Facades+ returns to Houston for the first time since 2015 on April 13. After successful events in Austin and Dallas in 2022, Facades+ is excited to present a technical program that caters to Houston’s local audience. AN has worked with co-chairs Luisina Basilico, principal at Page, and Rives Taylor, principal and co-director of design resilience at Gensler, to bring a full-day symposium to Houston.
Repositioning Downtown: Facade Renewal and Placemaking
The day begins with a look at Houston’s rapidly-changing downtown through the lens of two projects. Gensler principals Dean Strombom and Suzanne Screider will present their repositioning work on 2 Houston Center. The project features a new, three-story glass podium attached to an existing building, which not only provides pedestrian connections but enhances the building’s envelope performance. This presentation will be followed by a look at RIOS’s Wyatt Square, a restaurant building that is part of the square’s larger redevelopment. The project, opening later this year, features a timber-structured roof clad in ceramic tile. RIOS senior project designer Cameron Stewart and Corgan project architect Ben Kleiner will present the six-faced envelope, emphasizing the importance of considering below-grade levels and the roof as crucial to a high-performance envelope.
Realizing Research on High-Performance Facades
The morning continues with a roundtable on high-performance facade research. Page senior building performance analyst Mo ElSayed and Gensler associate Alfonso Hernandez will discuss how design firms can transfer their research to practice in a conversation moderated by Page associate designer Jenni Huynh.
The Houston Endowment Headquarters: Reaching for Net-Zero Design in Houston
Kevin Daly, John Hand of Arup, and Leon Fernandez of Kinetica will dive deep into the details of what makes the award-winning, Houston Endowment building a success. The team will discuss the design intent for the lightweight structure, its canopy and facade detailing, and the nature of the team’s unique collaboration. It will highlight the building’s envelope’s energy performance, daylighting strategies, natural ventilation methods, and material selection. The panel will feature architectural, engineering, and fabrication perspectives that combine to tell the story of the project’s collaborative delivery.
Refacing Rice: Contemporary Envelope Design for a Historic Campus
SOM’s Michael Oerth will be joined by Rice University’s campus architect George Ristow in a deep dive into Rice University’s new Ralph S. O’Connor Engineering and Science Building. The building features passive design strategies behind a brick-faced envelope, bridging environmentally-conscious design with the campus’s traditional look. The design combines a low window-to-wall ratio, daylighting strategies, advanced insulation, low-carbon masonry, and a unique rainscreen. This presentation aims to communicate how the project will achieve energy reductions through passive design strategies at a large scale, as this highly-visible building covers 250,000 square feet on Rice’s historic campus.
The Ismaili Center Houston: A Tapestry of Stone
Elliot Hodges, director of Farshid Moussavi’s London office, will present the Ismali Center for the first time to a Houston audience. While contemporary in its execution and expression, the building pulls from historic precedents, notably Persian forms and ornament, including ceramic mosaics and screens drawn from Islamicate traditions around the world. The Center’s exterior is marked by areas of solid stone that give way to a porous screen, resulting in shading elements across the building.
Scaled-Down Facades: Wood, Masonry, and Glazing at the Montrose Collective
A presentation about the Montrose Collective from Michael Hsu Office of Architecture’s Jeff Clarke and Radom Capital Principal Evan Peterson, moderated by Luisina Basilico of Page, will conclude the day’s program. The mixed-use development in Houston was designed to reflect the surrounding neighborhood. The project features an active material palette of wood shingles, tiling, and masonry. The presentation will focus on material selection and the creation of blended facades for mixed-use development that meets diverse client needs.
More information on the Facades+ program—including how to register to attend—is available here.