INSIDE TRACK: e-newsletter for the College of Architecture
April 27, 2007


Viz-a-GoGo 14 heading
back to drawing board

Creators of this year’s Viz-a-GoGo, the 14th annual showcase of work by the digital wizards in Texas A&M’s master of science in visualization sciences program, have gone “Back to the Drawing Board,” discarding many of the previous shows’ more ostentatious frills in favor of a lean back-to-the-basics production highlighting student creativity.

Viz-a-GoGo 14 includes a standing exhibit of student work in the Rudder Exhibition Hall on the Texas A&M campus that runs April 30 – May 5 and live demonstrations of thesis work and special projects slated 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. May 4 and 5 just prior to the shows’ main feature, screenings of time-based student films and animations at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.

Missing from this year’s screening will be the live digital emcee, a celebrity master-of-ceremonies, dance productions, guest musicians and long-running interstitial film shorts laced between show segments, devices used in past productions which the Viz-a-GoGo 14 producers say have overly lengthened performances and detracted from the shows’ real intent — showcasing the talent and digital artistry of Texas A&M visualization science students, or “vizzers.”

For the full story:

More details, show history, parking information and samples of time-based student work that will be incorporated in Viz-a-GoGo 14 are available on the Viz-a-GoGo Web site:

The class of '57, posing in 1957 and in 2007 (click image for larger version)

Class of ‘57 reunites, endows college’s
first class-sponsored scholarship

Thirteen of the 18 surviving members of the Texas A&M Department of Architecture’s Class of 1957 reunited April 20-21 to attend the Department of Architecture’s 2007 Awards Banquet, where they were honored for endowing the college’s first class-sponsored scholarship.

According to Larry Zuber, senior director of development for the College of Architecture, class member Larry Priesmeyer was instrumental in coordinating the class-wide scholarship initiative.

The members of the Class of ’57, especially John Only Greer, college archivist and senior faculty member, are relatively well-know in the halls of the Langford Architecture Center. Their class photo, taken 50 years ago on the steps of the Williams Building, is posted high on the wall opposite of the elevator door on the first floor of the Langford A building. While on campus, the 13 classmates in attendance took time to recreate the original photo, posing in their original positions on the William Building steps.

Landscape architecture instructors Tanner Ozdil and Chanam Lee (center) confer with with a student.

Professor getting couch
potatoes up and walking

Texas A&M University professor Chanam Lee wants to get couch potatoes up and walking, but instead of trying to sell sedentary individuals on the benefits of exercise, she’s focusing on how to change the environment to encourage healthful activity.

“My research indicates that supportive built environments promote walking and physical activity,” says Lee, a professor of landscape architecture and urban planning in the College of Architecture.  “Such supportive infrastructure features include compact and mixed land uses near homes, proximity to daily routine travel destinations, connected sidewalks, visual aesthetic quality and attention to personal safety, both in terms of traffic safety and protection from crime.”

Lee has focused her attention on studying the walkability and bikeability of environments in Korea, Washington State and Texas locations such as Austin and College Station and even in the colonias along the Texas-Mexico border.  Other research has focused on health and exercise needs of high risk groups such as older adults, lower-income populations and individuals with chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

For the full story:

Students eye a model of the proposed Charles E. Schmidt Medical Center.

Texas A&M architecture students to unveil
designs for Boca Raton, Fla. medical center

Texas A&M architecture students and faculty are collaborating with architects from the Dallas-based architecture firm, HKS, Inc., to develop design concepts for a 1.7 million square-foot medical center in Boca Raton, Fla.

The 43 participating students formally unveiled more than 60 large format display boards and seven design models for the proposed Charles E. Schmidt Medical Center 11 a.m. today, April 27 at the HKS offices at 1919 McKinney Ave. in Dallas.

An earlier design presentation for the Texas A&M community was held 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 in the Wright Gallery, on the second floor of the Langford Architecture Center on the Texas A&M campus.

For the full story:

Mexican academicians, students
tour college, visit Houston firms

Last week, Architect Adrián Gracia brought a group of faculty and students from Monterrey Tech University in Monterrey, Mexico to visit Houston and the Texas A&M campus as guests of Mark Clayton, interim head of the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University.

Other Monterrey Tech faculty on the tour included Jose Villalobos, Rodrigo Maisterrena, and Ana María De la Cruz.

The group, whose trip was sponsored by Autodesk, came to confer on Building Information Modeling (BIM), Digital Fabrication, and other architectural education-related topics. They also heard a presentation on the college’s work in the Texas colonias by Jorge Vanegas, director of the Center for Housing and Human Development.

For the full story:

Architecture Ph.D. student
receives ARCC/King Medal

King MedalFor his dissertation, which suggests enhancements to residential energy performance codes, architecture Ph.D. student Seongchan Kim recently received the Architectural Research Centers Consortium/King Student Medal for Excellence in Architectural and Environmental Design Research.

Kim’s dissertation, “An analysis of international energy conservation code (IECC) – Compliant single-family residential energy use,” focuses on improving the accuracy of existing energy conservation codes in measuring the energy performance of a typical single-family house.

The ARCC/King student medal, named after Jonathan King, a former professor of architecture at Texas A&M and co-founder of the ARCC, is awarded to one student who has completed a thesis or dissertation in one of the ARCC member schools. Students Nominees are recommended by the student’s committee chair and degree coordinator, and forwarded to a college award committee that advises the associate dean of research of a possible award winner.

Click image for alterative photograph.

College mourns Virginia Tech victims

Following the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University hung a black banner in the atrium of of the Langford Architecture Center (pictured above). The banner, which is traditionally hung when the college community is morning a faculty, staff or student death, was accompanied by a inscription reading "This banner is hung in memory of those students, faculty and staff who lost their lives at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

Design Process students dominate
annual ideas competition — again!

IdeaBig ideas aren’t the only thing that most of the top teams competing in the 2007 Ideas Challenge at Texas A&M University have in common. More that 75 percent of the contest’s semifinalists are currently enrolled in, or have taken, the Department of Architecture’s ENDS 101 “Design Process” class taught by architecture professors Rodney Hill and Jorge Vanegas.

The sixth annual Ideas Challenge, which wraps up Wednesday, May 2 with final presentations at the Wehner Building on the Texas A&M campus, is a showcase for student ideas that promise to revolutionize the way people interact with the world. In the competition, sponsored by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, student teams pitch ideas that include everything from new technologies to problem-solving concepts. In five-minute presentations, the students have to sell their idea, demonstrate its viability and identify a market for it to a panel of more than 100 expert business and venture capitalist.

For the full story:

"The Cut," an architectural installation in progress by Weiling He.

He installation to provide architectural
interpretation of John Hejduk poem

Weiling He, an associate professor of architecture at Texas A&M, recently received university funding for her architectural installation, “The Cut,” to be shown as part of a 2008 traveling exhibition, “Elements,” featuring the work of U.S. and Greek architecture teachers.

She was one of 21 Texas A&M faculty members to receive funding through the 2007 Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities offered by the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

“The Cut,” He’s architectural interpretation of the poem, “France is Far,” by John Hejduk, is intended to demonstrate ways in which a visual work can interpret a non-visual work via a modified spatial experience

ARCH 614 students deconstruct a couch in still images from their video.

Architecture students get structures
lesson while deconstructing couch

This semester, several master of architecture career change students learned a bit about upholstery and teamwork while exploring the influence of structural factors on architectural space and form.

As part of their studies, the students in Anne Nichol’s ARCH 614, “Elements of Architectural Structures” course gathered at the Architecture Ranch to deconstruct a couch, which was analyzed and evaluated using the structural principles taught in the classroom.

The project objective, as outlined in the assignment, was to “develop an understanding of the significance, assumptions, applications and limitations of the basic principles of statics and strength of materials as they apply to the design and analysis of structural members and simple connections."

To document demolition of the couch project, the students created time-lapse video and set it to music.

View video:

Windows Media or QuickTime movie

Pliny Fisk to present 30-year retrospective
at May 2 AIA architects training workshop

At the May 2 American Institute of Architects Public Architects Training Workshop in San Antonio, Pliny Fisk, associate professor of architecture and landscape architecture and urban planning at Texas A&M and co-founder of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, will present a 30-year retrospective of his work, entitled “Beyond Carbon: Some Disruptive Thoughts for the Design Sciences.”

According to the workshop program, the presentation will demonstrate “how small efforts placed in the right context with meaningful ground work can have major impacts on where we are going.”

The Public Architects Training Workshop, which is sponsored by the AIA Public Architects Committee, is intended to promote excellence among public architects and to improve the quality of public architecture. The workshop will be held at the Henry B. Gonzales convention center in San Antonio.

Workshop brochure (208 K)

Incoming MUP student earns
Graduate Diversity Fellowship

Daniel Galindo, of Spring, Texas will begin the master of urban planning program at Texas A&M this fall on a Graduate Diversity Fellowship. The fellowship program was established to attract students to Texas A&M who have a proven record of success in a diverse environment. The recipients are nominated by academic departments on the basis on overall merit.

The Graduate Diversity Fellowships provide a $13,000 stipend and $5,000 for tuition and fees for each year of the masters program. Recipients also receive a departmental assistantship which pays a minimum of $7,000 per year.

Galindo, who is originally from Spring Texas, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Trinity University in San Antonio in May. He is currently working as a Parks and Open Spaces intern for the city of Helotes. Galindo will be the first in his family to graduate from college.

Bright taxation study prompts Op/Ed
piece in Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Elise BrightResearch examining inequity in property tax appraisals by Elise Bright, professor of Urban Planning at Texas A&M, caught the eye of O.K. Carter, a writer and editorial columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In an April 15, 2007 editorial, “Study of Arlington property taxes may give TAD fits,” Carter cites Bright’s recently study, "Robin Hood Reversed? A Study of Inequity in Property Tax Appraisals." He suggested that Bright’s research bolsters arguments for disclosing real estate sales prices, a practice that could help the Tarrant County Appraisal District apply fair market values to property.

Carter’s editorial citing Bright’s study is available online at

Registration under way for May 2
High Performance Computing Day

binary numbersSupercomputing enthusiasts are encouraged to register for "Texas A&M High Performance Computing Day.” The May 2 event, sponsored by the Texas A&M University Supercomputing Facility and Office of Vice President for Research, is scheduled 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Room 106 of the Jack E. Brown Building.

The supercomputing day event combines a celebration of "Hydra," the newest addition to Texas A&M’s computational resources, with the Supercomputing Facility’s annual users' meeting.

Hydra is a IBM P575 with a 640-processor high-performance computing cluster provided through a collaboration of the Supercomputer Facility, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Department of Computer Science, and the College of Geosciences.

The event will include formal talks, question and answer sessions and lunch. The presentations will highlight several aspects of high performance computing at Texas A&M TAMU, ranging from descriptions of science applications to strategies for future development of computational resources.

To register, e-mail

Faculty, staff urged to take precautions
to protect bikes from campus cleanup

In the past, Texas A&M Transportation Services employees have had to remove up to 1000 bikes abandoned on campus. This year, they’re hoping to get a head start on cleaning out unused bikes and freeing up bicycle rack space. Beginning May 14, Texas A&M Transportation Services will remove bikes that appear to be abandoned and bikes that are not parked in designated parking areas. They will also dispose of locks, wheels and other bike parts attached to bicycle racks.

However, Transportation Services has adopted a simple procedure to ensure that bikes used by faculty, staff and graduate students are not removed during the campus sweep. They are asking these cyclists to wrap a rubber band around the right handlebar before May 11 to prevent unnecessary removal.

For more information, visit Transportation Services’ Web site at

With & without

“Portrait (featuring With and Without),” a Friday night avant-garde performance involving a self-administered haircut by senior visual studies major Patrick LeMieux, concluded his six-part senior show, which was presented over the course of several evenings last week. According to LeMieux, “With and Without” celebrates the idea of self portrait. It was an encore performance of his 2005 haircutting event. “After growing my hair and beard for a year,” explained LeMieux, “I documented the process of cutting/shaving and the effects on the sink and utensils.” Other performances included yogic endurance tests and a rock and roll seance. For a full and evolving description of the entire show visit LeMieux's Web site Please be advised that portions of this performance were controversial and that some of the material depicted on this Web site may be perceived as offensive for some if taken out of its academic context.

Calendar of Events

Through May 6
Biennial Faculty Art Exhibition: The eighth College of Architecture Biennial Faculty Art Exhibition continues at J. Wayne Stark Galleries through May 6. The exhibition consists of 20 artists and over 65 pieces, including landscapes, abstracts and portraits through various media such as drawing, painting, print, photography, sculpture, site-specific installations, and video

Friday, April 27
SWAMP Screening: The Aggie Screenwriting, Acting, and Movie Production (SWAMP) Club will screen film shorts produced by members and friends of the organization at SWAMPFEST 2007, the club’s annual film festival, slated for 7 p.m. Friday, April 27 in the Preston Geren Auditorium in Langford Building B on the Texas A&M campus. Tickets for the event cost $2 and will be available at the door. Popcorn and soft drinks will be served for a nominal cost with proceeds benefiting the club. More details.

April 30 - May 5
Viz-a-GoGo 14 exhibition of student work in the Rudder Exhibition Hall including drawings, 2D prints of computer imagery, and sculptures created with a 3D printer. The shows’ main feature, screenings of time-based student films and animations, takes place May 4th and 5th at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre. For more information, visit the show's web site

May 1-5
ENDS 311/503 photo exhibit: Students in Arsenio Rodrigues' classes will exhibit their final projects and other work in the Wright Gallery. Each student's final project includes a minimum of 3 prints, connected by a common underlying theme, which could include subject matter, technique, style, etc. For more information, contact Arsenio Rodrigues at 979-846-0968, or

May 3-5
AIA National Convention: Several members of the College of Architecture faculty will attend the American Institute of Architects’ National Convention and Design Expo, “Growing Beyond Green,” in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, visit the convention Web site.

May 4
College hosts AIA Convention reception: The Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University will hold a reception for former students and friends during the May 3 - 5, 2007 American Institute of Architect's National Convention and Design Expo in San Antonio, Texas. The reception, hosted by 3D/I-San Antonio and JMA-Las Vegas, is slated for 7 p.m. Friday, May 4 at the 3D/I San Antonio offices, 219 E. Houston Street, Ste. 350, San Antonio, Texas 78205-1801. A map and driving directions are available online. Those interested in joining College of Architecture former students, administrators and faculty at the convention reception are urged to RSVP to Melinda Randle at 979.847.8918 or by April 30. For more information on the convention, visit 2007 AIA Convention Web site.

May 4 and 5
Viz-a-GoGo 14 includes live demonstrations of thesis work and special projects slated 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. May 4 and 5 just prior to the shows’ main feature, screenings of time-based student films and animations at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.
For more information, visit the show's web site

May 8
Administrative Staff Committee Meeting from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. in Langford A 217. For more information, contact Kathy Waskom at 845.1222 or

May 11
Construction Science Grads honored: A graduation reception for construction science graduates will be held 5 – 8 p.m. in the Langford A Atrium. For more information, contact Ann Eastwood at 845.0289 or

June 11-15
The Youth Adventure Program, a workshop for gifted and talented students, will take place in the Mac Lab on the 4th floor of The Langford A Building on the Texas A&M campus. For more information, contact Howard Eilers at 845.4685 or, or visit the program's Web site at:

July 9-14
The Youth Adventure Program, a workshop for gifted and talented students, will take place in the Mac Lab on the 4th floor of The Langford A Building on the Texas A&M campus. For more information, contact Howard Eilers at 845.4685 or, or visit the program's Web site at:

Aug. 5-9
SIGGRAPH International Conference and Exhibition, “Face Tomorrow,” will be held in San Diego, California. For more information, visit the conference Web site at

Aug. 15-19
CELA conference – “Negotiating Landscapes:” The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture’s annual conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pa. For more information, visit the conference Web site at

Sept. 13
Construction Science Career Fair will be held 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the College Station Hilton Hotel. For more information, contact Steve Byrne at 458.0156 or

Sept. 14
Construction Science Fair will be held 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the College Station Hilton Hotel. For more information, contact Steve Byrne at 458.0156 or

Oct. 4-7
ACADIA conference: The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture’s international conference will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For more information, visit the ACADIA Web site at

Oct. 17-21
ACSP conference: The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning conference will be held in Milwaukee, Wis. For more information, visit the conference Web site at

Oct. 18-20
Texas Society of Architects Convention and Expo will be held in Austin, Texas. Details will be forthcoming on the TSA Web site:

Oct. 24-27
Texas APA conference: The American Planning Association’s annual Texas conference will be held in Addison, Texas. Details will be forthcoming on the Texas APA Web site:

Oct. 26
Outstanding Alumni Awards Banquet: The College of Architectures annual Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented 6:30 – 10 p.m. at the Miramont Country Club. For more information, contact Trish Pannell at 458.0400 or

Nogues’ installation

Architect Gaston Nogues oversees the erection of an architectural installation in downtown Bryan that was constructed by Texas A&M students as part of the College of Architecture’s third Artist in Residence workshop. The structure explores techniques that Nogues and his partner, Benjamin Ball, plan to use in their upcoming installation, “Liquid Sky,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Other pictures from previous spring 2007 Artists in Residence workshops by photographer Igor Kraguljac are available on his Web site.

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