Rice Student, UH Professor Awarded 2016 Initiatives for Houston Grants

A panel of five guest jurors have selected proposed projects by The Rice School of Architecture graduate student Jae Boggess and University of Houston professor and architect Rafael Longoria to receive the 17th annual Initiatives for Houston grants.

Boggess’s proposal, “Industrious Ruins,” as she writes, “seeks to discover how industrial buildings both past and present tell the story” of Houston. Documenting the city’s “urban voids and abandoned structures” through a blog and social media, Boggess intends to catalogue types of industrial ruins and speculate about their adaptive reuse, leading to a public presentation of photographs, renderings, and a dissemination of “accessible adventure guides” distributed at local coffee shops, restaurants, and bookstores.

Says guest juror Florence Tang of StudioMET: “[Boggess’s project] will offer a focused historical analysis of the oil and gas industrial structures along with the waterways, highways, and railways that are our transport arteries to reveal a deeper understanding of the livelihoods of these communities. Moreover, it could potentially shed light on how we can shape future development in Houston in meaningful ways.” Boggess will be awarded a $4,325 grant.

Longoria’s project, “Third Ward Smart Choices,” seeks to design, build, and promote three energy-efficient affordable houses in Houston’s Third Ward. The multi-phrase project would include the publication and dissemination of a catalogue, modeled on the Sears mail-order catalogues with kit houses, of different energy-efficient house types that interested buyers could choose from. The catalogue, writes Longoria, will both “inform potential homeowners” and be “an excellent vehicle to disseminate exemplary … residential design in Houston and beyond.” Longoria will be awarded a $5,000 grant for the catalogue.

This year, jurors included:

    Susanne Behrens, President, The Art Institute of Houston;
    Jack Bellows, Project Manager, W.S. Bellows Construction Corp.
    Maria Irshad, CAPP, MPA, Assistant Director, Parking Management Division, City of Houston
    Lawrence Lander, Principal & Architect, PDR Corporation
    Florence Tang, Architectural Designer and Studio Manager, StudioMET Architects

Now in their 17th year, RDA grants have helped students and faculty at UH, the Rice School of Architecture, the School of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University, and the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University to develop and implement projects shaping both Houston’s built environment and our understanding of it.

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