Giving Thanks

Photo of Fritz Steiner. Photo of Fritz Steiner.

Fritz Steiner, Dean, UT Austin School of Architecture.

Dear Friends,

At least once a week I tell people that I have the best job in the world. The UT Austin School of Architecture is a truly special place—a hive of creativity, energy, and optimism—and everyday I interact with exceptionally talented and thoughtful students and faculty members who are committed to creating better built environments. As an academic, my job is fundamentally teaching, but I learn just as much from our students as I transmit to them through lectures and assignments. An added bonus is the architecture of Goldsmith, Sutton, and Battle Hall, which provides a lovely setting for working, teaching, and learning.

I am very grateful to be part of this community, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to thank you—our alumni and friends—for all you do to make the School of Architecture the wonderful place that it is. Through your goodwill, generosity, and advocacy for our students, our school continues to be a place where dreams are realized through meaningful educational and life experiences.

Thank you being a part of our special community. We could not fulfill our mission of being one of the most influential centers of design theory and practice without your participation in our journey. I'm very thankful for your friendship and wish you and your friends and loved ones a happy Thanksgiving and joyous holiday season.

Warm regards,


Crowdfund UTSOA's Solar Decathlon Entry, NexusHaus

Photo of NexusHaus team members. Photo of NexusHaus team members.

NexusHaus team members visited the famous “City of Wood,” a small complex in Bad Aibling, just south of Munich. Photo by Michael Rahmatoulin.

Students from UT Austin School of Architecture are currently featured on The University of Texas at Austin’s new crowdfunding platform, Hornraiser.

Beginning at noon on Wednesday, November 19, the UTSOA team will have 45 days to raise $10,000 to support their entry in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

UTSOA students originally started the design process in an interdisciplinary architecture and engineering design studio in spring 2013. Shortly after, UTSOA developed a working research partnership with Technische Universität München, Germany, through the EnergyXChange Conference, which was directed by Assistant Professor Petra Liedl in Austin, Texas. As an outgrowth of the conference, UTSOA and TUM began working together to develop a joint entry to the 2015 Solar Decathlon competition. The 2015 UT Austin Solar Decathlon team is formulated as an interdisciplinary collaboration, working with the strengths of several programs within the University of Texas and TUM. Initially dubbed the “ExW-Unit (Energy-Water Nexus Unit),” the UT-TUM team recently changed the project’s name to “NexusHaus” to more concisely reflect the collaborative nature of the partnership with their German peers.

The competition will take place in October 2015 at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. In the meantime, the money raised through the crowdfunding effort on Hornraiser will cover the cost of filming and producing a “making-of” documentary, which will document the construction and water, energy, and food technologies explored in the project. The documentary will be used during the competition as part of the Communication and Engineering competitions and will also act as a teaching tool in classrooms across Texas once the competition is complete.

Project leaders for NexusHaus’ feature on Hornraiser include graduate architecture students Kendall Claus, Trey Farmer, Jessica Janzen, and Ryan McKeeman, as well as Charles Upshaw, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering.

We encourage our community to spread the word about this crowdfunding campaign, which closes on January 2, 2015. Please share this exciting news with your friends, family, and peers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media, along with the hashtag #nexushaus. The link to donate to the project is:

Elementary Schools Exhibit at UT Austin School of Architecture

Photo of elementary students in Goldsmith Hall. Photo of elementary students in Goldsmith Hall.

On Thursday, November 13, approximately 100 third and fourth grade students showcased their work in Goldsmith Hall and enjoyed tours guided by student members of American Institute of Architecture Students and UTSOA Dean’s Ambassadors, as part of the Architecture in Schools program designed and led by AIA Austin. Photos by Tomi Yamamoto.

The Architecture in Schools program, designed and implemented by AIA Austin in 2006, is an eight-week course taught to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in their classrooms by local architects and emerging design professionals. Each grade level is specifically designed to cater to the learning abilities of its respective students starting at a small scale for the 3rd graders (homes), moving up to community buildings (a school) for 4th graders, then finally a neighborhood for the 5th graders.

This year, three of the participating schools concluded the program with a visit to the UT Austin School of Architecture. Approximately 100 third- and fourth-grade students from Faubion Elementary School, Pease Elementary School, and UT Elementary School showcased their work in the main jury room of Goldsmith Hall and enjoyed tours guided by student members of American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and UTSOA Dean’s Ambassadors.

“It was great to see the [Architecture in Schools] students make connections as they peered into studios between what they were doing in their program and what we do as architecture students. They were wonderfully enthusiastic and curious, taking fastidious notes with orange sharpies on answers to questions ranging from ‘How do you spell architect?’ to ‘How did they make those?,’ referring to the laser-cut plexiglass scale figures in models on display in the Architecture Library,” said Shelley McDavid, Dean’s Ambassador and a graduate student in the Master of Architecture First-Professional Program, describing her experience as a volunteer tour guide.

Alex Wu, President of AIAS and a student in the Bachelor of Architecture Program, added, “The kids were fantastic! Seeing the pure excitement, joy, and awe on their faces as they encountered all that is architecture school was exciting for me personally. It is fantastic to give kids an opportunity to engage in architecture at such a young age.”

Architect and UTSOA alum Meredith Contello [B.Arch. '06], who coordinated this year’s program, along with fellow architect John Cameron, reported, “It may be hard to imagine, but for many of our students, this visit to the UTSOA is their first experience on a college campus. That’s why this big finale at UT is so meaningful and powerful; at such a young age, it gives these kids a peek into college life and a glimpse of their potential future. It’s not fun just for our students, though—I think the architects and volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the uninhibited creativity, imagination, and energy of our young thinkers throughout the program.”

Other alums teaching in this year’s Architecture in Schools program included Marissa Flores [B.Arch. '10], William Hodge [B.Arch. '01], Jonathan Pearson [M.Arch. '06], Robert Okamoto [M.Arch. '80], and Cameron Thayer [B.Arch. '01].

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Steven Moore participated in a workshop, The Role of Cities in Advancing Sustainable Consumption, jointly hosted by the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) and the United Sustainable Development Network (USDN) at Eugene, Oregon; October 29 through November 1. One product of the workshop is the formation of a working group that will conduct action research on the topic of “sumptuary codes,” which will be led by Moore.


Image of book cover, The Remittance Landscape, by Sarah Lopez. Image of book cover, The Remittance Landscape, by Sarah Lopez.

Cover, The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA, by Sarah Lopez.

Assistant Professor Sarah Lopez's book, The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA, will be published in January 2015 by the University of Chicago Press.

Description excerpt: "Immigrants in the United States send more than $20 billion every year back to Mexico—one of the largest flows of such remittances in the world. With The Remittance Landscape, Sarah Lynn Lopez offers the first extended look at what is done with that money, and in particular how the building boom that it has generated has changed Mexican towns and villages."

On November 18, Lopez gave a talk on her book to the University of California, Berkeley, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, as a part of their colloquia speaker series. She presented an overview of the remittance landscape—private and public buildings in rural Mexico that have been envisioned by migrants and erected with dollars, as well as the spaces in both Mexico and the U.S. defined by information flows, practices, and migrant organizations that give rise to remitting as a way of life.

Alumni Connections

Photo of Wilmont “Vic” Vickrey and Chris Multhauf. Photo of Wilmont “Vic” Vickrey and Chris Multhauf.

Wilmont “Vic” Vickrey and Chris Multhauf.


On November 5, Vickrey-Ovresat-Awsumb Associates (VOA) founding principal Wilmont “Vic” Vickrey, FAIA [B.Arch. '49], was honored as the 2014 Honored Alumnus in Architecture by Texas Exes Chicago Chapter, along with three other Chicago-area Honored Alumni from other disciplines.

The award recognizes UT alumni “who have made significant contributions to their field and the Chicago, national, or international communities.” The awardees were honored at a cocktail reception at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studios in the Ravenswood neighborhood.

Vickrey’s good friend and fellow UT Austin alum Chris Multhauf of Eduvantis LLC introduced Vickrey and spoke on the university’s motto, “What starts here changes the world.” He expounded on his admiration of Vickrey and their close friendship. Vickrey reminisced about his time at UT, recounting an occasion when he introduced himself to the football coach and proudly mentioned that he has a grandson studying architecture at Texas. He wrapped up his acceptance with “Y’all come see us.”


Photo of Sean Slater. Photo of Sean Slater.

Sean Slater.

ELS Architecture and Urban Design has promoted Sean Slater [B.Arch. '95] to principal, announced Clarence Mamuyac, FAIA, president of the firm. Slater directs the firm’s retail and urban mixed-use portfolio. He joined ELS in 2012 after 16 years practicing architecture in Texas and Georgia. Slater’s projects involve large-scale shopping centers, mixed-use town centers, university-oriented retail destinations, and major retail center renovations both domestic and international. Slater was recently honored with the Urban Land Institute’s Apgar Award for coauthoring “New Suburbanism: Reinventing Inner-Ring Suburbs.” His recent projects include Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, California, and Mueller Town Center in Austin, Texas. Slater is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

ELS Architecture and Urban Design ranks among the 2014 ARCHITECT 50, a listing of the best architecture firms in the United States for design, sustainability and business, and is listed among the 2014 Architectural Record Top 300 Architecture Firms.


Bayou Preservation LLC staff working on the Barthel Tomb in New Orleans. Bayou Preservation LLC staff working on the Barthel Tomb in New Orleans.

Bayou Preservation LLC staff working on the Barthel Tomb in New Orleans.

The Star-Telegram recently featured the work of Michelle Stanard Duhon [MSHP '09] in the article, "Preservationists grow business on graveyard shift."

In 2010, Duhon started her firm, Bayou Preservation LLC, which specializes in historic preservation and architectural conservation, with projects ranging from the restoration of a small outdoor sculpture to large tomb and mausoleum restoration.

The firm has just completed the full restoration of the famous Marie Laveau Tomb in the St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. This restoration included rebuilding the roof, applying new plaster or stucco that matched the historic material, removing all graffiti, and applying several coats of traditional limewash. The restoration was officially unveiled in time for Halloween and All Saints Day.

Duhan has worked on a wide range of preservation projects from the Art Deco Fair Park complex in Dallas, Texas, to a small baseball collection for the Louisiana State Museum.

Read more about Duhon and the Marie Laveau Tomb restoration project in the Star-Telegram article.


Image of Minor Qinhuai River Redevelopment project, by Overland Partners. Image of Minor Qinhuai River Redevelopment project, by Overland Partners.

Minor Qinhuai River Redevelopment project, Yangzhou, China, by Overland Partners.

Overland Partners' Minor Qinhuai River Redevelopment project was featured recently in China Daily in an article titled "Reclaiming a piece of history."

Article excerpts: "The beautiful ancient city of Yangzhou has a glorious and glamorous past, but the storied heart of it has fallen to neglect. The mayor asked a team from Texas to help to turn it around."

"Architecture projects in China that tend to steal the spotlight are usually big and flashy, like the Guangdong Museum in Guangzhou or the Bird’s Nest in Beijing."

"It’s rare that Western architects tackle a complex urban design problem in China. Now Overland Partners, an architectural and planning firm based in San Antonio, Texas, which has been given that chance several times in China, is at it again. This time in Yangzhou, the ancient city at the juncture of the 1,100-mile-long Grand Canal and the Yangtze River."

Overland's leadership team includes Rick Archer [B.Arch. '79], Tim Blonkvist [B.Arch. '81], Rebecca Rathburn, Robert Shemwell [M.Arch. '86], and Madison Smith [B.Arch. '80].

View the entire article.


Events are subject to change—for the full schedule and latest updates, visit Upcoming Lectures & Events online.


Drawing of Kimbell Art Museum, wall section. Drawing of Kimbell Art Museum, wall section.

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; wall section, 10/12/1971; Preston Geren collection; Alexander Architectural Archive; University of Texas Libraries.

October 13 – January 30
To Better Know a Building: Kimbell Art Museum
Architecture & Planning Library
Battle Hall Reading Room

The Architecture & Planning Library and the Alexander Architectural Archive are pleased to announce a new series of exhibits in the Battle Hall Reading room starting this October.

The "To Better Know a Building" series seeks to explore buildings through the drawings and other visual items found in the archive and library with focus on working drawings. Plans, elevations, and sections usually communicate the realization of design intent and can be used as a vehicle in teaching through example.

The first in the series will feature the Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn. The Alexander Architectural Archive has the original construction drawings in the Preston Geren collection. Preston Geren was the associate architect for the Kimbell Museum. These pencil on paper drawings are a fine example of the art of construction drawings.

The next building featured will be chosen by a vote by students, faculty, and staff in the UT Austin School of Architecture from a list provided by the Alexander Architectural Archive.


Roughly every other Friday during the fall and spring semesters, The Center for American Architecture and Design hosts a Friday Lunch Forum Series. The aim of the series is for faculty and students to meet in an informal atmosphere to debate topics and to share ideas about history, practice, theory, and new directions for architecture.

All Center Lunch Forums take place at 12:00 noon (CST) in Battle Hall, Room 101, and via LIVE WEBCAST.

Visit the Center website for updates and to access the live webcast.

The final forum on the fall 2014 schedule is:

  • December 5, Visiting Researcher/Scholar Elihu Rubin, "Ghost Town: City Building, Abandonment, and Memory"


Coming up in the spring:



Photo by William Niendorff of Britzer Garten, Neukoelln, Berlin. Photo by William Niendorff of Britzer Garten, Neukoelln, Berlin.

Teufelsberg, Grunewald, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin. Photo by William Niendorff.

Sutton Hall 3.128, through January 9, 2015
Battle Hall, through August 7, 2015

"Postwar Landscapes: Berlin Green Places"

In summer 2013, UTSOA landscape architecture student William Niendorff spent ten weeks documenting over ninety landscape sites in Berlin, Germany. The images in the exhibit highlight vital green places nearly seventy years after World War II.


The VRC’s images support teaching and research. The entirety of Niendorff’s image donation is available to UT affiliates via the online image collection.


In this fast-paced world, there's a lot of news to keep up with. We know you are doing great things, and we rely on you not only to share your stories, but also to keep us up-to-date so that we can share our stories with you. Please send your news and contact updates to Communications Coordinator Pamela Peters at


Dean's Office

UTSOA Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
School of Architecture
310 Inner Campus Drive B7500
Austin, TX 78712-1009

On Thursday, November 13, approximately 100 third and fourth grade students showcased their work in Goldsmith Hall and enjoyed tours guided by student members of American Institute of Architecture Students and UTSOA Dean’s Ambassadors. See story below.