2009 Initiatives for Houston

The Rice Design Alliance is pleased to announce the winners of its tenth annual grants program, Initiatives for Houston. A jury selected three proposals for funding from the twenty submitted by students and faculty from Rice University School of Architecture, the University of Houston College of Architecture, Prairie View A & M University, and Texas Southern University.


The jury was composed of Reginald Adams, Executive Director, Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston and President, Land Acquisition Redevelopment Authority; Barbara Amelio, Principal, Debner + Company; Marie Hoke, Principal/ Senior Designer, WHR Architects; Lonnie Hoogeboom, Partner, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects, LLC; and Rives Taylor, Architect, Gensler and Lecturer at Rice School of Architecture and the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.

“Documenting Decaying Dreams,” a proposal by Texas Southern University graduate students Darren Preacely and Sharon Adams, was awarded $5,000. Preacely and Adams are concerned that the historical vernacular conditions in the neighborhoods surrounding Texas Southern University and the University of Houston will soon be destroyed by the expansion of the schools and by MetroRail installations and the accompanying development. The students propose taking an inventory of the existing housing stock in this area of the Third Ward to record the historic land uses and the associated sense of place.

“Engulfed by Industry: Rethinking the Industrial-Residential Interface,” a proposal by Rice University student Tracy Catherine Bremer (B.Arch, 2011), was awarded $2,350. Bremer proposed to examine residential pockets that interface with surrounding industrial infrastructure that while economically vital, affect quality of life. Her study will focus on altering the boundary condition and explore possible improvements, leading to a solution that would ultimately ameliorate the urban landscape and thus the living conditions of these neighborhoods and its inhabitants.

“Mad to be Saved: Finding Purpose for the Residual Space of the Highway Intersection,” a proposal by University of Houston College of Architecture students Jessica Lauren Barnett, Rafael Morales, Maria Gabriela Oran, and Allison Parrott (all B.Arch, 2010), was awarded $3,000. The student team plans to study the intersection of Loop 610 and Interstate 10 in an effort to discover residual space created by patterns of circulation that have the potential to become a space that can be integrated with the urban fabric of the city. The team will propose a design intervention that will yield a usable space that will improve the life and fabric of the city.

Rice graduate students David Dewane, Alberto Govela-Martinez, Lindsay Harkema, and Seanna Walsh (M. Arch, 2010) were recognized for their award-winning proposal, “Speakeasy.” The students proposed publishing a series of short discussions between architects and non-architects that revolve around different ways of looking at the built environment, specifically the City of Houston. The jury recommended that the discussions be presented before a live audience in a series of Civic Forum presentations. The series is planned for next summer.

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