On May 18, the School's Solar Decathlon Team visited the Texas State Capitol to celebrate a fall BP competition win for a donation of 42 solar panels. The team set up a display in the rotunda basement and were recognized in the legislative chambers. On May 19, the non-profit organizations who are potential recipients of the finished SolarD house after the competition will present their plans to the team for them to decide where the house should end up. Photograph by Charlotte Pickett.

20 May 2005

Dean's Journal

On Monday, May 9, we held our semester-ending all-School studio review, with Professor Michael Benedikt presiding. Three prominent issues raised during the reviews included: (1) how to better integrate interior design and landscape architecture studios in the School, (2) the increased number of graduate students, especially those with an interest in sustainable design; and (3) the need for increased knowledge about urban history and urbanism. Ideas to address all three issues were advanced by participating faculty.

I attended studio reviews from Wednesday, May 11, through Monday, May 16. Specifically, I was a juror in studios taught by Associate Professor David Heymann and Lecturer Rob Church on Wednesday morning, Professor Benedikt on Wednesday afternoon, Assistant Professor Lois Weinthal on Thursday morning, Associate Professor Vince Snyder on Friday morning, Assistant Professor Billie Faircloth on Friday afternoon, and Lecturer Ernesto Cragnolino on Monday morning. These studios displayed the considerable intelligence and creativity of our faculty and students. The foci of these studios ranged from sound building to shape memory polymers, from high-rises in parks to the insides of bungalows.

On Monday evening, I attended a public meeting to discuss the University of Texas Medical Branchs plans for the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport site. Several School alumni are involved in various capacities, including Girard Kinney [B.Arch. '78], Sid Sanders [B.Arch. '78], Jana McCann [B.Arch. '80], and Jim Walker [MSCRP '98]. Participants at the public meeting discussed how an academic health sciences campus might be integrated into the project being developed by Catellus. The location is attractive because of its proximity to hospitals and to the UT-Austin campus.

On Tuesday morning, Assistant Professor Hope Hasbrouck and I met with Dr. Steve Windhager of the Lady Bird John Wildflower Center. We discussed Dr. Windhager and the Wildflower Center's involvement in our Master of Landscape Architecture program. Specifically, we explored ways to advance the use of native plants in landscape design. This requires knowledge of how plants adapt to regional ecologies and how plants differ from place to place. As Mrs. Johnson observed, "Where ever I go in America, I like it when a land speaks in its own language, its own regional accent."

Later that day, I attended a Hill Country Conservancy Executive Committee meeting. At the meeting Terry Tull , executive director of the Regional Water Quality Planning Project provided an overview of its draft regional plan. The goal of the plan is to "maintain or enhance the existing water quality of groundwater and surface water within the Edwards Aquifer."

That evening, I had dinner at KLRU for a Liveable City Community Series event, hosted by Tom Spencer . A series is being organized to inform and to inspire the people of Central Texas around critical issues facing the region. The project will be rolled out next spring.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting organized by Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson and Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert to discuss strategies for integrating ethics into the curriculum. This group of faculty and administrators discussed options for stimulating more ethics research and teaching. Also late yesterday afternoon, I watched three heart-felt presentations by community groups bidding to give our Solar Decathlon a home after it is displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., next fall. Watching these presentations and listening to the questions of our students, I became aware of the deep concern for ethics that already exists in our School.

Thursday morning, I attended the Citizens' Bond Election Advisory Committee at the Austin City Hall. Mayor Will Wynn appointed me to the advisory committee to help implement the goals of Envision Central Texas (ECT). Afterwards, I moderated an ECT conference "Choices for Central Texas: Charting the Effects of Land Use and Transportation Decisions." I introduced the keynote speaker Peter Calthorpe, who addressed how design and planning can improve the regions's quality of life while managing congestion, growth, and environmental quality. Peter Calthorpe's remarks were thought-provoking, coming a day before graduation. Tomorrow, we will graduate students in architecture, interior design, architectural history, historic preservation, sustainable design, and community and regional planning who are indeed well-equipped to improve the quality of life in the places they will practice.

—Fritz Steiner


Thomas Brown, Zach Cardwell, Nancy Choi, Michael Karnowski, and John Zapf at the spring 2004 commencement. Photograph by Charlotte Pickett.

2005 Commencement

May 21

The Evening Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. on the South Terrace in front of the Main Building.

Details about UT-Austin's commencement ceremonies, including maps, the commencement speaker, candidate information, and schedules for individual schools and colleges, and webcast of the event is available at: http://www.utexas.edu/

Pinhole photograph by Sarah Hill.


January 27 through August 12
Visual Resources Collection's Inaugural Image Exhibition:
"Lensless Photography: The Art of the Pinhole"

Visual Resources Collection, Sutton 3.128

The exhibit showcases black and white pinhole photographs taken by students in Lecturer Russell Krepart's fall 2004 Vertical Studio. Various locations, from sites in Marfa, Texas, to a bathroom in Sutton Hall provided a variety of lighting conditions challenging the students to experiment with pinhole technology and film exposure times. The photos were printed in the School of Architecture's Photo Union Darkroom (http://web.austin.utexas.edu/architecture/facilities/sutton/vrc/photo.html) by class participants. The pinhole cameras constructed by the students will also be displayed.

Alumni Updates

Atrium, World Trade Center Cultural Center, designed by Snohetta. Image: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; copyright 2005 The New York Times Company.


Plans for the World Trade Center Cultural Center on the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan in New York City were unveiled on Thursday, May 19. Snøhetta, the international architecture, landscape and interiors office based in Oslo, Norway, are designing the 250,000-square-foot cultural space, which will house the International Freedom Center, the Drawing Center, as well as the Visitor's Center for the September 11th World Trade Center Memorial.

Snøhetta includes several School of Architecture alumni: Craig Dykers [B.Arch. '85], Elaine Molinar [B.Arch. '88], and James Dodson [B.Arch. '95]. Mr. Dykers is principal architect on the World Trade Center project.

From Snøhetta: "[...] the new Cultural Center will be wrapped in a pattern of glass prisms integrated into its wooden surface. As light passes through these prisms, this ephemeral façade will change throughout the day and seasons. Each visitor will experience the building through his or her own vantage point. Like the changing patterns of light and shadow found amidst the leaves of a tree, the building's presence conforms to each person's changing relationship to it.[...] Its softness and subtle character will act as a backdrop to the Memorial Plaza as well as an inviting symbol for the area for many generations to come."


Graham B. Luhn, FAIA [B.Arch. '60], of Houston has been re-appointed for another term on the Antiquities Advisory Board of the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Mr. Luhn also is an advisor to the Architecture Committee of the THC, as well as a member of the School of Architecture's Advisory Council.

Straw bale home, Hotevilla, Arizona. Photograph provided by Nathaniel Corum.


Nathaniel Corum, Rose Architectural Fellow [M.Arch '01], serves as Design Director of Red Feather Development Group in Montana. The nonprofit group recently completed the design and construction of the first straw bale home project in the Hopi Nation (Hotevilla, Arizona). The building is Red Feather's first in the Southwest. Built for a Hopi elder and her family, the home will also serve as an alternative model for affordable housing construction in the Three Mesas area of Northwest Arizona--the site of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.


We encourage all alumni to share news with us by submitting updates to alumni coordinator Stephanie Palmer at stephanie.palmer@mail.utexas.edu. In addition, if you know of other alumni who may not be receiving this, or other SOA publications, please forward their information to Stephanie or encourage those alums to contact her.

Sustainable Taiwan: New Partnerships for the School

Professor Palleroni (at left) at the "Sustainable Taiwan" studio's mid-term charrette. Photograph provided by David Hincher.


Throughout the spring 2005 semester, the School has engaged in an innovative research partnership and learning exchange with National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT) in Taiwan (http://www.ntut.edu.tw/).

Led by Associate Professor Sergio Palleroni, the team consisting of Professor Palleroni, MSCRP candidates Jason Hercules and Mark Tirpak, and M.Arch. candidate David Hincher, has conducted a seminar and studio on sustainable development and design in Taiwan, in collaboration with NTUT faculty and hosts.

The seminar and studio have helped NTUT students and professors think more critically about sustainability and to begin to identify key issues that define sustainable development within the Taiwan context. The collaborative work has allowed NTUT to re-imagine their university's role as a civic, regional, and national leader and facilitator of sustainable development.

Major results of the School's collaboration with NTUT so far have been the hosting of a student-facilitated public forum on issues of sustainability in Taiwan and the launching of http://www.sustainabletaiwan.com, a website that serves as a "virtual sustainability gateway" for NTUT and Taiwan.

Via the studio that the UTSOA team co-facilitated with NTUT faculty, the UTSOA team has also assisted with greater- and immediate- campus design work, including plans for a mixed-use mass transit interface for the campus, and the design of a green pavilion for the NTUT campus, which will showcase various sustainable building strategies. With the assistance of NTUT students, UTSOA team will help coordinate and assist in the construction of this pavilion during the summer.

The collaboration with NTUT marks the School's first formal academic collaboration with Taiwan, and this initial exchange opens the door for future cooperation with NTUT and other partners in Taiwan and East Asia. Potential future collaborations with NTUT might include work with Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) development, disaster mediation work in indigenous communities, developing culturally appropriate sustainability strategies, and additional collaborative design-build work with NTUT and UTSOA students.

The Sustainable Taiwan project has helped elevate the School's status as an institution on the forefront of sustainability education for architects and planners. We look forward to future collaboration with our new partners in Taiwan.

Center for Sustainable Development News

The Center for Sustainable Development has been awarded a two-year, $363,000 contract from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to lead the project, "Charting the Course to 2015--The Galveston Bay Estuary Program." Center Co-director and Associate Dean Kent Butler will be Principal Investigator. He will work with other faculty, staff, and several graduate students to develop a regional, watershed-based focus on the influences that the seven-county Houston-Galveston region has on the bay environment. Galveston Bay's extensive coastline, marshland and open bay system is largest, most populated estuary on the Gulf of Mexico. Over four million people and one quarter of the nation's petrochemical industry reside in the lower watersheds. The UT-Austin team will develop a regional GIS-based atlas of the estuary and conduct several watershed, place-based workshops to engage communities throughout the region.

Student Award

Community and Regional Planning student Bige Yilmaz was selected at the winner of the American Planning Association Information Technology Division's Scholarship Paper Competition.

Ms. Yilmaz's paper, "The Internet Diffusion in Middle-Income Countries," was selected as the winner of this competition. She will receive a $250 scholarship and a one-year membership to the IT Division.

Website Redesign

The School of Architecture is redesigning our website, and we want you to join in.

Just go to the Website Suggestion Form at http://www.utexas.edu/architecture/suggest and let us know what information, features, and applications you would like to see in the new School of Architecture website.

And it's all public, so even if you don't have a suggestion, go see what people are saying about the site.



Architecture and Planning Student Council + American Institute of Architecture Students website, http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/apscaias/

(area code 512)

Dean's Office, 471-1922, fax 471-0716

Career Placement Director, Sheila Balog, 471-1333, sheila.balog@mail.utexas.edu

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Jeanne Crawford, 471-0109, jcraw@mail.utexas.edu

Graduate Program Coordinator, Rosemin Gopaul, 471-0134, gopaul@mail.utexas.edu

Center for American Architecture and Design, 471-9890, christinewong@mail.utexas.edu

Center for Sustainable Development, 475-8013, utcsd@mail.utexas.edu

Assistant Dean for Development, Kris Muñoz Vetter, 471-6114, kmvetter@mail.utexas.edu

Publications Editor, Pamela Peters, 471-0154, p.peters@mail.utexas.edu

Friends of Architecture Director and Alumni Coordinator, Stephanie Palmer, 471-0617, stephanie.palmer@mail.utexas.edu

Director of Photography, Charlotte Pickett, c.pickett@mail.utexas.edu

Architecture and Planning Library, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/apl/index.html, 495-4620

Mailing Address
The School of Architecture
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station B7500
Austin, TX 78712-0222

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs by Charlotte Pickett, Director of Photography, School of Architecture.