Category Archives: News

March 1 RDA Civic Forum Focuses on Climate Change

Although many environmental impacts are associated with construction, climate change deserves a special consideration because buildings and land-use are responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.  

The Rice Design Alliance invites you to join us for a free civic forum to investigate how construction methods serves a key role in the mitigation against climate change. We will explore the topic through a case study of the tallest mass timber building in north America, learn about why sustainable building is a primary consideration for funders and explore how architects and designers can work with the City of Houston on regulations relating to sustainble construction.

The forum will take place at 6 p.m. at in the conference center of Hines’ new LEED platinum highrise located on 609 Main St, Houston, on Wednesday, March 1st.  Moderated by Rice University Sustainability Officer Richard Johnson, it will include presentations by the following panelists:
Albert Pope, Gus Wortham Professor, Rice Architecture
Steve Stelzer, Program Director of City of Houston Green Building Resource Center
Stephen Cavanaugh, Principal Architect at DLR Group
Elizabeth Love. Program Officer, Houston Endowment
This event is free and open to the public. Parking is also free and is located in the parking garage attached to the building off of Fannin between Texas and Capitol. Take the garage elevator to Level 2 where the conference center is located.

RDA Civic Forums are made possible by our 2017 Underwriters and our sponsors, including Minnette and Peter Boesel, DLR Group, Hoar Construction, Skanska USA Commercial Development, Telios, and Vaughn Construction.

A Special Announcement from RDA President Chris Hudson

Dear Rice Design Alliance members and friends,

It is with immense gratitude for her 28 years as the RDA executive director that I am writing to announce the retirement of Linda Sylvan this summer. I hope you will join me in wishing her the best in her plans to take on consulting work, volunteer, and spend more time with her family.

In 1988, Linda took on the executive director role when RDA was in debt and had only one other staff member. Under her leadership, the staff, board and membership have grown, and contributions and grants have balanced the budget.  Moreover, RDA has become a respected and influential group within Houston, and a national model for public engagement around design.

Her accomplishments are too many to list, but here are three highlights:

* Linda organized the Heart of the Park Competition with the RDA board. The winning entries spurred the newly formed Friends of Hermann Park to commission and implement Laurie Olin’s master plan. In this effort and many others, Linda played a critical role in Houston’s “green transformation” that has recently garnered national attention. 

* Before becoming RDA executive director, Linda was managing editor of Cite. As executive director, she was akin to publisher. She nurtured Cite through many different editorial teams and formats, including the Cite anthology, Ephemeral City. This incredible body of criticism, commentary, history, and interventions would not exist without her grace and grit. 

* Through countless tours and forums and parties, Linda cultivated a broad community that includes professors, architects, engineers, builders, designers, developers, artists, writers, politicians, civil society, and more. In this time when our society may seem divided, Linda’s ability to not only get people into the same room but move them to work for the common good will be sorely missed.

Fortunately, Linda is remaining in her position as a search is conducted to find a new executive director. Please share the job description widely.  

And, once again, thank you Linda for all you have done to make the built environment and public life of Houston so much more vibrant and beautiful.  

Linda can be reached via email if you’d like to send her a note.  

Best wishes,

Chris Hudson
President, Rice Design Alliance

Instagram Scavenger Hunt: #Buffalogram

The rdAGENTS’ hosted Instagram Scavenger Hunt will be held Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Teams of 4 will be challenged through clues to walk the new trails along Buffalo Bayou between Sabine Street and Shepherd Drive, explore the landscape and solve clues, and post photos to public Instagram accounts. There are two team categories. You can enter as an adult team or a family team. The first team in each category to complete all the correct Instagram post will receive a prize package. The competition will start at 105 Sabine Street on top of Bike Barn Rental. 

Register here

Entry Fee:

$20/team (Pre-register by noon, March 29)             $25/team (Day of Scavenger Hunt)

$15/rdAGENTS or RDA member discount 

See our past Instagram scavenger hunt here. Thank you to Buffalo Bayou Partnership for collaborating with the RDA on this event. 


Preservation Houston Good Brick Tour

Bethel Park. Photo: Jim Parsons.

What: Preservation Houston 2014 Good Brick Tour
When: Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, from noon to 4 p.m.
Where: See this tour map for locations

About the tour: “In 1932, Jesse and Edith Moore built their dream home on the banks of Rummel Creek, 17 miles west of downtown Houston: a cabin of pine logs harvested from the surrounding forest. Eighty years later, the Moores’ patch of wooded paradise remained intact in the midst of urban sprawl, but time and weather had taken their toll on the little cabin. A unique restoration plan was needed to keep the structure safe for future generations, and thanks to some hand-cut cypress logs, a few polyester straps and lots of careful planning, the cabin — now at the heart of the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary — is as good as new.

“See the restored cabin during Preservation Houston’s 2014 Good Brick Tour on May 3 and 4 — the first time we’ve offered the chance to get a close look at a selection of current and recent Good Brick Award-winning preservation projects. Trained docents, architects, contractors, and property owners will be on hand to talk about the work that went into restoring sites that include the log cabin, a 1920s bungalow and an Art Deco printing plant.

“A tour ticket ($25 in advance or $30 at the door) includes admission to all locations on both days of the tour. A $50 Patron-level ticket also includes an invitation to an exclusive kickoff party at the NuSmile Building, a 2014 Good Brick Award winner, the evening of Friday, May 2. (The NuSmile Building will only be open for that event.) . . . Buy your tour tickets online ($50 Patron, $25 general admission) through May 1 or at any tour location ($30) except Bethel Park on the tour weekend.”

Karrie Jacobs Lecture at The MFA,H

What: Annual Lawndale Art Center/Design Council Lecture “In Praise of Man-Made Nature”
When: Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Law Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet

About the lecture: “The real lesson of New York City’s celebrated High Line is not that every city needs an elevated linear park, but that the features of our cities that we’ve long disused, ignored, and written off as blight are actually valuable components of our unnatural natural environment. Long regarded as liabilities, abused rivers like Newark’s Passaic, the Los Angeles River, and Houston’s Buffalo Bayou are being transformed into assets. Even the most obstructive, no-man’s-land-generating form of urban infrastructure — the elevated expressway — can, with skill and imagination, be incorporated into metropolitan form of nature. While Frederick Law Olmsted’s 19th-century landscapes afforded an escape from the urban life, the 21st-century approach to man–made nature offers a deeper immersion into our changing cities.”

About the lecturer: “Karrie Jacobs is a professional observer of the man-made landscape. For 10 years she wrote the ‘America’ column for Metropolis magazine about how ideas and strategies in architecture and design play out in the real world. She’s currently a faculty member at DCrit, the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in design criticism; a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure; and a frequent contributor to Architect. She is author of The Perfect $100,000 House: A Trip across America and Back in Pursuit of a Place to Call Home (Viking, 2006) and was the founding editor in chief of Dwell Magazine. Prior to launching Dwell, Karrie served as the architecture critic of New York Magazine and was also the founding executive editor of Benetton’s Colors Magazine.”

A reception to meet the speaker follows the program.

Click here for more information and to reserve seats.

TSU: Edward J. Blakely

What: TSU Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy present the Edward J. Blakely Lecture
When: Monday, April 21, 2014, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: McCoy Auditorium, First Floor, School of Public Affairs Building

Ed Blakely is Honorary Professor of Urban Policy in the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Considered one of the world’s preeminent scholars and practitioners in planning, with over 40 years of teaching, research, administrative and economic development policy experience, Blakely has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, Dean of the Milano Graduate School of Management & Urban Policy at the New School University in NY, Dean of the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Urban & Regional Planning Program at the University of Sydney. He is a Fellow at the American Academy of Public Administration, and has held past fellowships with Fulbright and with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. For two years after Hurricane Katrina, Blakely was Executive Director of the New Orleans, Louisiana, Office of Recovery and Development Administration. In 2012, UN Habitat recognized Blakely for his contributions to social justice and sustainable planning in disaster recovery.

MFAH: Architecture of Museums Book Signing

Lecture & Book Signing for The Architecture of Art Museums: A Decade of Design: 2000–2010
by Ronnie Self
Architect and Associate Professor of Architecture,
Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
6:30 p.m.
Brown Auditorium Theater
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Introduction by Gary Tinterow, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Reserve your seat in advance!
Admission is free and open to the public, tickets required
Click here:
Use the “Get Tickets” button above and print at home; or call 713.639.7771;
or visit any MFAH admissions desk.

The book: For visitors, art museums are places of pleasure, education and contemplation. As a building type, art museums offer architects unparalleled opportunities for architectural investigation and experimentation. Ronnie Self discusses some of the most important museums built at the beginning of the 21st century in the United States and Europe and the lessons they reveal. Just published by Routledge, The Architecture of Art Museums – A Decade of Design: 2000-2010 is richly designed with full technical illustrations and sections, and includes the work of Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Peter Cook & Colin Fournier, Renzo Piano, Yoshio Taniguchi, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, SANAA, Daniel Libeskind, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Steven Holl, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Bernard Tschumi, Sauerbruch Hutton, and Shigeru Ban & Jean de Gastines.

Special Book Launch price: $46.50 (regular price: $54.95)

The author: Ronnie Self is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. He is a registered architect practicing in Houston and previously worked in the Paris office of Renzo Piano Building Workshop for 12 years where, among other projects, he was the Architect in Charge of the Atelier Brancusi for the Centre Georges Pompidou. He writes regularly on recently completed projects throughout the United States for American and French magazines.

A reception to meet the speaker and a book signing follow the lecture

Houston Center for Photography Call for Entries

What: 32nd Annual Juried Membership Call for Entries
Where: Houston Center for Photography, 1441 West Alabama Street
When: April 11, 2014

All HCP members are eligible to apply for inclusion in this exhibition in HCP’s galleries. Three artists will be awarded a juror’s commendation and receive a Beth Block Juried Membership Honorarium of $500, generously supported by the Beth Block Foundation.

The deadline to submit is April 11, 2014, at midnight.

Click here to learn more and to submit.

This year’s juror will be Malcolm Daniel. According to the HCP, “Daniel recently joined The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as Curator in Charge of the Department of Photography. [He] comes to Houston after 23 years at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he led the Department of Photographs for nine years and served most recently as Senior Curator. [Though] he is a specialist in nineteenth-century French and British photography, he has a deep interest as well in the work of contemporary photographers.”

Lawndale Art Center: Design Fair 2014

What: Lawndale Art Center presents Design Fair 2014: Learn. Shop. Connect.
When: April 23-27, 2014
Where: Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77002

Houston, Texas – Design Fair 2014: Learn. Shop. Connect. will take place April 23 – 27, 2014. Design Fair 2014 features vintage modern objects of the 20th century, as well as examples of cutting-edge contemporary design. A wide selection of carefully curated items will be available for purchase as part of the Design Fair, including furniture, glass, ceramics, lighting, books, metalwork and fashion. Visitors to the Fair will be able to meet the designers and exhibitors for an up-close and personal look at the pace-setting designs of today and the mid-20th century.

The Texas Co-Op, a special section of the Fair, features individual Texas-based designers offering one-of-a-kind products. These new and emerging product lines currently are in small-scale production and represent innovations in industrial and object design today.

New this year…Talks Series. Houston is experiencing rapid growth and receiving international recognition for its art, culture, food and economy. From urban planning and institutional design to commercial and residential architecture, an educational section of the Fair will highlight different design projects from all over the city through a series of short, informal talks during the Fair Days.

Design Fair 2013 kicks-off with a free lecture, In Praise of Man-Made Nature, on Wednesday, April 23, at 6:30 PM at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brown Auditorium. Presented in partnership with the MFAH Design Council. Lawndale and the Design Council are delighted to welcome Karrie Jacobs, founding editor in chief of Dwell Magazine to Houston.

Attendees should also mark their calendars for the most stylish gala of the year, the Design Fair 2014 Preview Party, chaired by Anne Breaux on Friday, April 25, from 6 – 9 PM; then plan to keep shopping all weekend April 26 and 27 from 10AM – 5PM. Ticket sales for both events will benefit Lawndale Art Center.

For the complete schedule more information, please visit this page.

"If You Build It" Documentary at MFA,H

What: A film screening of new documentary If You Build It
When: February 22 at 7 p.m. and February 23 at 5 p.m.
Where: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

About the film: From director Patrick Creadon (Wordplay and I.O.U.S.A.) comes a captivating look at a radically innovative approach to education. If You Build It follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with high school students to help transform their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design/build project that does much more than teach basic construction skills: it shows 10 teenagers the power of design to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible.

For more information, please view the trailer or visit MFAH’s webpage.