Honored to be a part of YAF Emerging Voices Exhibition

The YAF Emerging Voices Exhibition features AIA Houston members within the first 10 years of their licensure. Built and unbuilt architectural projects are exhibited along with sketches, models, photography, painting, sculpture, design and community efforts in all forms. The exhibit offers a wholistic portrait of our local emerging voices and what is both now and next in Houston.

Featured Architects include:

Luis Ayala, AIA
Ned Dodington, AIA
Lulu Fang, AIA
Jesse Hager, AIA
Paul Kweton, AIA
Michelle Old, AIA
Christian Sheridan, AIA

Guns Up in the West...Again!

Perkins+Will Houston has won yet another exciting project!

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Medical Science Building II
Project Budget: $75,520,000

 

The project will construct a new 227,000 GSF research facility intended to provide complex research laboratories, lecture halls and classrooms, teaching space for each school, and faculty/researcher and staff offices. Additionally, this project is planned to house vivarium facilities, expand utility infrastructure, and other support space for the campus. Replacement parking will be required since this building will consume existing surface parking space on the east half of the campus. Landscape enhancement and public art will be provided.

 

The new facility will support the expanding research program of the newly established TTUS University Health Sciences Center El Paso, which consists of a 4-year medical school, nursing school, and developing School of Biomedical Sciences. TTUHSC El Paso continues to address the growing needs of the border area through expanded academic programs and research that addresses chronic border health issues and targets diseases such as diabetes, obesity, depression and infectious diseases.

Exploring Texas, Fayeteville & Round Top

This past weekend we embarked on a motorcycle adventure through small towns in Texas. The only condition was to "avoid highways"

Entering beautiful Cat Spring, TX

Leaving Katy, we took Old Katy Road west through small cities that are avoided by I-10 which are one prettier than the last. Roads are reserved to local traffic, with no rush other than enjoying scenery. It's a part of Texas that has remained in history and we're so glad it did.

Click to expand. Route from Katy to Round Top, TX

Some small towns that we passed through were Brookshire, San Felipe, Cat Spring, New Ulm, Fayeteville and Round top. Thin, winding roads with lot of elevations changes, crossing through farms and ranches. The best our large state has to offer. After some riding, both machinery and humans needed a pit stop, so with no more planning than this urgency we decided to pause in Fayeteville, TX.

Fayeteville's square with it's famous water tank in the background.

Orsak's World famous cafe.

While enjoying Orsak's food, perhaps as we were strangers in a small town of 200 souls, somebody approached to us asking if we wanted to go to jail. Our first reaction was to ask why. So, he kindly rephrased and asked if we wanted to tour the Old Court house that has the oldest jail in Texas. After catching our breath, we agreed to such a generous offer. So he opened the yellow telephone book, searched for a telephone number and said "gotcha, old town little secret" It happened that the last four digits of a telephone number are the code to open the padlock of the old Courthouse in town's square. Try to find that "online"!

This Courthouse was built in 1880 costing $600 (yes, six hundred dollars). Very simple building, single wythe cypress wood walls that allowed for cross ventilation (just for clarification, this was before LEED) The courthouse operated in the ground floor and is preserved in great conditions. The logbook read bailing bonds fines that were awarded to felons and that ranged from 20 cents to a whole dollar if the sins were too much to bear. For those unfortunate souls that had to pay with time, two cell "calaboose" were directly upstairs. Very convenient. Sentences were uttered and prisoners were just "raised" to the second floor. My partner in adventures was very kind to model inside the cell. A third free-less individual could be apprehended by simply shackling him/her to the ground. If you are wondering, no, there were no ADA restrooms in the premises. There were no restrooms, period. We didn't want to explore the mechanics of incarceration, so we didn't ask more about this subject. However, a cast-iron stove sat in the middle of the courthouse providing much needed heat to the jury/public and to prisoners on top via a steel chimney.
A four-faced clock mechanical tower still operational, reminded felons of their misery by striking on the hour and every half hour as well.

The Belle of Round Top, Bed and Breakfast

The Belle of Round Top, Bed and Breakfast

After enjoying Fayeteville so much, we resumed to our final destination in Round Top, TX. Promptly at dusk, we arrived to "The Belle of Round Top", a glorious Bed&Breakfast re-conditioned in an old Victorian house built in 1881. Run by their owners, Debbie and her husband, Doug. This place is a must, gorgeous setting and  mouth watering breakfast. 

On the following day, we diverted course through other small towns, Warrenton, Willow Springs, Industry, Nelsonville and Bellville

Click to enlarge

Windmill on route 159 just passing Industry, TX.

Stay tuned for more "Exploring Texas"...

Peter Zumthor and Gloria Cabral, a year of mentoring

Switzerland, Paraguay and South Korea were the principal settings for Peter Zumthor and Gloria Cabral’s busy, collaborative partnership which grew rapidly from the start. Cabral became project manager for Zumthor’s design of a tea chapel near Seoul. Cabral made several visits to Haldenstein, Zumthor’s Swiss base, spending up to a month each time working with her mentor and his team. Another highlight was Zumthor’s visit to Cabral’s home town, Asunción.


See more at: http://www.rolexmentorprotege.com/pairing/2014-2015/peter_zumthor_and_gloria_cabral#sthash.bG5ZvHke.dpuf

Charla del Dr. Antonio Cubilla en Gramo, Educación e Investigación en Paraguay

En una charla sin desperdicios, el Dr. Cubilla explica la importancia de la investigación científica y porque las universidades son el lugar propicio para ello.

"La investigación es una obsesión para mi, y quiero contagiarles un poco de esa obsesión" En una de las mejores charlas de Gramo, el Dr. Antonio Cubilla deja muy en claro que éste momento tan especial que esta viviendo nuestro pais, es el momento perfecto para reconvertir nuestra obsoleta Universidad Nacional en una Universidad de Investigación.

Taller Mecánico Motor Más, Asunción Paraguay, 1999

Gabinete de Arquitectura, Luis Ayala, Solano Benitez, Alberto Marinoni

Pensar el taller no es sólo celebrar el encuentro con las máquinas.
Su presencia se revela a través de los sonidos que provoca su trajín.

El manejo de los mismos nos obliga a pensar sus límites, de forma tal que todo esté dispuesto en intención acústica, de manejo de rebote y propagación de la emisión producida por el trabajo de los motores.

Las paredes nunca establecen paralelas, los techos se abren en zig zags, portones administrativos y finalmente los mangos alejan los ruidos de los linderos y proyectan los sonidos a la calle y al cielo.

Los mampuestos de ladrillos de 15cm. de espesor siguen siendo en nuestro medio la alternativa más económica para encarar los cerramientos de una obra.
El pliegue de estos muros nos permite afrontar con mayor estabilidad el problema de la inercia de una pieza tan esbelta por su desarrollo en altura, sin recurrir al hormigón armado.
El tipo de mampuesto (aparejo inclinado según pendiente de los techos) fue bautizado por el cuerpo de albañiles como “pared tobogán”
La “pared tobogán” es un recurso visual importante, en una obra de sentimiento barroco, cada segmento de mampostería parece clavarse o emerger con decisión del suelo, según la perspectiva que lo muestre.

La pendiente de pisos y techos, el sesgo de la estructura de cobertura, su carácter en extremo cerrado al ingreso y abierto por demás de salida, completan la complejidad del enunciado barroco, a pesar de su definición en extremo utilitaria.

Las particiones de los portones de acceso referidos a esquemas de perspectiva se reducen acompañando esta bocina.
El quiebre de su plomo y sus mecanismos de pívot, los convierten en actores capaces de gesticular, extraer interiores, acompañar el egreso, etc.

En los fondos una pequeña construcción pre-existente es transformada en oficinas.

Los árboles de mango son la seña local de taller mecánico, su copiosa sombra, por generaciones dio abrigo a los quehaceres de este oficio.

 

 

Source: http://www.ayalavargas.com/architecture#/m...

#tbt Casa Demelenne, Aregua Paraguay, 1999

llame ya!

un consultor belga compra desde europa y por teléfono una casa en areguá paraguay.

resulta una construcción de fin de semana, hecha por galerías desvirtuadas -- rodeaban estas un núcleo central expandido en crecimiento – y pequeñas construcciones de apoyo y servicio, de calidad y estructura funcional escasa, pero edificadas en un contexto hermoso.

la presencia en cercanía del lago ypacaraí y la abundante vegetación vernácula configuran el lugar.

el trazo inicial recoge la posibilidad de establecer a través de una nueva galería, la conexión funcional entre las partes existentes  y las ampliaciones que se promueven.

esta nueva galería en forma de “L”, se transforma sucesivamente en su recorrido, siendo a veces espacio exterior, a veces intermedio, a veces interior.

un paisaje de sol y sombras la acompañan y en ellas se decide instalar la ampliación.

cada nuevo volumen de la propuesta repite en su definición, la intención de explorar la gama de espacios que explota la propuesta de galería, al integrarse al pequeño monte se expanden en espacios que atrapan fragmentos de su entorno – las hamacas hacen dormitorios externos;  Muros, pisos y árboles monte interno --.    

la permanencia de la constante crisis económica de nuestra sociedad, nos impulsa a explorar  alternativas, el subdesarrollo no implica falta de recursos, si desperdicio e inhabilidad de descubrirlos.

aislados por las copas de los árboles de la presencia del sol, la arquitectura se hace sólo de tabiques, muros de 4cms de espesor de mampostería de ladrillos soportados por contrafuertes de madera y losas cerámicas solidarias integran los sistemas constructivos.

la intervención en la construcción pre-existente, altera su carácter inicial en extremo fragmentado, reconvirtiendo el espacio mas interior en vacío abierto al cielo, liberándolo  de sus amarres de muros, se define un nuevo espacio continuo que acompaña la continuidad de las galerías - las existentes y las propuestas, - a las que es paralelo.

*texto de Solano Benitez

http://www.ayalavargas.com/architecture#/demelenne/

Source: http://www.ayalavargas.com/architecture/#/...

#tbt Demelenne House in Aregua, Paraguay, 1999

Call now!

A Belgian consultant buys a house via phone from Europe in Aregua, Paraguay.

It turns out a weekend structure, made by gallerias that surrounded a central nucleus and small service programs around it, with little quality nor clear function but built in a beautiful context.

Ypacarai lake close presence and lush indigenous vegetation configures this place.

An initial sketch suggests the possibility of linking, via a new galleria, the existing structures and additions being promoted.

This new L shaped galleria transforms itself several times along its path being in times an exterior space, interior space and/or something in between. A landscape of sun and shade follows it where it’s decided to place the new additions.

Every new volume of the proposal repeats the intention the L shaped galleria explores, when integrating to a heavily wooded area, spaces expand capturing its surroundings; walls, floors and trees creating and internal woodland and hammocks making exterior bedrooms

A constant economic crisis permanency in our society, impulse us to explore alternatives, sub-development does not imply lack of resources but the inability to discover them.

Isolated by shade created under tree canopies, architecture is made with a thin brick skin of only 4cm thick supported by wood buttresses and ceramic slabs applying weight and compressing the structure.

Intervention on the existing structure, opens up to the sky the former most enclosed space, liberating it of its capturing walls, a new continuing space is offered sharing the path defined by the structuring gallerias.

http://www.ayalavargas.com/architecture#/demelenne/

#architecture #paraguayanArchitecture #SolanoBenitez

Source: http://www.ayalavargas.com/architecture#/d...

KinneyMorrow's architecture new office in Houston

Located in Houston's historic sixth ward, this  house wasn't originally in this site but a block away. Strong historic preservation ordinances prohibits buildings like this one to be demolished but is legal to move it as long it remains in the neighborhood. So the original owner offered KinneyMorrow to put it in a truck and displace it to its final site, so he could have room in his lot to build a new one. 

Brilliant minds at KinneyMorrow saw this structure as a gem that could host their future office. Striping everything apart but preserving the original structure intact and almost starting anew with everything else, a slot in the walls is the gesture that joins all spaces together, allowing this old-filled-with-memories house to continue shaping lives of his inhabitants, this time as an architecture design office.

"This" is respect and love for architecture. Congratulations to my friends Taryn and Michael for such a brave statement.

http://www.ayalavargas.com/photography/#/kinneymorrow/

#houstonarchitecture #architecture #preservation

Source: http://www.ayalavargas.com/photography/#/k...

Inside/Out Exhibition

From August 3rd to September 4th, the exhibition Inside/Out will be open to the public in the College of Architecture at University of Houston.

This is installation has been designed and built by architecture students lead by professors Jason Logan and Josh Robbins, re-interpreting traditional construction methods of this area.

As always, honored to photograph LOJO's work. Congratulations to the team!

Inside/Out
Adapting a Shotgun Storehouse for the Greater Fifth Ward
Inside/Out is simultaneously an exhibition about Houston’s Fifth Ward community and a structure-in-waiting.
The title describes both the way in which the design research is organized and the way in which the built structure will function once it is re-constructed within an existing building – supporting a dilapidated shotgun storehouse from the “inside-out”.
The exhibition is a cross-disciplinary eort between the Interior Architecture program (INAR) and the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC) at the University of Houston, in collaboration with numerous community partners and stakeholders. The exhibition showcases research developed during the Collaborative Community Design Initiative, an eort organized by the University of Houston’s CDRC in 2013-2014. This research provided the context for a design/build studio co-taught by adjunct professors Jason Logan and Josh Robbins in the INAR program. Working with community partner Olivet Missionary Baptist Church in the Fifth Ward, the INAR 3501 spring studio considered the adaptive re-use of a “shotgun” storehouse into a public reading room and e-resource center. The resulting structure was fabricated in the University of Houston’s Keeland Design Center and built by the studio over a two week period. At the conclusion of the exhibition, in early September, the structure will be disassembled, transported, and stored on-site until additional funding is raised for the reassembly of the structure within the existing shotgun storehouse.
On the outside of the structure, visitors will find a selection of the research used in the studio to frame both the history and the context of the Fifth Ward. This out-side information influenced the design development of the inside structure throughout the semester. Inside the structure, visitors will find design process documents, models, and fabrication drawings developed during the three phases of the spring 2015 INAR design/build studio. These documents track the evolution of the design and how it is integrated into the project site. A
“Projective Map” on the outside of the structure links the INAR project to the larger Fifth Ward community development strategies proposed by the CDRC. In doing so, the structure stands as a both a prototype for a way of making, and a prototype for sustainable community development.

 

#houstonArchitecture

This is BRAVE Architecture.

Recently I've been asked to photograph this project designed by Brave Architecture. This little jewel is a police station located in Houston's Police Memorial Park, very close to downtown and Buffalo Bayou. The function of this program is to host officers 24/ 7 that are guarding the park and the Memorial that honor Houston's police force and the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. 

Brave Architecture, lead by Fernando Brave, FAIA, is one of the most prestigious firms in the city, reason why I feel deeply honored by them inviting me to capture their work.

www.bravearchitecture.com

Source: http://www.ayalavargas.com/photography/#/m...

Photographing LSU Hilltop Arboretum, Lake Flato architects

Last month, I've been asked by Lake Flato architects to photograph this beautiful project they did for Louisiana State Univesity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. An addition to their original project was finished recently. I was struck by the beauty of this place and how perfectly the building blends with its environment. Users are constantly flowing through spaces and all kind of activities are going on, like wedding photo sessions, seminars for elementary students, families enjoying a break or people walking their dogs.

Pictures don't make justice to this place. This is truly a must visit project if you are in the area.

To see more photos click here: http://www.ayalavargas.com/lsu-hilltop/

The World Sends Us Garbage, We Send Back Music

Lack of resources is just a lame excuse not to get results. It must trigger our creativity to create the best of us.

An eskimo builds with ice, the only resource available to them. (Angelo Bucci)

The Landfillharmonic in Cateura, Paraguay builds musical instruments out of garbage, allowing students of the community to learn music against all impediments their surrounding environments presents. My deepest respect and congratulations to Maestro Favio Chavez and his team for this huge accomplishment.

Please watch the TED talk video about Landfillharmonic here: 
http://tedx.amsterdam/talks/the-world-sends-us-garbage-we-send-back-music-favio-chavez-at-tedxamsterdam/

#landfillharmonic #cateura #musicwithgarbage