Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011 Golden Trowel Awards

Urban Architecture is a 2011 Honor Award Recipient of the Golden Trowel Award for demonstrating excellence for contributions in architecture on a masonry project for the design of the Harris County Precinct 4 - Central Facility.

Team Member Award Recipients: T. E. Reilly, Inc., Masonry Contractor & Pepper-Lawson, General Contractor.

The Associated Masonry contractors of Houston, in association with the Texas Masonry Council, recognize and encourage excellence in all phases of masonry construction. The Golden Trowel Award is awarded annually to an Architect, a General Contractor or Owner, and a Masonry Contractor demonstrating excellence in their respective contributions to a masonry project deemed worthy by a distinguished panel of judges.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Build NOW, Not Later!

In June 2008, Houston Business Journal stated “Construction industry costs up 6.6% in second quarter”. In March 2009, “Index: Construction costs continue to drop”; May 2011, HBJ states that the “Houston commercial construction costs hold steady” based on report by Kirksey. Construction costs are still at the bottom – planning should start now!

Construction estimates are no longer guaranteed for long periods. Construction costs are expected to rise later in the year as building projects increase. More important – start your planning and construction documents now to be ahead of the construction cost increase to come.

Posted by: Victor L. Joe, AIA

Buffalo Bayou Partnership Efforts

Many of you may have noticed some new improvements around Buffalo Bayou while driving along Montrose Boulevard or zooming down Allen Parkway. These improvements, a new pedestrian bridge traversing the bayou and 7 sculptures by artist Jaume Plensa, are part of a much larger Master Plan steered by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Through the Partnership “a major enhancement project is in its preliminary phase with a goal to improve aesthetic and recreational opportunities along the Shepherd to Sabine segment of Buffalo Bayou while simultaneously regaining the waterway’s flood conveyance capacity and environmental qualities.”

To read about the Master Plan, view PowerPoint presentations of the different phases and locations, as well as to donate or volunteer visit the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Here you will also find information about ecological goals, kayaking adventures and the many events and recreational opportunities found along the bayou. Buffalo Bayou is Houston's greatest natural resource, take advantage of it!

Posted by: Megan Dickey, LEED AP

...and we keep on learning.

We have had a string of product reps calling lately offering "lunch and learns" for us to satisfy the requirement of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). All registered architects are required to complete a total of 18 hours of instruction on a variety of topics in every renewal period. Eight (8) Continuing Education Units (CEU's) for the TBAE and an additional ten (10) hours for membership in the AIA.

All 8 CEU's required by the TBAE must include the study of subjects related to your profession and be pertinent to the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

§ At least one of the eight hours must be related to sustainable or energy-efficient design

§ At least one of the eight hours must be related to barrier-free design.

§ At least five of the eight hours must be structured activities, (classroom/classroom equivalent)

§ A maximum of three hours may be self-directed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Historic House Museums: Today’s Challenge Tomorrow’s Foundation

Charged with preserving a window into the past, the Historic House Museum has much to offer through education, community involvement, and commercially. Using material culture to convey an accurate historic sense of place to the public is a powerful and invoking educational experience that would otherwise be limited in other museum settings. Communicating relevance is today’s challenge and maintaining that understanding is tomorrow’s foundation for the Historic House Museum.

Although affected by challenges common to the larger museum community, the debilitating impact of limited operating funds, adjusting to industry guidelines, and maintaining an all volunteer staff is greater and somewhat unique to the Historic House Museum. However, factors that are easier to control through organizational discipline are evaluating preservation redundancy, providing accurate historic interpretations, collection stewardship, operations management, accountability measures, and effective internal communication. Controlling these factors is likely to improve efficiency and allow an organization to redirect valuable resources to addressing the variables that can render a debilitating impact.

Whether a historic house museum is organized around the life of the occupant or time period elements, the method of communicating relevance over time must be clear and responsive to the fluctuating ways the public receives and processes information.