Tribeza Talk: Architecture
An insider’s guide to what’s buzzing around Austin
by Nicole Beckley
Concluding their series of roundtables for the year, Women in Architecture, a committee of AIA Austin, will host the Honor Awards in November. The group works to create opportunities for connection and development for women excelling in the architecture and design fields, and the awards highlight firms and individuals for their significant contributions to the profession.
One of the buzziest brands at this year’s SXSW festival wasn’t an app or device. It was a 3D-printed home from Icon. That particular home served as a sample of what Icon is working to iterate, a one-story, 600- to 800-square-foot space that can be printed in under 24 hours with a price tag around $4,000. The future just may be a tiny home you print yourself.
“Branding and architecture and personality and work atmosphere, all those things have to merge properly together,” explains Mark Odom. As the founding principal of Mark Odom Studio, he’s recently tackled work spaces like the Bumble headquarters and dining spaces like Rosewood. With the opening of the Seaholm district’s Generator Athlete Lab, the challenge was to figure out how to let the building’s existing industrial components mix with a modern atmosphere. “It’s such a beautiful space, the power plant,” Odom says. “And so anytime you mix old with new, how do you do that appropriately?”
Working with limitations — a partnership between developers and the city of Austin called for public viewing space of the power plant — Odom worked with Generator’s founders, Jessica Tranchina and Delfin Ward, to realize a clean space for the lab’s training and treatment facility. “This is their first shop, of many I hope,” Odom says.
While in architecture school, Tamie Glass realized she was most interested in buildings’ internal architecture. “I found that it was the spaces inside that were most compelling to me because that’s the part of the building architecture that we actually engage with the most and where we spend such a significant amount of our time,” Glass says.
After earning degrees from Texas A&M and the University of Oregon, and working in identity design for Daimler in Germany, Glass came to teach interior design at UT Austin. In her new book, “Prompt: Socially Engaging Objects and Environments,” she examines 36 projects and how those spaces shape people’s behaviors and interactions.
Glass wants to look at what spaces actually do for us, “how they help facilitate the time we spend in them, the activities, the interactions, how they support relationships with other people or personal growth … I think we sometimes don’t talk enough about that, and so the book is dedicated to just that.”
A New Blueprint
In 2016, Tim Brown Architecture launched Perch Plans, a way to deliver customized home design through accessible house plans. Those looking to build a house can choose one of their styles, like the smaller-scale Brune, a take on a countryside home, or the Senepol, a version of a large modern farmhouse with a three-car garage, among others, and use it as the blueprint to building a uniquely tailored residence. The plans provide a jumping-off point to working with their architectural team to modify the designs for additional customization.
“I instinctively think about problems spatially. Architecture is about synthesizing a lot of disparate things into one beautiful functional object,” architect René Graham says. When it came to creating Renzoe Box, a modular makeup carrying case, applying a space-driven solution to the typical messy makeup bag made perfect sense. “To me, it is architecture,” Graham says. Launched in a crowdfunding campaign in August, the compact box accommodates multiple “pods” for eyeshadows and blush, storage for brushes, and an area for longer tubes of items like mascara or eyeliner.