In an April 11, 2011 article titled “Smattering of artists and art enthusiasts probed state of Dallas’ arts”, Pegasus News writer Paula Sanders singled out School of Architecture Assistant Professor Wanda Dye for particular praise for her part in a symposium focused on the arts in Dallas.  Sanders wrote:

“The final presentation of the day and perhaps the most engaging was from presenter Wanda Dye, assistant professor of architecture at UT- Arlington. Opening with a brilliant and extremely appropriate quote by French philosopher Henri Lefebvre, Dye discussed her ideas about ‘public space intervention’ — to locate overlooked and neglected space and provide a solution which would use the space from a community as well as aesthetic frame of mind. Her presentation was interspersed with images and video from her students; one worthy of mentioning was a video created by Nelson Cuellar, a proposal of sorts giving a visual example how space on Lower Greenville could be transformed into a community garden.”

The symposium, titled “The Freedom of the City: Models of Urban Engagement and Creativity in the 21st Century,” was sponsored by the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.  It examined a study by an independent company from New York, Creative Time, which presented recommendations for fostering the arts in Dallas.

Three students from The University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture have been recognized as part of the Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ annual Student Design Awards program.  The awards were presented on January 18, 2011.

Jurors for the event included Richard Wintersole, AIA; Russell Buchanan, AIA; and Lorie Kinler, ASLA.

An Honor Award was presented to Christian Walker for “Lakewood Community Pool”.  Merit Awards were given to Jamie Wallace for “Diderot Museum” and to Diego Wu Law for “Mixed Use Graphic Design Firm”.

The awards were presented at the Annual Awards Dinner, held at TCU’s Horned Frog Ballroom in Fort Worth.  The dinner program recognized AIA members and industry figures in the community who have contributed to the field of architecture and the built environment in 2010.  In addition to winners of the Student Design competition, awards were presented to recipients of AIA Fort Worth’s Excellence in Architecture Design Award.

More information about AIA Fort Worth may be found at www.aiafortworth.org.

In its January 2011 edition, AIA Architect Magazine discusses the certificate program in Asset Repositioning and Turnaround Strategies at UT Arlington, headed up by Professor Michael Buckley, FAIA.  “Downtown Turnaround” was written by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson.

“We know we have a difficult financing environment, and we have to make the case for design. Rather than waiting for the economy to rebound, architects must engineer solutions,” Buckley says in the article.  “The power of architects to visualize something needs to be matched by the ability to visualize it fiscally.  If architects get empowered to understand the financing part of a project – record cost and revenue potential of design – they get on the playing side of the sandbox.”

The City of Arlington is experiencing a significant amount of development activity, primarily due to the opening of the new Cowboys Stadium, the success of the Texas Rangers, the expansion of the University of Texas at Arlington, and the selection of Arlington as the site for Super Bowl 2011.  In order to capitalize on this surge of reinvestment, the City’s Community Development and Planning Department collaborated with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) School of Urban and Public Affairs to create a unique planning studio staffed with six graduate students studying architecture, landscaping, and urban planning.  This joint effort, called the Arlington Urban Design Center, creates public awareness about the importance of sustainable urban design and its impact on quality of life, the environment, and economic investment; and provides high-quality urban design solutions at no cost to its clients. 

During its first year, the Center completed approximately 30 projects. The City’s and University’s financial commitment, along with $46,500 in grant funding and private donations, allows staff to provide services free of charge.  The ability of the students to use their personal and school equipment and software significantly reduces the amount of investment needed for the program and allows the Center to function with very low overhead.  In addition, Center staff educates users about sustainable development techniques such as solar energy, porous paving, rain harvesting, and energy efficient building materials.  

The program is distinctive in that it provides clients with direct access to professional design staff and guidance on development proposals, creating a range of mutually beneficial outcomes:  

  • Students benefit extensively from real project experience.
  • New students are attracted to UTA because of the unique, hands-on opportunity to be part of a successful Design Center.
  • City departments are able to utilize students’ skill sets for public projects and studies, and
  •  Businesses, neighborhoods, and residents benefit from the availability of free professional services. 

The Arlington Urban Design Center provides a model to follow for creative collaboration with local partners, and has become a strong advocate for how the planning process shapes the physical, social and economic environment of Arlington.