of downtown, and increased its size from 178 acres to 1,100 acres. Throughout these chapters, Ferguson includes sections pertaining to the design of significant houses and commercial buildings in these developments. The final chapter examines garden suburbs that used Highland Park and River Oaks as their model in other Texas cities, including Forth Worth, Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Corsicana, and San Antonio.

While the book is a good reference and contains a lot of detailed information that should be of interest to the inhabitants of these communities, the general public, and other historians, it has some shortcomings. One is the jumpy organization. Rather than breaking up the sections by subject, it might have been better to organize them chronologically. Ferguson, for example, discusses Country Club Estates in Houston because it is included in the general overview of planning in Texas before Highland Park, even though it was actually planned about 15 years later and was influenced by its Dallas predecessor in ways that the reader does not know until the next chapter. Another is the generally mediocre quality of the illustrations. Especially when compared to the captivating photographs by Richard Cheek for Stephen Fox’s The Country Houses of John F. Staub (2007), about the most prominent architect to work in River Oaks, or to those by Steve Clicque for Virginia McAlester’s The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas (2008), the photographs is this book, most of which were taken by amateur photographers, seem to fall flat. Also, in an age of easy scanning, it is surprising to see so many hard to read maps and plans.


Although the garden suburb seems to have a lot to offer as a model for urban planning—good looks, nice houses, attractive winding streets, strong property values—all of these come at a substantial cost. The logic of the garden suburb is ultimately that of the enclave. Rather than reforming the fabric of the existing city, which was the method used prior to the 20th century—Baron Haussmann’s reconstruction and modernization of the historic core of Paris from the 1850s through the 1870s is perhaps the best example—the garden suburb, instead, casts the host city as an incorrigible “other” that because of inherent organizational flaws cannot be repaired and must be abandoned. The garden suburb achieves superficial success as an alternate model precisely because of its homogeneity, which is the carefully orchestrated result of its highly restrictive legal and physical restrictions. As an advertisement for River Oaks knowingly explained, “You will have good neighbors, you may be sure… neighbors who are your kind of people.”  Blacks and Hispanics were banned outright from purchasing property in the wording of the restrictive covenants. To provide minority service workers for Highland Park, Flippen and Prather developed the nearby Booker T. Washington Addition, while in River Oaks, property owners complained to Hugh Potter that “the lack of adequate bus service created a serious shortage of servants.” Jews, Whites of Southern European ancestry, and Asians were frequently prohibited from purchasing property by unwritten “gentlemen’s agreements.” While there were sections of Highland Park and River Oaks marketed to somewhat less affluent buyers, minimum construction cost requirements combined with restrictions on duplexes and apartments effectively prevented anyone of less than upper middle class income from living in either community. Finally, their distance from major employment centers and lack of public transportation made them difficult to access for those who did not own a car.

Although this book effectively ends with the Great Depression, it logically could have continued into the New Deal and Postwar years, when many of the fundamental planning and legal concepts pioneered by these developers were adopted on a national level by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and deployed on a large scale across the country. In Houston, for example, Garden Oaks, inaugurated in 1937 as the city’s first FHA-insured subdivision, aped River Oaks, not only in its planning and restrictive covenants, but also in its advertising campaigns. After World War II and continuing right up to the current period, where the restricted enclave—first seen in Highland Park and River Oaks—has become the basic planning unit for all new urban expansion, American cities have changed in profound and not altogether satisfying ways.

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Overland Unclogs Historic Plumbing Warehouse

San Antonio firm transforms vacant industrial building into sunlit workspace.

Dissatisfied with their two-story office, San Antonio architecture practice Overland Partners recently went looking for a new home. They found it in an unexpected place: a long-vacant plumbing supply warehouse within the city's burgeoning arts district. The 1918 Hughes Plumbing Warehouse offered the firm exactly what they wanted—a large open floor plan—in an architecturally refined package. The timber-framed, brick-clad building "is simple," said project architect Patrick Winn, "but it's really elegant and beautiful when you're able to look at it." The problem was that years of disuse had left their mark. "When we first viewed it, it was really far gone," recalled Winn. The original windows had been broken up, and the roof had flooded. Undaunted, the architects took on an extensive renovation project, with the result that today the former plumbing distribution center is a boon not just to Overland, but to the neighborhood as a whole. Prior to renovation, Hughes Warehouse was entirely encased in a double-width brick wall, except for a few garage door openings and two levels of clerestory windows. While the clerestories, approximately 16-20 inches and 20-25 inches in width, provided a good dose of daylight to the interior, they did not provide views out, nor did they facilitate the transition from parking lot to studio. "At Overland we really enjoy blurring the line between the outdoor, natural realm and the indoor, built realm," said Winn. "Right from the get-go we said: we have to cut a courtyard into the building and elongate that entry sequence." Overland carved out approximately 2,000 square feet of space for the new courtyard, which is faced with a custom glass and steel curtain wall. The transparent opening floods the office interior with light and frames views for the occupants. It has also become a de facto community space. "What's been nice is that runners' groups and cycling groups are starting to use our courtyard as a hub for activity," said Winn, who notes that live music and other events at a neighboring coffee shop are an additional draw. "It's brought a lot of life and energy into our space from the courtyard." To secure the courtyard after hours, the architects designed custom steel gates to replace the original, graffiti-covered garage doors. To tie-in to the warehouse's arts-district location, and to pay homage to the graffiti, Overland looked to Jackson Pollock for inspiration. They pixelated photographs on Photoshop before transferring the file to AutoCAD and sending the pattern on to Rivercity Industries, who laser-cut the design into the doors. The doors themselves were fabricated by Overland Workshop. "From the exterior, especially when the lights are on, when you drive by, there's almost a twinkling effect," said Winn of the perforated gates. "They're really neat."
  • Facade Manufacturer Overland Workshop, The Beck Group, Sharp Glass, Tower Steel
  • Architects Overland
  • Facade Installer The Beck Group
  • Location San Antonio, Texas
  • Date of Completion December 2012
  • System Existing brick facade with custom steel and glass curtain wall, glass and steel punch windows, clerestories
  • Products custom steel and glass curtain wall, high-performance windows, Lutron automatic shades, custom gates by Overland Workshop
The architects punched additional windows into the remaining brick facade. "We decided to honor the old brick building," said Winn. "Any new insertion is done with steel and glass." To mitigate solar gain, the new windows are extruded about a foot on the east side of the building, and about two feet on the west. The clerestories and courtyard curtain wall are equipped with automated shades. Though the original steel frames around the clerestory windows would only accept 1/4-inch laminated safety glass, the new windows feature one-inch-thick high performance glass. Additional sustainability measures include a complete board insulation system over the roof. "We loved having brick on the interior, so what we couldn't do there in terms of insulation, we made up for on the roof," explained Winn. "We over-insulated it." A rooftop solar setup offsets about 60 percent of the office's energy consumption. In addition, the architects re-used original materials wherever possible. They built the interior stairs out of old joists, and the contractor saw-cut discarded concrete into pavers for the abutting alley. Even the brittle roof decking found a second life as board forms for the building's cast-in-place concrete elements. The Hughes Warehouse building has exceeded the architects' expectations in terms of bringing the office back together, said Winn. "It's done wonders for us from the standpoint of office culture. People seem to really love working here—it's not a place that's a drag to work in, it's very comfortable." He noted that in less than two years the firm has grown from just over 40 members to about 70, and recalled several recent events, including art shows and a courtyard holiday party, held in the renovated space. "I have to say that Overland's been elevated to a whole other level."
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The Forefront of Design
PARA-Project's Haffenden House in Syracuse, NY.
Courtesy respective firms unless otherwise noted

AN is proud to sponsor New Practices New York, one of the city’s leading showcases of design talent. We extend our congratulations to this year’s selected firms. Their work are on display at the Center for Architecture.

La Casita in Syracuse, NY.


Based in New York, PARA-Project’s work includes cultural, institutional, residential projects, as well as events. The firm is committed to research and multidisciplinary collaborations.

Principal: Jon Lott

Walls of Wax Michael Bastian store for Boffo (left). Ice Palace in Winnipeg (right).
Evan Joseph


Bittertang is a Manhattan-based studio that seeks to cultivate pleasure through vibrant and unexpected designed environments. Organic and biomorphic forms and unconventional materials are combined to create new kinds of objects and spaces.

Principals: Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich.

BQE Trench Reconnection Strategies for Brownstone Brooklyn (left). The Gowanus Sponge Park (right). 

dlandstudio architecture + landscape

Based in Brooklyn, dlandstudio has been at the forefront of innovative green infrastructure projects, working with public and community groups to develop local solutions to environmental problems.

Principal: Susannah Drake.

EPS Grotto in Seoul, South Korea (left). RW Concrete Church in Byeollae, South Korea (right).

NAMELESS Architecture

With offices in New York and Seoul, NAMELESS Architecture’s work ranges from temporary pavilions to permanent buildings influenced by Eastern and Western contexts.

Principals: Unchung Na, Sorae Yoo, and Kiseok Oh.

Sushi-teria in New York (left). Brooklyn Mosque (right).
Amy Barkow


This New York–based form examines the culture of performance and the performance of culture through architectures at a variety of scales, including installations, prototypes, interiors, and speculative urban concepts.

Principals: Ajmal Ismail Aqtash, Richard A. Sarrach, and Tamaki Uchikawa.

The Street Exhibition in Shenzen (left) Proposal for a velodrome in Medellin (right).

Fake Industries Architectural Agonism

With satellite offices in Barcelona, Sydney, and New York, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism is a speculative and provocative studio that extends and blurs the boundaries or architecture.

Principals: Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau.

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HiWorks Architecture Redesigns Houston's Rocket Park, Without Being Asked
When I was a boy growing up in Houston, Texas, one of my favorite field trips was the drive down to Clear Lake to tour NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. One of the highlights of the visit—in addition to seeing Mission Control, eating astronaut ice cream, and picking up a new zero-gravity pen in the gift shop—was the enormous Saturn V rocket, lying on its side in sections, that greeted you as you approached the facility at the corner of Saturn Lane and 2nd Street. In my day, the gargantuan moon rocket was outdoors, perched above the green grass on steel struts, exposed to the elements, proud and naked for all the world to see. This, understandably given Clear Lake's marine environment, led, over the years, to some corrosion. So, between 2003 and 2006, the space launch system was restored and a climate controlled enclosure was built around it—basically a blind metal shed building. The age when American children grew up expecting to spend their adulthood exploring the next frontiers of space has indeed given way to an age when they grow up fretting about the wellbeing of walruses on the North Pole, and, in my view, there is no better signifier of this sad shift in horizons than the fact that the machine that represents one of humankind's greatest achievements ever is now hidden from view in a building that, in its outward aspect, might as well be full of lawnmowers. Well, I wasn't the only child in Texas who wanted to become an astronaut but didn't. There was at least one more, and he became an architect: none other than Brantley Hightower of San Antonio practice HiWorks Architecture, 2nd place winner, along with colleague Erica Goranson, of AN's Reimagine The Astrodome competition. He is now also an AN contributor. Like me, Hightower was inspired by his youthful visits to the Johnson Space Center and was similarly impressed by the nude Saturn V. Furthermore, he was disappointed, if not downright depressed, upon a recent visit to the facility with his own children to find that the monolithic totem of human achievement had been covered in an underwhelming shroud. “You have no idea that the pinnacle of 20th-century engineering is sitting inside that metal building,” said Hightower in a statement. “It’s like they entombed it and in doing so took away so much of the power it has to inspire. It’s not that the building needs to draw attention to itself but what exists now is not appropriate. Its not good architecture.” Back home in San Antone, Hightower got to thinking about a better solution for protecting and exhibiting the Saturn V. Though nobody asked him to do so, he sat down and bent his mind to the job and came up with an idea that NASA's administrators, if not the President of the United States himself, should give careful consideration. Here's the notion, from Hightower's mouth:
The geometry of the proposed building allows the vehicle to be seen in its entirety from the corner of Saturn Lane and 2nd Street just as it was before it was enclosed. Internally, the building’s volume provides visitors with the necessary distance to experience the scale of the vehicle while also providing space for exhibits, lectures, and other special events. A series of elevated catwalks allow the vehicle to be viewed from above – a perspective never before possible. The building’s appearance reflects the mid-century aesthetic that defines the rest of the Johnson Space Center campus.
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Off the Rails
Ted Eytan

The recent trend in streetcar reintroductions and expansions across the US have hit a political speed bump. Most recently, on August 5, voters in Kansas City, Missouri, turned down a proposal to expand the funding mechanism for the city’s downtown streetcar starter line to partially fund a $472 million, 7.6-mile expansion project. Backers of the plan hoped that generating approximately half of the total funds would position the City for federal funding. At a news conference after the defeat of the measure, Mayor Sly James did not concede. “This issue is not over by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

Kansas City is not alone. Earlier this summer, the San Antonio City Council scuttled plans by VIA Metropolitan Transit, the region’s transit agency, to build a 5.9-mile streetcar line downtown. Confronted with a strong anti-streetcar backlash, the mayor and city council are tabling the streetcar discussion into the update of its long range transportation and moving forward with a Charter Amendment next May 2015 that would prohibit the City from funding any streetcar project or allowing streetcar’s on their right-of-way without voter approval.

VIA Board Chairman, Alexander Briseno, explained, “Although we are disappointed that the value of the modern streetcar was not understood or realized by many, we remain optimistic and are committed to continue with our 2035 Comprehensive Transportation Plan.”

Similarly last year in Cincinnati, Ohio, the city council halted $42 million in funding for a $147.8 million, 3.6-mile streetcar project while it was under construction. Then newly elected Mayor John Cranley felt his anti-streetcar stance meant people agreed with him on the subject. An independent audit determined it would cost the city as much to cancel the project as to finish it, and local business leaders stepped in to provide partial funding.

But these setbacks are exceptions to the national trend. There are over 40 streetcar projects nationwide in stages from planning to completion. The quiet revolution that started over a decade ago in Portland, Oregon, and spread to cities across the country has received significant support from the federal transit administration with the appointment of former Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony Foxx to Secretary of Transportation in 2013.

By the end of 2014, both Atlanta and Washington D.C. should have new streetcar lines. In 2015, Kansas City will open its 2.2-mile $100 million starter line, followed by Cincinnati’s line in 2016. “It behooves us to recognize that our infrastructure is not going to get better,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James, “unless we find [local] ways to pay for it.”

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Product> Street Seen: Top 12 Landscape Furnishings
Whether used to enhance the identity of an entire community or an individual institution, street furnishings present a primary opportunity to engage the public with design.  Here's our pick of products—created by Zaha Hadid, Yves Behar, Antonio Citterio, and others—for seating, lighting, and other outdoor accoutrements that have exceptional architectural appeal. Belevedere Spot Double F3 Flos Galvanized aluminum with a coppery finish, this fixture is also offered in a single-head configuration. Designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen. MultipliCITY Litter Landscape Forms Defined by a graceful, cast-aluminum spine and top wing, this container comes in one- and two-bin models. Part of a collection designed in collaboration with Yves Behar and fuseproject. Serac Bench Lab 23 With a ridged, curving form inspired by crevasses in a glacier, this bench is made of a matrix of quartz and resin. Designed by Zaha Hadid. Montana Santa & Cole This design allows bikes to be secured at two points on the frame and wheel. Made of AISI 304 1 1/3-inch stainless steel. Model TF7072 Belson Outdoors Made with ¼-inch steel rebar and Portland cement, this ADA-compliant drinking fountain features a second spout and bowl for animal use. Available in numerous colors and finishes, some LEED eligible. Fin Huntco Made of three-inch mild steel flat bar, this bike rack resists pipe cutters. It can be surface-mounted or installed in-ground. Knight Bollard Forms + Surfaces Powder-coated, 43-inch-tall aluminum column light; security bollard optional. Compact fluorescent or HID lamp; wet-location rated. Coda Bench Woodhouse A kit of parts, the basic concrete bench form can be fitted with wood seating platforms and any combination of steel armrests to create consistent yet customized schemes. Designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Break 4100 Vibia A 13W triple tube shines through the acrylic diffuser of this 32-inch tall resin-bodied bollard. Rated for wet locations; three finishes. Designed by Xuclà & Alemany. Henge Table HENGE Described as “playable sculpture” by the manufacturer, this concrete table is built to International Table Tennis Federation specifications. In two finishes; steel nets are customizable. Filo Bench StopSpot Extruded, anodized aluminum makes up the seat and backrest of this bench. In 70- and 94-inch lengths, it is lightweight yet made to withstand high traffic. Quartz Series Planters Kornegay Design In natural grey concrete, or custom hues from Davis Colors. In 27-, 30-, 39-, and 45-inch heights.